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Diamond League athletics circuit reconfigured in wake of coronavirus

Sweden's Armand Duplantis, who holds the world record for the pole vault, is scheduled to feature at a modified Diamond League meeting in Oslo in June.
Sweden's Armand Duplantis, who holds the world record for the pole vault, is scheduled to feature at a modified Diamond League meeting in Oslo in June. AFP/File
2 min

Organisers of the international athletics circuit on Tuesday attempted to salvage their coronavirus ravaged season with the announcement of the 2020 Diamond League programme.

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The first of the meetings featuring 16 track and field events was scheduled to start in Qatar on 17 April. But the gathering in Doha was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. It has been reset for 9 October.

After a modified event in Oslo on 11 June, athletes will congregate on 14 August in Monaco before moving onto Gateshead in north-eastern England.

Other European venues include Stockholm, Lausanne and Brussels before a switch of continents to take in venues in the United States and China.

The revamp has left casualties though. Rabat has been called off. And the events in July in London and Zurich in September have also been scrapped.

Losses

Joanna Coates, the head of UK Athletics, said the cancellation of the London Stadium's two day would leave a big hole in the organisation’s coffers.

"The revenue we generate from events - through ticketing, broadcast and sponsorship - helps administer the sport and provide the essential governance services that we, as a national governing body oversee.

"We must place the safety of the entire athletics family at the forefront of every decision we make during these unprecedented times and ensure we are following government advice.”

The Zurich Weltklasse meeting had been due to provide the three-day culmination of the Diamond League season between 9 and 11 September.

"Despite the fact that the Swiss federal council has banned large events only until the end of August, staging the finals in their intended form is unrealistic," the Zurich organisers said.

Work

Despite the cancellations and reconfigurations, World Athletics boss, Sebastian Coe, hailed the efforts to stage competitions after the loss of the Olympic Games.

“I’m delighted that it now looks like we will be able to offer athletes a solid international season between August and October where they can earn prize money and assess their training progress in preparation for next year's Olympic Games.

Coe, a former Olympic gold medallist, added: “Inevitably international travel restrictions will affect the ability of some athletes to attend some meetings, but we hope that there will be a wide enough range of meetings available for most elite athletes to access some competition before the end of the year.”

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