The World Athletics Council has approved an innovation to the regular competition format for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
The governing board of the global athletics body is introducing a repechage round to all individual track events from 200 metres to 1500m in distance, including the hurdles events.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that repechage is a contest in which the best-placed of those who failed to win heats compete for a place in the next round or final.
Specifically, it is a practice in some sports in which players or teams who come very close but fail to get through to the next round are allowed to continue to the next round.
In this new repechage format, athletes who do not qualify by place in round one heats will have a second chance to qualify for the semi-finals by participating in repechage heats.
This will replace the former system of athletes advancing through fastest times, denoted with the sign “q”, in addition to the top placings in the first round heats, denoted with “Q”.
These events will now have four rounds —- round one, repechage round, semi-finals and the final, with schedules varying according to the specific nature of the event.
The new format means that every athlete competing in the events with a repechage round will have at least two races at the Olympic Games.
As the 100m already has preliminary heats, before round one, the repechage will not be introduced in this event.
In addition, the repechage will not be introduced in distance events as the need for proper recovery between rounds makes the format impractical.
World Athletics President Sebastian Coe, while speaking on this development, said: “After consulting with our athletes and broadcasters, we believe this is an innovation which will make progression in these events more straightforward for athletes.
“It will build anticipation for fans and broadcasters.
“The repechage rounds will give more exposure to our sport during the peak Olympic period and will be carefully scheduled to ensure that every event on our Olympic programme retains its share of the spotlight.”
The final regulations of the format, including the timetable as well as system of advancement in each event, will be announced well in advance of the Olympic Games.