Stronger Say for Athletes in World Athletics -- Federation Focus

Also: WBSC reveals details for remaining Tokyo 2020 baseball qualifying; World Taekwondo visits OBS in Madrid

(ATR) World pole vault record-holder Renaud Lavillenie and four-time world shot put champion Valerie Adams will on Friday become the first active athletes to join the World Athletics Council as full voting members.

The 33-year-old Lavillenie, from France, was selected by the newly elected Athletes’ Commission on Wednesday as the new chairperson. Adams, who is 35 and from New Zealand, was chosen as the deputy chairperson. Under governance reforms first introduced by World Athletics (formerly the IAAF) in 2016, Lavillenie and Adams will become the two athlete representatives on the council for the next four years.

Under the 2019 Constitution, the Chairperson and one other member of the Athletes’ Commission – one male and one female – become full voting members of the Council.

"It's very important to have athletes on the Council because we see that our sport is evolving and we need to keep the athletes at the centre of the discussion," Lavillenie said in a statement.

"I am very happy to lead a good group of strong athletes who are thinking about the future. We need to be part of the decision-making process, not just the subject of the process."

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe welcomed Lavillenie and Adams to the 26-member Council.

"We want our athletes to be leaders and to contribute their opinions on the issues and challenges we face in steering a global sport with 214 member countries in a rapidly changing world. That will only make athletics stronger and more relevant to coming generations," said Coe.

Tokyo 2020 Baseball Qualifying

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) reveals details of the remaining two qualifying tournaments for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

A live draw, held Wednesday at the Hotel Agora Regency in Sakai, Japan on the eve of the 3rd WBSC Congress, revealed the groups and schedule for the Baseball Americas Olympic Qualifier and the schedule of the Baseball Last Qualifier.

The Baseball Americas Qualifier will be played in Arizona, USA from March 22-26 and will feature eight teams in two groups of four. Group A has the United States, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. Group B includes Cuba, Venezuela, Canada and Colombia.

The 12-game Opening Round will be played from March 22-24, with the top two teams of each group advancing to the Super Round carrying the result of the game played between each other. The top team in the tournament final standings will gain a berth for the Tokyo Olympics.

The second and third place teams in Arizona will receive one final opportunity to qualify as part of the six-team WBSC Baseball Last Qualifier to be held in Taichung, Taiwan, from April 1-5.

The two teams from the Americas will join Chinese Taipei, the Netherlands, China, and the top finisher of the Oceania Pre-Qualifier in a single round robin for the final spot in the Olympic Games.

The winners of the Baseball Americas Qualifier and the Baseball Last Qualifier will join Japan (host team), Israel (Europe/Africa), Mexico (Premier12) and South Korea (Premier12) in the Tokyo 2020 baseball competition.

World Taekwondo Visits OBS in Madrid

The broadcast partnership of World Taekwondo with the Olympic Channel will officially be extended this week.

World Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue met with Olympic Broadcasting Services CEO and Olympic Channel Executive Director Yiannis Exarchos during a visit to OBS headquarters in Madrid.

"We are committed to continuing to work closely with World Taekwondo, and look forward to being part of another milestone for this sport in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and for the first time, the sport´s inclusion in the Paralympic Games" said Exarchos in a statement.

During his visit, Choue also met with Olympic Channel General Manager Mark Parkman, and the teams from OBS and the Olympic Channel.

As part of the meetings, the participants also reviewed the initial approach for the Taekwondo competition schedule for the Dakar 2022 Youth Olympic Games, as well as broadcast opportunities for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Written by Gerard Farek

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