Joshua Cheptegei - Doha 2019 IAAF World Championships

Ugandan runners Joshua Cheptegei and Halima Nakaayi will have to wait an extra year to defend their world titles having claimed gold last year in Doha, Qatar.

The development follows the rescheduling of the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, USA to July 15-24, 2022.

The change was made following the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Oregon World Championships had been originally scheduled for August 6-15, 2021 but have been rescheduled to the following year to avoid a clash with the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The new dates were approved by World Athletics Council after extensive discussions with the sport’s stakeholders as well as the organisers of two other major athletics championships due to take place in between July and August 2022 which are the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and the multisport European Championships in Munich.

The new schedule will prevent a direct conflict between any of these major events and, with careful programming, will ensure some athletes can compete in up to three world-class competitions.

In an extraordinary international season for athletics, all three events will be held across an unprecedented summer of sport. The World Championships will begin, followed by the Commonwealth Games and later the European Athletics Championships.

“This will be a bonanza for athletics fans around the world,” World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said as quoted by worldathletics.org.

“They will be treated to six weeks of absolutely first-class athletics. More than 70 of our Member Federations are part of the Commonwealth and more than 50 of our Member Federations are European so our guiding principle in rescheduling the World Championships was to ensure enough space was created around the centrepiece World Athletics Championship for athletes to choose other major events to compete in. We were also very mindful that we did not want to damage the other major championships in 2022, because they are also very important to our sport.

“We believe we have found a solution that will allow athletes who are eligible for the other two events to compete in them with the Commonwealth Games Federation planning to stage the athletics programme towards the end of their event. This will showcase our sport to its best advantage in the circumstances and we will continue collaborating with all competitions on the detailed programming.

“We would not have chosen to have three major championships back-to-back but it will give us a unique opportunity to promote our sport and its stars around the globe over a six-week period.”

Franklin Kaweru is the Editor in Chief of Kawowo Sports. He is an ardent basketball enthusiast.

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