AT A GLANCE / DECEMBER 2020

2020 World Athletes of the Year: Mondo Duplantis and Yulimar Rojas

Mondo Duplantis. This photo was downloaded from the Facebook page of the athlete and is being used here for representation purpose. No copyright infringement intended.

Mondo Duplantis of Sweden and Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela have been named the male and female World Athletes of the Year at the World Athletics Awards 2020, a report on the website of World Athletics said. The ceremony was held virtually on December 5.

“ Duplantis broke the world record in the pole vault twice, topping 6.17m and 6.18m on back-to-back weekends in February just a few weeks before the global coronavirus pandemic ground the sporting world to a halt. When competition finally resumed, Duplantis capped his season and produced the highest outdoor vault of all time (6.15m) and finished the year undefeated in 16 competitions. Duplantis, who celebrated his 21st birthday last month, is the youngest athlete ever named World Athlete of the Year,’’ the report said.

Yulimar Rojas. This photo was downloaded from the Facebook page of the athlete and is being used here for representation purpose. No copyright infringement intended.

On Yulimar Rojas, it said, “ Rojas broke the South American indoor triple jump record in her first competition of the year, reaching 15.03m in Metz, France. In her next competition, at the World Athletics Indoor Tour meeting in Madrid, she leaped 15.43m in the final round of the competition to break the world indoor record by seven centimetres. She competed just twice outdoors, winning the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Monaco and again in Castellon, Spain, where she sailed 14.71m, the farthest leap in the world outdoors this year.’’

Incidentally, the Coaching Achievement Award was won by Helena and Greg Duplantis, the parents and coaching team behind the success of Male World Athlete of the Year Mondo Duplantis. “ While the pair take on many roles, Helena, a former heptathlete, mainly helps with her son’s conditioning while Greg, a 5.80m pole vaulter in his prime, assists with technique,’’ the report said.

World Athletics approves a change to shoe rules

World Athletics has approved a change to its rules governing development (prototype) shoes following requests by all major shoe manufacturers and the industry body that represents them, the World Federation of the Sports Goods Industry (‘WFSGI’).

According to press release available on the website of World Athletics, “the amendment to the rule will allow development shoes to be worn in international competitions and competitions sanctioned by Member Federations where World Athletics rules are applied, prior to their availability to other athletes, upon approval of the shoe specifications by World Athletics. These shoes will have to meet the same technical specifications as all other approved shoes.

“ Development shoes can continue to be worn in any competition where World Athletics’ competition and technical rules are not applied. The amendment, approved by World Athletics’ Council on 4 December, applies with immediate effect, to competitions sanctioned by World Athletics, Area Associations or Member Federations at which World Athletics’ Competition Rules and Technical Rules are enforced, but will not be permitted to be worn at the World Athletics Series or the Olympic Games. The development shoe can only be worn for a 12 month ‘development’ period.

“ A list of approved development shoes will be posted on the World Athletics website stating the date from which the development shoe can be worn and the expiry date for approval. To date there is a list of 200 (spikes and non-spikes) approved shoes listed and published on the World Athletics website.

“ This new proposal will be complemented by an athletic shoe availability scheme for shoes which is being developed by a Working Group on Athletic Shoes with representatives from shoe manufacturers and the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI).’’

The attached summary of notes explained, “ “Development shoe” means a shoe (i.e. spike or road shoes) which has never been available for purchase but which a sports manufacturer is developing to bring to market and would like to conduct tests with their sponsored athletes (who agree to test the shoe) on issues such as safety and performance before the shoe is available for purchase.’’

According to it, development shoes are not required to be made available for purchase or subject to the availability scheme provided that, prior to being worn for the first time, the development shoe meets the following conditions:

  • The athlete (or their representative) must submit the specification to World Athletics and, where requested, provide a sample of the development shoe for further examination which includes, if necessary, cutting up the shoe, and provide the date and event of the first competition at which the athlete wishes to compete in a development shoe
  • Confirm the latest date upon which the sports manufacturer will make the final version of the development shoe available for purchase which must be not be later than 12 months after the first time the development shoe is worn in a competition.
  • The athlete (or their representative) submits to World Athletics a list containing the date and event of the first and all subsequent competitions at which the athlete proposes to wear a development shoe within the 12 month period. The athlete (or their representative) must notify World Athletics of any changes to that list.
  • The athlete (or their representative) has received prior written approval from World Athletics that the development shoe complies with the requirements of Rule 5 of the Technical Rules and is approved for use in competitions.
  • Subject to compliance with all rules and regulations (including this Rule 5 of the Technical Rules and these notes), performances achieved by an athlete wearing a development shoe will be valid. After the conclusion of a competition a development shoe must be handed over by the athlete on request by World Athletics for further investigation by World Athletics which includes, if necessary, cutting up the development shoe.
  • World Athletics will publish from time to time on its website a list of approved development shoes stating the date starting from which the development shoe can be worn and the expiry date for approval. No technical or proprietary information belonging to a sports manufacturer will be published.
  • After the expiry date specified the shoe no longer qualifies as a development shoe and can no longer be used in competitions. The shoe will be removed from the approved list after its expiry date and, subject to compliance with all rules and regulations (including this Rule 5 of the Technical Rules and these notes), results achieved by an athlete wearing the development shoe will remain valid.
  • In accordance with the rules and regulations, World Athletics reserves the right to classify a result as ‘Uncertified’ (‘UNC TR5.5’) or declare the athlete’s performance as invalid for non-compliance with Technical Rule 5.

Asha Singh (Photo: courtesy Asha)

Asha Singh wins 100 km Lucknow stadium run event

Asha Singh, 55, won the woman’s race in the 100 kilometers stadium run held at Lucknow on December 6, 2020. She completed the distance in 12 hours and 33 seconds.

Among men, Amar Shivdev was winner in the same category. The event was organized by Wellness Lucknow.

Asha had only recently recovered from shoulder dislocation caused by a vehicular accident in the US. Her tryst with recreational running started in 2016 when she participated in a 10 kilometer-run in Pune, where she was residing with her husband, Bajrang Singh, now a retired army officer. Bajrang is also a recreational runner.

Though bereft of exposure to sports in the preceding years, Asha took to long-distance running enthusiastically. Over the past four years, she has participated in 19 full marathons and secured podium finishes in her age category in 14 of them, she said.

For the stadium run, her training was inadequate. “ I was in Delhi with my daughter, who had given birth to a child. I did some 10-kilometer and 20-kilometer runs,” she said.

Asha was keen to do the 100 kilometer-race. “My husband told me I am not ready for it. But having enrolled I just decided to go and run and see how far I will sustain,” she said.

(The authors, Latha Venkatraman and Shyam G Menon, are independent journalists based in Mumbai.)

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