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London 2012 Olympics qualifying: Athletics

Jumping masterclass with Phillips Idowu

How qualification works:

Dates are anticipated and are yet to be confirmed by the IAAF, world athletics' governing body.
Qualification period begins for long distance, combined and relay events
MAY 2011
Qualification period begins for all other events
8 JULY 2012
Qualification period ends

Athletes hoping to reach London 2012 aim to meet one of two qualifying standards set by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), which governs track and field events.

The qualifying standards are specific markers, like times in a sprint event or distances in throwing events, which athletes must reach in order to compete at the Games.

The A standard is harder to achieve - each nation may enter up to three athletes per event who meet or exceed this mark in the 18-month period prior to the Olympics.

The B standard is slightly easier to reach, but only one additional athlete per nation may be entered who has met the B standard without pushing on to the A standard.

Standards and dates for London 2012 qualification are expected to be confirmed in early 2011 but, as an example, qualifying for the Beijing Games in 2008 ran from 1 January 2007 to 23 July 2008.

Qualifying for London is expected to commence shortly for distance events such as the marathon and race walk, as well as combined and relay events.

Qualification for all other events should begin in May 2011, with qualification closing on 2 July 2012 for relay teams and 8 July 2012 for all others - though these dates have yet to be confirmed by the IAAF.

To reach the men's 100m competition in Beijing, athletes had to hit an A standard of 10.21 seconds during that time period, or alternatively pass the B standard mark, set at 10.28.

Javelin throwers had to reach a distance of 81.80m for the A standard, or 77.80m for the B standard.

Full qualifying details for each athletics discipline ahead of London 2012 will be published by the IAAF in the near future, and a link will be provided here.

British athletes ahead of the 2010 European Championships
British athletes Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah (centre left and right) starred at the 2010 European Championships

How are British competitors doing?

The Olympic qualification period in athletics has yet to begin, so no British athletes have yet been able to confirm their places at London 2012.

However, national governing body UK Athletics has set an ambitious target of 10 medals on home soil - compared to just four won in Beijing, where Christine Ohuruogu was Britain's lone gold medallist, winning the women's 400m.

London 2012 - begin your journey here
Use the links below to discover how athletes qualify in each Olympic sport, and how British hopefuls are doing

see also
Athletics on the BBC
21 Apr 11 |  Athletics

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