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World Athletics blocks use of prototype shoes and issues rules designed to preserve 'integrity'

World Athletics will prevent competitors using the type of shoes Eliud Kipchoge wore when famously breaking the marathon's two-hour barrier - warning advances in technology are threatening the "integrity of the sport".

The governing body announced an immediate "indefinite moratorium" on any shoe with a sole thicker than 40 millimetres, or 30mm for the sole on shoes with spikes.

Also subject to the moratorium will be shoes with more than one "rigid embedded plate or blade that runs either the full length or only part of the length of the shoe".

Nike's Alphafly bespoke shoe, which Kipchoge wore when setting his marathon record in Vienna last October, is widely reported to feature three carbon fibre plates.

World Athletics did not mention the Nike shoes in its news release on Friday, or say whether Kipchoge's world record would remain in the record books, and did not reply to requests from Omnisport for comment.

All manufacturers' prototype shoes are to be blocked from use, World Athletics said, and from April 30, athletes will only be permitted to compete in footwear that has been available for the public to buy for four months.

Sebastian Coe, the World Athletics president, said the new rules would provide "certainty to athletes and manufacturers" ahead of this year's Tokyo Olympics.

The new regulations will allow for modification of shoes but only for cosmetic or medical reasons.

As well as Kipchoge's historic achievement in 2019, which was not an officially ratified record, his fellow Kenyan Brigid Kosgei set a world record for the women's marathon also in Nike shoes.

It is not known whether the Nike Vaporfly shoes that Kosgei wore would be allowed under the specifications provided by World Athletics, or whether the shoes were modified.

According to The Times, Nike plans to commercially release an Alphafly shoe that will meet the new guidelines.

World Athletics said independent research had raised "concerns that the integrity of the sport might be threatened by the recent developments in shoe technology".

Coe said "It is not our job to regulate the entire sports shoe market but it is our duty to preserve the integrity of elite competition by ensuring that the shoes worn by elite athletes in competition do not offer any unfair assistance or advantage.

"As we enter the Olympic year, we don't believe we can rule out shoes that have been generally available for a considerable period of time, but we can draw a line by prohibiting the use of shoes that go further than what is currently on the market while we investigate further.

"I believe these new rules strike the right balance by offering certainty to athletes and manufacturers as they prepare for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, while addressing the concerns that have been raised about shoe technology."


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