World Athletics plans to change the take-off rule in Long Jump

The global governing body for the sport of Athletics, is planning to implement revolutionary changes in the field of Long Jump.

Nafissatou Thiam in action during the long jump event at World Championships 2022 (Image Credits - World Athletics)
By Soumya | Feb 22, 2024 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

World Athletics, the global governing body for the sport of Athletics, is planning to implement a new trial for measuring long jump take-offs. Under this proposal, a take-off zone will be used to calculate the jump of an athlete, instead of the traditional wooden board.

The rules for the long jump are among the simplest in all sports. “I’d hesitate to even use the plural form of rules because it is just one rule: see how far you can jump from HERE. Well…” World Athletics CEO Jon Ridgeon has shared that this beautifully straightforward event may be getting a more dumbed-down revamp soon.

In the Anything But Footy podcast, the CEO of World Athletics, Jon Ridgeon, revealed that the decision has been taken to minimize the number of invalid jumps in the long jump event. He emphasized in the podcast that every jump mattered, and focused on the inefficiency of the current method, resulting in the disqualification of numerous jumps.

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The organization has opted to introduce the change following the World Athletics Championships 2023 in Budapest, where one-third of the jumps were recorded as invalid or no-jumps due to athletes overstepping on the wooden board during their take-off.

However, Jon Ridgeon added that the take-off zone would only be added after examining them in real-life circumstances, with the method being tested at low-level international meetings this year.

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If the idea of the take-off zone in the long jump doesn’t pass the expectations or fails during its testing, it won’t be introduced at the elite level. Moreover, the method won’t be implemented impulsively or in haste.

How does the new rule of take-off zone affect the sport?

In the long jump event involving a traditional wooden take-off board, athletes start by running down a runway, launch themselves in the air from the board, and aim to cover the maximum distance possible before landing in the sand pit area.

The traditional wooden take-off board, with a length of 20 cm, can be found at the end of the runway. The end of the board has a foul line. The athletes must take off without touching the line or any part of it for the jump to be considered valid. However, in the case of the take-off zone, the athletes will get a bigger area to launch themselves, and the distance from there to where the athletes land in the pit will be considered as the length of the jump.

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It will be interesting to see when and where these regulations come into force. These new regulations can also affect the upcoming Olympics in Paris. As such the officials might be tempted to go ahead with the present norms and regulations which will not hamper the months of preparations taken by the athletes.

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