MONACO, CMC – World Athletics is rebranding traditional indoor track and field in favor of a “short track” concept to describe events and performances on 200 meters running track.
The Council of the World governing body unanimously supported the new concept to allow more flexibility in setting 200m tracks, which may be constructed outdoors or in temporary city locations rather than in a traditional indoor arena.
“This change is designed to remove an unintentional barrier to competition innovation by offering organizers the chance to explore solutions and opportunities, which the current rules may discourage,” World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said.
“Under this new concept, the 200m short track will no longer be confined to the indoor environment, and a world of opportunities will open up for meeting organizers to stage official competition in whatever facilities they have available, either indoors or outdoors, using 200m or 400m tracks.
“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 sport’s growth through investment in new infrastructure.”
World Athletics and national federations maintained separate lists of indoor and outdoor events and performances for statistical and records purposes. The indoor events were conducted in a different environment, with the closed facility protected from weather interference, and the versions were not regarded as comparable with outdoor marks.
A statement from the world governing body indicated the decision to move to the short track concept was taken because the development of hybrid competition venues such as city squares, shopping malls, and train stations was making it “increasingly difficult to maintain the separation between outdoor and indoor athletics.”
The statement added that the separation had been eliminated for world record purposes in some field events.
With the change, performances set on outdoor or temporary 200m tracks could now be recognized as official results for records and rankings and qualification for major indoor championships, regardless of the environment in which they are conducted.
The detailed rule changes needed to start this innovation will be formally approved at the World Athletics Council meeting in August in Budapest and published in the new edition of the Competition and Technical Rule Book coming into effect on November 1 this year.