How Do You Qualify For The 2019 World Championships?

As reigning vault gold medalist, Sam Kendricks has a World Champs Wild Card. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

IN THE WAKE of the collapse of plans to use its new world rankings as the prime way to qualify for the World Championships this year, the IAAF announced the return to the use of qualifying standards (see sidebar for marks) for Doha ’19. As was the case for the London Worlds in ’17, qualifying will again be based on a single set of standards. No more A-B scenarios that confused fans, coaches & athletes alike for so many years.

2019 World Champs Q-Standards

Here are the marks that are required to qualify for this year’s World Championships. The window for achieving qualifying marks is the same as for London ’17, relatively speaking. For most events the period is from September 07, 2018 to September 06, 2019. For the 10K, road events, relays and multis the window opened on March 07, 2018.

Age restrictions: Junior (U20) athletes are allowed in all events save the marathon and 50W; Youth (U18) athletes are barred from the 10K, road races, throws & multis; those born in ’04 or later are excluded from all events.

The Doha ’19 standards:

100 10.10
200 20.40
400 45.30
800 1:45.80
1500 3:36.00 (3:53.10y)
Steeple 8:29.00
5000 13:22.50
10,000 27:40.00
110 Hurdles 13.46
400 Hurdles 49.30
Marathon 2:16:00
20K Walk 1:22:30
50K Walk 3:59:00
4 x 100 top 10 from ’19 World Relays + list
4 x 400 top 10 from ’19 World Relays + list
mixed 4 x 400 top 12 from ’19 World Relays + list
High Jump 2.30 | 7-6½
Pole Vault 5.71 | 18-8¾
Long Jump 8.17 | 26-9¾
Triple Jump 16.95 | 55-7½
Shot 20.70 | 67-11
Discus 65.00 | 213-3
Hammer 76.00 | 249-4
Javelin 83.00 | 272-4
Decathlon 8200
100 11.24
200 23.02
400 51.80
800 2:00.60
1500 4:06.50 (4:25.20y)
Steeple 9:40.00
5000 15:22.00
10,000 31:50.00
100 Hurdles 12.98
400 Hurdles 56.00
Marathon 2:37:00
20K Walk 1:33:30
50K Walk 4:30:00
4 x 100 top 10 from ’19 World Relays + list
4 x 400 top 10 from ’19 World Relays + list
mixed 4 x 400 top 12 from ’19 World Relays + list
High Jump 1.94 | 6-4¼
Pole Vault 4.56 | 14-11½
Long Jump 6.72 | 22-¾
Triple Jump 14.20 | 46-7¼
Shot 18.00 | 59-¾
Discus 61.20 | 200-9
Hammer 71.00 | 232-11
Javelin 61.50 | 201-9
Heptathlon 6300

In individual events each nation may enter 3 qualified athletes, and the Wild Card system remains in effect. The Wild Card protocol allows reigning World & Diamond League champions to be added to a nation’s allotment for up to a total of 4 entries.

Wild Cards

The U.S. has 8 defending champions who can claim a Wild Card, thus giving it the possibility of 4 entries (assuming it has 3 others with the qualifying standard): Justin Gatlin (100), Sam Kendricks (PV), Christian Taylor (TJ), Tori Bowie (100), Phyllis Francis (400), Emma Coburn (steeple), Kori Carter (400H), & Brittney Reese (LJ).

In past years, Wild Cards have also gone to the previous year’s Diamond League winners, but there’s a wrinkle this time around, what with the ’19 DL Finals being held before the WC (in the past they’ve always been after). So last year’s DL champs are out of luck, with this year’s DL winners getting the nod. Wild Cards will also go to the leaders of three IAAF Challenges: walks, hammer & multis. The Wild Cards are athlete specific, so if a defender also ends up as this year’s DL champ, they only count once. If a nation has 2 Wild Cards, it is up to their discretion on which of the athletes will go. The U.S. has traditionally gone with the defending champ over the DL champ.

Area Champions

The IAAF is also continuing with other avenues to qualification. Area champions from ’18 & ’19 in all events (except for the marathons and field events, which are at the discretion of the IAAF’s Technical Delegates) will be considered as having achieved standard. For the U.S., last year’s NACAC Championships will fall under this rule. Note that these are not Wild Cards, just consideration as a qualifier even if standard has not actually been met.

Other-Event Exemption
Additionally, the IAAF will consider athletes in the following categories to have met the standard, no matter their list position:
10,000—top 15 finishers at March’s World XC Championships.
Marathon—top 10 finishers at all of its Gold Label marathons, which number some two dozen.

Filling The Fields

The IAAF will once again set desired field sizes for each event. When the total numbers of qualifiers—based on the previous criteria—are known, it will augment fields, if necessary, to reach the quotas based on lists during the qualifying period. This procedure didn’t go exactly smoothly when it was rolled out for the first time in ’17

Relay Qualifying
Baton quartets in the 4×1 and 4×4 can qualify in one of two ways: by having placed in the top 10 (up from 8) at this May’s World Relays, or off the performance lists for the qualifying period as needed to reach the quota. For the new mixed 4×4 the top 12 from the World Relays plus 4 from performance lists will be automatic.

USATF Standards

As of January 24, USATF had not yet published either qualifying standards or the qualifying period for July’s USATF Championships—which will serve as the Team USA selection meet—in Des Moines. Also not clarified was what procedure would be followed to fill out the team with regards to chasing marks. We will, of course, publish the USATF data as soon as it’s known, including tacking it on in this space for future reference. □