The one-day series of the world’s best cross country, combined events and race walking meetings will all move to a three-tier World Tour format from next month.
Adding the final pieces to the jigsaw of the restructuring of international athletics competitions, the World Athletics Cross Country Tour, Combined Events Tour and Race Walking Tour will replace the existing challenge and permit series with a more global spread of fixtures.
A combined amount of more than $400,000 in prize money will be on offer for the best tour performers, including a new pool of $75,000 for the best male and female cross country runners.
The development of these tours is part of a concerted effort by World Athletics to create a logical long-term global calendar of international events. It will also ensure more top-level competition opportunities and exposure for athletes in all areas of the sport.
As with the Continental Tour and World Indoor Tour, competitions within the new tours will be given either gold, silver or bronze status. The calendars for each tour – more details of which will be provided in the coming weeks – are already beginning to take shape.
The Cross Country Tour, for example, which gets underway later this month, is expected to have stops in North America, Asia, Africa, Oceania and Europe and will incorporate many of the world’s biggest and most prestigious cross-country meetings that have been part of the Cross Country Permit series in recent years. Athletes who compete in Cross Country Tour meetings will also earn world cross country ranking points.
“One of our primary goals at World Athletics is to improve the competitive and earning opportunities for elite athletes around the world and these new tour formats are designed to do just that,” World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said. “They will also create new avenues for fans to watch our leading athletes, either in person or via broadcast or livestream. My thanks goes to World Athletics CEO Jon Ridgeon and Competition Director, Jakob Larsen, for the work they have been doing on the global competition calendar and the one-day meetings and the team they have now put in place to drive this critical area forward.”
All gold-level Cross Country Tour meetings will be shown on the World Athletics YouTube Channel, and World Athletics is working to ensure a similar level of coverage for next year’s Combined Events and Race Walking Tours.
In order to support the restructure of the global one-day competition calendar, World Athletics has made the following staff appointments.
Pierce O’Callaghan has been appointed as Head of Competition Management after working as a consultant to World Athletics to establish the Continental Tour, expand the World Athletics Indoor Tour and lead the Global Calendar Unit in recent years. He has also been an international referee at four World Athletics Championships and four Olympic Games and was Director of Operations for the 2017 World Championships in London and Director of Readiness for the 2019 World Championships in Doha.
Luca Verrascina has joined World Athletics as Competition Manager after serving as a Technical Delegate or International Technical Official at many World Athletics Series events. He was the Head of Competition at the 2016 World Race Walking Team Championships, the 2013 and 2017 European U20 Championships and the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Rome.
The Competition Department will continue to work on a number of key projects, including the integration of mass participation events into the World Athletics Series, the cohesion of one-day meetings and major championships, the development of the world rankings and qualification pathways for major championships, and a review of the competition rules.