(Reuters) - The U.S. track and field trials for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be held in the Eugene, Oregon stadium being built for the 2021 world championships, officials announced on Thursday.
Dates are June 19-28, 2020.
The selection marks the fourth consecutive time and seventh overall that the trials will be in Eugene. However, it will be the first time that it will be staged at the $200 million Hayward Field stadium that will replace a nearly 100-year-old facility by the same name that has been the centre of U.S. athletics for decades.
More than 1,000 athletes are expected to participate in the first major competition in the stadium, which is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2020.
“No domestic event is more important to athletes and fans than the Olympic Trials,” USA Track and Field (USATF) Chairman of the Board Steve Miller said in a statement.
“Having continuity in location as we move from the Olympic Trials into 2021 will enhance and amplify everything around the sport in the United States, from marketing and promotions to operational efficiencies.”
Eugene was selected over Sacramento, California, and Austin, Texas for the competition which are considered the world’s top track and field meeting outside the Olympic and world championships.
The trials were originally awarded to Mt. San Antonio College in southern California but the USATF board in May reopened the bidding, citing concerns over litigation surrounding the construction of a new stadium there and possible delays.
The college chose not to bid again.
Eight days of competition are scheduled over 10 days with the first three finishers outside the marathons selected for the July 24-August 9 Tokyo Olympics provided they have met qualifying standards.
The U.S. marathon trials are set for Feb. 29, 2020 in Atlanta.
The driving force in bringing previous major meetings to Eugene, Vin Lananna, last month stepped down as president of TrackTown USA, the trials’ local organisers, to devote more time on the future of the sport in the United States. [L1N1UE02I]
Lananna, who was also chair of the 2021 world championships organisers, since February has been on temporary administrative leave from his position as president of USA Track & Field while the U.S. Department of Justice investigated the 2021 bid.
He has denied his resignation was connected in any way to the DOJ investigation, and Eugene organisers have said they had adhered to all ethical and legal standards in pursuing the bid.
Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina, editing by Pritha Sarkar