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Athletics: International season to run from August to October - World Athletics

FILE PHOTO: Athletics - World Athletics Championships - Doha 2019 - Men's 400 Metres Hurdles Semi Finals - Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar - September 28, 2019 General view before the start REUTERS/Hannah Mckay/File Photo

(Reuters) - This year’s international athletics season will begin with a Continental Tour Gold event in Finland on Aug. 11 and will end with a Diamond League meeting in China, World Athletics said in a statement on Tuesday.

While a few minor events will be staged in July, the season is likely to resume only in August after the National Championships window, the statement said here.

The Diamond League was forced to cancel events in London, Zurich and Rabat due to the COVID-19 pandemic and announced a new calendar on Tuesday with the first event provisionally set for Monaco in August.

Those would be followed by meetings in 10 more cities.

“Our first priority was the health and safety of our athletes. The next priority was to find a way to get our professional athletes back into international competition this year as their incomes rely on this,” World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said.

“I’m delighted that it now looks like we will be able to offer them a solid international season... where they can earn prize money and assess their training progress in preparation for next year’s Olympic Games.”

Eight of this year’s 10 Continental Tour Gold meetings have been confirmed, with many rescheduled to take place between August and October.

Some Continental Silver and Bronze meetings will be staged as domestic competitions beginning with the Josefa Odlozila Memorial event in Prague on June 8.

“International travel restrictions will affect the ability of some athletes to attend some meetings, but we hope that there will be a wide enough range of meetings available for most elite athletes to access some competition before the end of the year,” Coe added.

Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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