Illustration: Shyam G Menon

The cross country event proposed for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games will be a mixed team relay featuring 15 countries, the World Athletics Council has confirmed.

“ Each team would be composed of two men and two women. Each member of the team would run two legs of the 2.5km course, alternating between male and female athletes as each athlete completes the 2.5km course and hands over to a teammate,’’ a press release dated July 30,2020, available on the website of World Athletics, said.

According to it, World Athletics will meet with the organizing committee of Paris 2024 in the near future to work out further details of the proposal. World Athletics, president, Sebastian Coe he expressed delighted at the prospect of cross country returning to the Olympic Games 100 years after it last appeared at the 1924 Paris Games.

“ My love for athletics began with cross country,’’ he was quoted as saying. “ When I joined my first athletics club, Hallamshire Harriers, the club president was Joe Williams, who ran in the last Olympic cross country race in Paris in 1924. It would be hugely symbolic for this wonderful athletic discipline to return to the fold after a century, and for a new generation of runners to fall in love with the glorious challenge of running off-piste,” Coe has said.

(The author, Shyam G Menon, is a freelance journalist based in Mumbai.)

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