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World Athletics could trial new long jump take-off



World Athletics is planning to introduce a new trial for measuring long jump take-offs.

A “take-off zone” could be used instead of the traditional wooden board, where a no-jump is called if the athlete’s foot crosses the line.

The jump will be measured from where the athlete’s front foot takes off to where they land in the pit.

“It will mean that every jump counts,” World Athletics CEO Jon Ridgeon told the Anything But Footy podcast., external

“It adds to the jeopardy and the drama of the competition.”

The aim of the long jump adaptation would be to reduce the amount of no-jumps, with Ridgeon saying a third of all jumps at the 2023 World Championships in Budapest did not count as athletes overstepped in pursuit of the perfect take-off.

“That doesn’t work, that is a waste of time,” he added. “So we are testing at the moment a take-off zone, rather than a board.

“But at the same time we are trying to work out ways of getting instant results so that you don’t have to wait 20 or 30 seconds before the result pops up, and how we speed up the whole thing.”

The long jump trial was one example used by Ridgeon to demonstrate World Athletics’ aims of improving the sport, making processes quicker and more exciting, particularly for field events.

“You cannot make change in a sport that was basically invented 150 years ago without some controversy,” he said.

“If you have dedicated your life to hitting that take-off board perfectly and then suddenly we replace it with a take-off zone, I totally get that there might be initial resistance.

“We will spend this year testing it in real life circumstances with very good athletes. If it doesn’t pass testing, we will never introduce it. We are not going to introduce things on a whim.”

Four-time Olympic long jump champion Carl Lewis criticised the proposed change, writing on social media: “You’re supposed to wait until 1 April for April Fools jokes.

“I guess it supports what I’ve been saying, that the long is the most difficult event in track and field. That would just eliminate the most difficult skill from the event.”

Ridgeon also explained plans for an annual global event in the athletics calendar for years where there is not a World Championships or Olympic Games, and to add consistency to the sport’s structure.

The Olympic Games are taking place in Paris in 2024, followed by the World Championships in Tokyo in 2025.

Ridgeon added: “It’s like tennis or golf having a year without all their majors – it would never happen, so why would we have a year where we don’t have a global championship bringing a billion eyeballs to our sport?”

A World Athletics spokesperson told BBC Sport: “We are running tests with take-off zones in multiple locations and across several training groups. The testing will continue throughout the outdoor season.”