World Athletics to introduce ‘short track’ competitions


World Athletics intends to introduce the new term ‘short track’ to replace the current term ‘indoor’ to describe events and performances that are set on a 200m track, traditionally indoors, the governing body of the sport said on Tuesday.

In a release, World Athletics said, “The World Athletics Council is supporting the concept of ‘short track’ competition to allow more flexibility in the setting of 200m tracks, which may, in the future, be constructed outdoors or in temporary city locations, rather than in a traditional indoor arena. Performances set on outdoor or temporary 200m tracks could therefore be recognized as official results for the purpose of records and rankings.”

World Athletics and the National Federations have always maintained separate lists of indoor and outdoor events and performances for statistical and records purposes because the indoor events were conducted in a different environment, with the closed facility protected from any weather interference. But with the development of hybrid venues – city squares, shopping malls, train stations – it has become tough to maintain the separation. In some events, the separation has been eliminated altogether for world record purposes.

The introduction of the ‘short track’ term comes with the intention to redefine indoor and outdoor events while relating to the competition facility rather than to the environment.

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said: “This change will allow and actively encourage the possibility for 200m tracks to move to an outdoor environment and will provide a more affordable option to cities, especially where space is in short supply, while stimulating the growth of the sport through investment in new infrastructure.”

However, this development does not mean that indoor competitions will cease to exist. However, “in those areas where there are no or very limited indoor facilities, short track championships could be held, which would be the equivalent of the indoor championships, and could be used as qualifying competitions for major indoor championships.”

The detailed rule changes required to initiate this innovation will be formally approved at the World Athletics Council’s August meeting in Budapest.

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