Athletics News

The 2024 Olympic qualifying times will remain a mirage for long distance track athletes

The 2024 Olympic qualifying times will remain a mirage for long distance track athletes

After the World Athletics announced the qualification standards for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, the race has just begun for athletes to meet them.

But, in some long-distance track events, runners from only two countries seem to have the potential to get a whole team. It will be interesting to watch and see the number of runners who will eventually meet the qualifications in the men’s and women’s 5000m and 10,000m events.

While the differences in the Tokyo and Paris qualifying standards in the sprints, where the time for the men’s 400m race was even increased from 44.90 to 45.00, and in the field events with the high jump marks remaining almost the same, the qualification times in the long-distance events appears to have been raised to some tough times to achieve.

For example, the qualification time for the men’s 10,000m event at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games was 28:00.00. It went down to 27:28.00 for the Tokyo Games and is now going further down to a neck-breaking 27:00.00 for Paris!

For women, it was 32:15.00 for Rio, 31:25.00 for Tokyo, and now it is 30:40.00 for the Paris Olympics.

Looking at the world-leading times for the women’s 10,000m and the 10K events in 2022, only 15 women in the 10,000m and 14 in the 10K road running event managed to run faster than the current Olympic qualifying time. More than half of them come from just two countries; Kenya (11) and Ethiopia (5). The rest -led by Great Britain with a majority of 2 runners- form one-third of all the other sub-30:40.00 women runners. In the 10K event, which will also be used as a qualification event, out of the 14 runners who ran below 30:40.00, all of them, except Sarah Chelangat of Uganda and Eilish McColgan of Great Britain, are either Kenyans or Ethiopians.

Going by the results of the 2022 season, it would appear that only runners from two countries can send an entire squad to the Olympics in the women’s 10,000m event.

The qualification period for the 10,000m, the combined events, the race walks, and the relays runs from the 31st of December 2022 to the 30th of June 2024. The marathon qualification window is from the 1st of November 2022 to the 30th of April 2024. For all the other events, the qualification period runs from 1st July 2023 to 30th June 2024.

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