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Japan to Keep MGC Single-Race Olympic Marathon Trials Format for Paris Olympic Team

Following the success of the Marathon Grand Championship single-race Olympic marathon trials, in which the top finishers in the trials race earned spots on the Olympic team, the JAAF will again use the MGC format for deciding the 2024 Paris Olympics marathon teams.

At an Apr. 17 JAAF board meeting done via video conferencing, executive Mitsugi Ogata said, "We will keep the same basic format in order to choose the Olympic team with transparency and fairness, with a multi-year qualifying period from 2021 to 2023. We will consider the exact mechanics of the process, for example whether the trials race should determine one or two people for the team. This time it was for a home-soil Olympics, so I think it will be difficult to do it exactly the same way next time."

Up to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, the results of a number of designated qualifying race in the season leading up to the Olympics were considered in choosing Olympic team members, but for the Tokyo Olympics a complete new system was employed. Over a three-year period, if athletes cleared specific time and placing criteria they qualified for the MGC trials race a year before the scheduled date of the Olympics. The top two finishers at the MGC race were named to the Olympic team. The requirements for both competitive ability and speed led to an overall elevation of the sport, including new national records.

In addition to discussing the future use of the MGC format, the board of directors made the decision that the marathoners and race walkers already named to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic team would retain their places despite the Games' postponement by one year. Race walker Eiki Takahashi was also confirmed as the third man on the 20 km race walk squad. The 50 km race walk National Championships will be canceled, with the last remaining spot on the men's 50 km squad to be determined some time after December. Board member Kazunori Asaba commented, "We hope that these moves will help to relieve athletes' stress and anxiety."

source article:
translated and edited by Brett Larner

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