April 20, 2024

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World Athletics Unveils New Long Jump Take-off Trial to Enhance Competition

World Athletics intends to introduce a new trial for measuring long jump takeoffs. Instead of the traditional wooden board, a “take-off zone” will be used, with a no-jump call issued if the athlete’s foot crosses the line.

The jump will be measured from the athlete’s front foot’s takeoff to their landing in the pit. “It will mean that every jump counts,” said World Athletics CEO Jon Ridgeon on the Anything but Football podcast.

“It adds to the jeopardy and the drama of the competition.”

The goal of the long jump adaptation is to reduce the number of no-jumps. Ridgeon claims that a third of all jumps at the 2023 World Championships in Budapest were disqualified because athletes overstepped in pursuit of the perfect take-off.

“That doesn’t work, that is a waste of time,” he said. “We are currently testing a take-off zone rather than a board.

“But at the same time, we are trying to work out ways of getting instant results so that you don’t have to wait 20 or 30 seconds before the result pops up, and how we speed up the whole thing.”

The long jump trial was one example used by Ridgeon to demonstrate World Athletics’ aims of improving the sport, making processes quicker and more exciting, particularly for field events.

“You cannot make change in a sport that was invented 150 years ago without some controversy,” he said.

“If you have dedicated your life to hitting that take-off board perfectly and then suddenly, we replace it with a take-off zone, I get that there might be initial resistance.

“We will spend this year testing it in real-life circumstances with outstanding athletes. If it doesn’t pass testing, we will never introduce it. We are not going to introduce things on a whim.”

Ridgeon also discussed plans for an annual global event in the athletics calendar in years when there are no World Championships or Olympic Games, as well as plans to improve the sport’s structural consistency.

The Olympic Games will take place in Paris in 2024, followed by the World Championships in Tokyo in 2025.

He said: “It’s like tennis or golf having a year without all their majors – it would never happen, so why would we have a year where we don’t have a global championship bringing a billion eyeballs to our sport?”

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