The coronavirus pandemic has left the athletics season on standby. Besides of postponement of the Games, the Paris European Championship has been canceled and the first six dates of the Diamond League have been left in limbo, with the doubt of whether they will end up being disputed. However, in some countries second-tier competitions are already taking place.
Some have decided to take advantage to shape a new athletics. The Bislett Games in Oslo have been converted into Impossible Games. On June 11, and within the Norwegian regulations against the coronavirus, several stars will compete in an innovative environment. The world champion of 400m hurdles Karsten Warholm He will try to beat the record for the atypical 300m hurdles one on one. While, Mondo Duplantis will face Renaud Lavillenie on the pole, the Swedish in the stadium and the French in the garden of his house. Everything on the country’s public television.
In Spain, two of the national athletics figures have been challenged to give life to what will be an atypical summer. The Cuatrocentista Óscar Husillos and the long distance runner Adrian Ben They will compete in an intermediate distance, 500m, throughout the month of July. To the extent that de-escalation allows, the duel will be on the same track with both athletes together, against the clock in turns or each in his city. It will be broadcast via streaming and, if the moment is possible, with an audience in the stands.
“In the very short term, I see that something like this is done to kill the competitive bug, but we have to fight so that in autumn there is an athletics as normal as possible. It is as if in a soccer game they played four against four to leave more space. It would not be football, ”says Antonio Serrano, coach of some of the best long distance runners in Spain.
Serrano also points out the economic problems that the coronavirus can cause. “It will take many things ahead, because there will be less public and private money for competitions,” he laments. “There will be a bad year or two, but I think everything will come back later,” he adds. Although the main harm may be another: “Young people, 20, 21 or 22 years old, who are there between dedicating themselves to training or studying and can make the leap, it will cost them a little more.”