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New rules for long jump

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World Athletics is exploring an exciting change to the long jump event by testing a new method for measuring athletes’ take-offs. Instead of the traditional wooden board that marks a no-jump if crossed, a “take-off zone” might be introduced. This means the jump would be measured from where the athlete’s front foot leaves the ground to where they land in the sand pit, making every jump count.

Jon Ridgeon, the CEO of World Athletics, shared on the Anything But Footy podcast that this change aims to add excitement and reduce the number of disqualifications due to no-jumps. During the 2023 World Championships in Budapest, a significant number of jumps were discounted because athletes overstepped while trying for the perfect launch. This new method could help in making the event more efficient and engaging by ensuring more jumps are valid and reducing waiting times for results.

This initiative is part of a broader effort by World Athletics to modernize and enhance the sport, making it faster-paced and more appealing, especially in field events. Ridgeon acknowledged that such changes might meet initial resistance, especially from athletes who have trained extensively to master the current take-off board technique. However, he assured that thorough testing with skilled athletes in real-life situations would be conducted before any permanent changes are made.

Additionally, Ridgeon discussed plans to introduce an annual global athletics event for years without a World Championships or Olympic Games. This would ensure a consistent structure for the sport and maintain global interest, similar to how major events are regularly held in tennis and golf. The next major athletics events are the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024 and the World Championships in Tokyo in 2025.

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