Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association President Dr. Warren Blake says the move to revise the Olympic qualification period for athletics allows for a levelling of the playing field for athletes to continue their Olympic aspirations.

World Athletics, in a release yesterday, announced the suspension of the current qualification period for the Tokyo Olympics effective April 6th to November 30th. This means that any results obtained during this period will not count towards the athletes’ chances of competing in the games which have been rescheduled to July 2021 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Qualification will resume December 1st until the latest June 29th, 2021 “subject to the global situation returning to normal.”

Worldwide, up to late yesterday, more than 1.4 million persons have tested positive for the virus. Of those, over 301,800 have recovered while there have been 81,978 deaths.

Blake says that the decision to revise the qualification period was the best the world body could make to prevent athletes from gaining an unfair advantage.

The 2020 track and field season has effectively been suspended as a result of the virus, which has already resulted in the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics as well as the Diamond League season which has seen its first six competitions rescheduled. These include meets in China and Italy where there have been large numbers of infections and casualties.