Sprinters to run fewer races at worlds, Olympics

Salvo: The workload will be a little lighter when Usain Bolt goes for double gold at this year`s world championships and the 2012 London Olympics.

The Jamaican triple Olympic and world champion, like most other sprinters, will need to run only six races instead of the traditional eight he faced for a Beijing sprint double.

A streamlined scheduled announced Tuesday for the London Games and already approved for the Daegu world championships shaves two races from most sprinters` programmes as athletics officials look to make their sport more dynamic and time sensitive.

One round of the 200 metres has been shelved completely for all runners, male and female, and only sprinters without a qualifying standard would go through four rounds of the 100 metres.

Instead of having Bolt and sprinters like American Tyson Gay thrashing the competition in the opening round of the 100 metres, faster sprinters will draw byes and begin competition with the newly named round one.

"The idea is to have all the non-qualified runners compete in a qualifying round, then some of them would advance to round one," IAAF competition director Paul Hardy said in a telephone interview from Monaco.

The non-qualifiers gain their opportunity because of an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) rule allowing member federations who have no world championship and Olympic qualifiers to enter a male and a female in one event.

"The 100 metres is by far the one event where we have the majority of non-qualifiers," Hardy said.

But such participation slows down the pace of the world championships and the Olympics, something IAAF officials are hoping to avoid.

Daily schedules have been revamped so the semi-finals and finals predominantly will be held during evening sessions limited to three hours.

"We want to attract younger audiences, so we are adapting," Hardy said.

That includes playing on the current popularity of Bolt and other 100 metres sprinters by moving the men`s 4x100 metres relay to the final track event of both the world championships and Olympics.

"It`s a great way to finish and go out with a bang," Hardy said.

Bureau Report

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