The IAAF unveiled the radical new timetable for the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Qatar on Friday, as well as a rejigged qualification system.
The opening day of the September 27-October 6 worlds at Doha’s Khalifa International Stadium will culminate with the women’s marathon, which has a local starting time of midnight in a bid to bypass the blistering day-time temperatures in the Gulf state.
Concerns over the hot and humid conditions mean the IAAF have scrapped the traditional morning sessions in the stadium that will be air conditioned.
Also being introduced are a mixed 4×400 metres relay, race walking events that will start at 11.30pm local time, and the decathlon and heptathlon to be run concurrently — a first for the world championships — with their respective event-ending 1500m and 800m finals both starting after midnight.
Qualification has been opened up, with individual athletes now having three ways to get to Doha.
Firstly, they can qualify by being among the best ranked athletes at the end of the qualification period as per the IAAF World Rankings; secondly by wild card as the reigning world champion outdoors, winner of the 2019 IAAF Diamond League or leader of the IAAF hammer, race walk or combined events challenges; and finally by achieving the entry standard within the qualification period in accordance with criteria decided by IAAF.