Athletes compete at the 2020 World Athletics Half Marathon Championships in Gdynia (© Getty Images)
The World Athletics Council has today (28) agreed on the host cities of three future World Athletics Series events at their meeting in Tokyo.
The World Athletics Road Running Championships 2023 will be held in Riga, Latvia, the World Athletics Relays 2023 will be held in Guangzhou, China, and the World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships 2022 will be held in Muscat, Oman.
Riga will host the inaugural World Athletics Road Running Championships, an event designed to celebrate road running for both elite and mass participation runners. It will incorporate the current World Half Marathon Championships and the new world 5km championships, as well as mass races.
Thirteen cities originally expressed interest in hosting this exciting new event and five cities were taken through to the final round.
The Head of the Local Organising Committee Aigars Nords, who is also the Race Director of Rimi Riga Marathon, added: "We are beyond excited to have won the rights to host the World Road Running Championships in Riga. The team is eager to reinterpret the Championships by focusing on the ordinary runner and positioning the World Championships as the ultimate road running experience. We consider the World Road Running Championships in Riga as a major long-term step to boost athletics and promote an active lifestyle, inspire younger generations, drive sports tourism and showcase the Latvian capital through a unique marriage of sports and culture."
The dates of the event have yet to be finalised but it is expected to be held around September-October of 2023.
The World Athletics Relays will be held in China for the first time in 2023, following the awarding of this event to the port city of Guangzhou, one of China’s three largest cities.
The sixth World Relays will serve as a qualifying event for the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest and the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. The dates have yet to be finalised but the relays are traditionally held in May.
Ouyang Ziwen, Director of Guangzhou Sports Bureau and a member of the bid presentation delegation, greeted the decision.
"It is a great honour and pleasure for Guangzhou to win the bid of the World Athletics Relays 2023," he said. "I would like to express our gratitude to World Athletics for the trust in Guangzhou. Under the guidance of World Athletics and the support of the Chinese Athletics Association, we will get fully prepared and stage a successful and wonderful event in Guangzhou!"
Oman will host a World Athletics Series event for the first time following the awarding of the 2022 World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships to its capital Muscat.
Minsk in Belarus was originally selected to host this event but the World Athletics Council decided to relocate the event after receiving a report prepared by the World Athletics Risk Committee.
The event will now be held in Muscat in March 2022 and organised in partnership by Oman Sail, the Oman Athletics Association and the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Mohammed Al Asmi, Board Member of the Oman Athletics Association, said: "This is a great opportunity to enhance athletics in Oman. We have seen in the past how enthusiastic the Omani people have been for home grown and international events and to be able to bring a major championship to the country has the potential to position athletics as one of the leading sports in Oman. We are excited to provide the stage for the world’s best race walkers to perform and anticipate an amazing debut for Oman as hosts of the event."
Oman intends to turn this event into a wider celebration of athletics. As well as the elite male and female 20km race walk events, U20 male and female 10km race walk events and a 35km combined race, it will feature masters categories, 1km and 2km kids' runs and a parkrun festival.
Russia Taskforce reports good progress
In its report to the Council, the Russia Taskforce confirmed that the suspended Russian Federation (RusAF) was making satisfactory progress against the milestones and KPIs set out in the Reinstatement Plan and had paid the latest invoice of US$431,848 for the reinstatement costs incurred by World Athletics in the quarter ending 31 March 2021.
The Taskforce is hopeful that, under the guidance of Acting President Irina Privalova, and with the assistance of the three international experts appointed to assist in the Reinstatement Plan, RusAF will continue to meet the remaining milestones and KPIs to satisfy all of the conditions set for its reinstatement to membership of World Athletics.
Consequently, the Council resolved that the Authorised Neutral Athlete (ANA) process would remain in effect and that the Council would consider in November whether the ANA quota of 10 athletes that applied to certain competitions in 2021 should be maintained or revised for competitions staged in 2022.
It further decided that the status of RusAF’s membership would be put on the agenda for the 53rd World Athletics Congress to be held in November, where the congress will be asked to vote on the following resolution:
Congress resolves, in exercise of its powers under Article 13.7 of the World Athletics Constitution, that the suspension of RusAF’s membership of World Athletics will continue until Council decides that all of the conditions set by Council from time to time for the revocation of RusAF’s suspension and the consequent reinstatement of RusAF’s membership have been met.
However the Taskforce warned that if RusAF stopped making satisfactory progress against the KPIs and milestones in the Reinstatement Plan, or failed to reimburse World Athletics' reinstatement costs on a timely basis in this period, it would recommend that the Council withdraw the proposed resolution to Congress, and propose instead that Congress resolves to expel RusAF from membership with immediate effect. The Taskforce trusts that this will not be necessary.