5,000m and 10,000m to be scrapped
• Aims to make athletics more compelling to fans
Radical new plans for athletics’ elite Diamond League circuit will see meetings cut to 90 minutes, fewer events, and the 5,000m and 10,000m scrapped. The new proposals, which were announced by IAAF president Seb Coe, are designed to make the sport more fast paced, compelling and relevant to fans in the way the Twenty20 format has shaken up cricket.
Coe said that the plans, which will come into effect in 2020, would lead to a global calendar with one meeting a week across 13 weeks during the summer. He also confirmed that more field events would be held in city centres rather than stadiums and that the current 32 track and field disciplines that make up the Diamond League would be reduced to 24.
The IAAF’s new chief executive Jon Ridgeon said the proposals would take a good product and make it even better. “It will create a more consistent, fast-moving, action-packed format for broadcasts and also provide fans a really persuasive reason to come back to the sport week in, week out,” he added. “It will make the Diamond League an even stronger shop window for our sport.”
However there are fears that the loss of 5,000m and 10,000m events will lead to many of those athletes heading to the road rather than stay on the track. The longest discipline will be the 3,000m. Athletes in some of the more unfashionable field events, such as the shot put, will also fear a large loss of income if they are not included in the circuit.
However Coe said the sport had to adapt to modern audiences. “Change is never easy, as we know,” he said. “But wherever possible it needs to be made from a position of strength. This gives our fans a compelling reason to tune in and follow their stars over the next decade and beyond.”
Meanwhile the IAAF has said that Russia’s Athletics Federation will remain suspended because two key issues – Russia’s payment for the IAAF’s costs and the need for analytical data from the Moscow lab to be further scrutinised – remain outstanding.Topics