Wed | Nov 20, 2019

Diamond cut - JAAA president laments omission of events from IAAF’s showpiece League final

Published:Friday | November 8, 2019 | 12:49 AMDaniel Wheeler/Gleaner Writer
Jamaica’s Shanieka Ricketts competing in the women’s triple jump final at the IAAF World Championships at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar on Saturday, October 5, 2019. Ricketts, the reigning IAAF Diamond League champion in the women’s triple jump, will not be in action at next season’s Diamond League final as the discipline as been removed from that event list.
Jamaica’s Shanieka Ricketts competing in the women’s triple jump final at the IAAF World Championships at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar on Saturday, October 5, 2019. Ricketts, the reigning IAAF Diamond League champion in the women’s triple jump, will not be in action at next season’s Diamond League final as the discipline as been removed from that event list.

Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association president Dr Warren Blake says that he can empathise with the athletes whose disciplines have been excluded because of changes to the IAAF Diamond League for next season.

The changes announced on Wednesday will see the number of events for the 2020 staging of the Diamond League reduced to 12 for both men and women. The 200m, 3,000m steeplechase, triple jump, and discus throw will still be part of the league in some meets but will not be contested in the Diamond League Final late in 2020. Organisers excluded the 200m because they felt that the event, with the 100m, especially in an Olympic year, would cause unnecessary congestion.

Blake said that the changes could see a reduction in the appeal for the excluded events.

“If I were a discus thrower, I would see that my event has been devalued a bit,” he said. “Because I can no longer boast that I am the best in the world. That I am a Diamond League champion. It might reduce the appeal of the events.”

IAAF president Sebastian Coe said that the changes were made to increase the appeal of the league.

“Our objective is to create a faster-paced, more exciting global league that will be the showcase of our sport, a league that broadcasters want to show and fans want to watch,” he said. “However, we understand the disappointment of those athletes in the disciplines [that are] not part of the 2020 Diamond League season.”

Continental Tour

Coe said that a new competition, the Continental Tour, will have the excluded events featured and will still offer athletes opportunities to compete, earn prize money, and also earn a berth to the World Championships. The IAAF says that details of the tour would be revealed later this month.

“The Continental Tour, an enhanced global series of one-day meetings supporting the Diamond League, will integrate the eight disciplines to ensure athletes get opportunities to compete extensively and earn prize money,” Lord Coe said.

Blake said that the goal of the IAAF is to compact the league format and decide on the method of selecting events by way of surveys.

“They want to keep the Diamond League short and sweet and what they did, they looked at the different meets, they did surveys and saw which events were more watched and would fit into a more exciting 90 minutes.”

There has been backlash from athletes regarding the change in format. Olympian Aisha Praught-Leer tweeted her displeasure at the changes on Wednesday.

“Sacrificing events – and popular ones featuring t&f stars – because @Diamond_League wants to tighten production is not the “innovation” we need,” her tweet said. “Athletes will lose careers over the implementation of this short-sighted idea.”

Praught-Leer, who competes in the steeplechase, would see her event being relegated to the Continental Tour.

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com

Diamond League events for 2020:

100m

110m hurdles

100m hurdles

~- 200m~

400m

400m hurdles

800m

1500m

3000m

~- 3000m steeplechase~

Long jump

~- Triple jump

High Jump

Pole Vault

Javelin throw

~- Discus throw~

Shot put

Top events as revealed by a survey:

100m

Long jump

High jump

200m

400m

Pole vault