Fri | Dec 6, 2019

Discus decision a major setback– Dacres

Published:Tuesday | November 12, 2019 | 12:27 AMDaniel Wheeler/Gleaner Writer

As the IAAF continues to face backlash from athletes and other stakeholders following its decision to cut certain events from the Diamond League final next season, World Championships silver medallist Fedrick Dacres has described the decision as a setback for discus throwers.

The decision last Wednesday to remove the 200m, 3000m steeplechase, triple jump, and discus throw events from the 2020 Diamond League final has caused outrage within the track and field community.

Dacres said that he was disappointed with the decision but admitted that he was ultimately not surprised.

“It wasn’t a surprise to me that they cut it. I hoped that they wouldn’t have, but it is what it is,” Dacres told The Gleaner. “We are trying to fight the situation based on what is going on. It’s the hand that we are dealt and we are trying to fight the situation.”

One of the measures being used is the creation of the Athletics Association, a union spearheaded by World and Olympic triple jump champion Christian Taylor demanding a greater say in the sport.

“We will fight for athletes’ rights and ultimately demand a seat at the table and a say in how our sport is run and how the sport can grow and evolve without ripping out its very core,” Taylor said in a statement released on Twitter last Wednesday.

The initiative has already gained the support of World 200m champion Dina Asher-Smith.

Dacres says that he has joined the association and that it is important for athletes to have a greater voice in how the sport moves forward.

Voice of the athlete

“As athletes, I think that we should have a voice in what’s being done in terms of us making money because this is our livelihood,” said Dacres.

He further criticised the way the research was done to determine the most popular events on the cash-rich global circuit.

“You can’t really say, because an event doesn’t do well this year in terms of viewership, that it is not growing. The 100m has dropped in popularity, but the shot put, the discus, the triple jump they are actually doing very well,” Dacres argued.

The long jump, high jump, javelin throw, and the shot put had their finals retained for next year but Dacres lamented that the exclusion of the discus in a year that had top performances was disheartening.

“Based on form, I think we were doing very well. This year, we had two guys over 70 metres, myself and Daniel Stahl. So to actually see that they are cutting the event that is gradually growing, it’s [sad],” Dacres said.

Sweden’s Stahl captured the World Championships in Doha, Qatar, with a distance of 67.59m ahead of Dacres, who registered 66.94m. The excluded events will be offered in a separate competition called the Continental Tour that will, according to IAAF president Sebastian Coe, allow athletes to compete extensively and earn prize money. The details of the competition are expected to be released soon.