Wed | Aug 12, 2020

Open for business - Blake welcomes new local meets to compensate for Diamond League exclusions

Published:Tuesday | November 19, 2019 | 12:00 AMDaniel Wheeler/Gleaner Writer -
Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson wins the women’s 200m event at the Jamaica International Invitaional Meet held at the National Stadium on Saturday, May 20, 2017.
Jamaica’s Aisha Praught-Leer wins the women’s 3000m steeplechase at the Jamaica International Invitational Meet held at the National Stadium on Saturday, May 20, 2017.

With the changes to the Diamond League format and adoption of the Continental Tour scheduled for next season, Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association president Warren Blake says he is open to the island staging meets that include events that will not have a Diamond League Final.

But Blake said that the administration has to consider the feasibility of the move before a final decision is made.

“We hope to get some of those events that have been cut to see how feasible it is to stage those events in our international meets.” he told The Gleaner. “[We have to consider] whether we can get enough athletes interested to make it a viable prospect because [for] some of these events, Jamaica doesn’t have a strong representation, so most of the athletes are going to have to come from overseas.”

Blake said that the administration has to consider the cost of booking the athletes to compete in Jamaica.

The new changes from World Athletics (formerly the IAAF) will see the 200m, 3000m steeplechase, the discus throw and triple jump no longer having finals for the 2020 Diamond League season. The 200m was included as organisers felt that including the event would be too congested in an Olympic year.

One meet in focus is the Jamaica International Invitational Meet (JIIM). This meet, an IAAF World Challenge event, started in 2004, but was not held this year because of a lack of funding. But Blake confirmed that the meet will return and now be re-accredited as part of the World Athletics Continental Tour.

The current structure of the meet is separated into two categories: Core Events, which must be executed and are determined by World Athletics; and Discretionary Events, which are decided by the local organising committee where the event is held. Three of the four events without Diamond League finals the men’s discus throw, the women’s triple jump, and the women’s 3000m steeplechase are a part of the core event package, while the 200m is part of the discretionary events.

He says that while he doesn’t predict any major changes to the core event structure of JIIM, he says the door is open for negotiations in terms of the discretionary events, including an increase in the current prize structure. He said that the country has the appeal to attract world class talent to compete in the new structure.

“We don’t foresee any major adjustments from what we have been used to having, and we think that there is some room for negotiation concerning the discretionary events,” he said. “The main incentive is to increase the earning potential of the athletes with prize money and appearance fees, and that fact that they get to compete in Jamaica, in front of a very enthusiastic crowd.”

Diamond League finals prize money (US$)


1st place $50,000

2nd place $20,000

3rd place $10,000

4th place $6,000

5th place $5,000

6th place $4,000

7th place $3,000

8th place $2,000


Plus rewards for 9th-12th place finishers in distance races and ninth-lane runners in sprints.