NAIROBI, Kenya, March 21 – After outcry from the Kenyans and Ethiopians, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has clarified it will not entirely remove 5,000 metres races from the Diamond League programme.
Instead, the IAAF says individual meeting directors will be free to include 5,000m races on their programmes, but outside the live television broadcast window.
Last week, Kenyan and Ethiopian athletics federations protested against the alleged removal of the distance races from the Diamond League circuit with Ethiopian Athletics Federation Interim President Derartu Tulu urging the IAAF to reconsider the decision”.
In a statement , IAAF Head of Communications Nicole Jeffery also said claims that the 10,000m race had been scrapped from the Diamond League were unfounded as the race was never part of the programme.
“DL meet directors have the opportunity to include a 5,000m race outside the 90-minute international broadcast window if they desire, and some have already said they will do this, including Eugene.
“We expect the same number of 5,000m races to be available next year as this year,” said Jeffery in the statement.
“The 10,000m has never been part of the Diamond League.”
Jeffery also explained that the removal of the 10,000m from the IAAF World Under-20 Championships programme was meant to protect young athletes and ensuring their longevity.
“The distance events that were part of the World U20 Championships in Tampere last year were 5,000m and 10,000m for men and 3,000m and 5,000m for women. The IAAF Council decided in December to approve the 3,000m and 5,000m for both men and women for Nairobi 2020 (World Under-20 Championships), because our research has shown that, in general, it is not good for the longevity of a young athlete to run the 10,000m at world level too early, and we want our best young athletes to have long careers,” she explained.
“There will be the same number of distance races in Nairobi as there were in Tampere.”
At their Council meeting in Doha about two weeks ago, the IAAF ruled that their decision to remove the 5,000m from the broadcast programme was based on consultations and research.
“We made the decision to reduce the 5,000m distance to a 3,000m distance based on clear market feedback from the broadcasters and fans,” the IAAF had said in a statement last week.
“Also, a consistent programme of DL disciplines was important across all of the meetings and in our athlete feedback, the distance runners communicated to us that they did not want to compete in the 5,000m at six regular meetings and the final.
“It is essential for the DL brand that the top athletes are present at all DL meetings so this did not work for the series.”
Jeffery added that the IAAF has been fighting for distance races noting that there was a valid reason from making the IAAF World Cross Country Championships a biennial event, rather than an annual one.
“The World Cross Country is now every two years, but in the alternate year we have the World Half Marathon Championships, so there is still a distance world championship every year,” she explained. Last week, the IAAF said broadcasters had requested for a “faster, sharper and slightly more concentrated product.”
At the Doha meeting, the IAAF also said the Diamond League meetings will be reduced from the current 14 to 12 from next year.
“In addition to the 90-minute international window, please be aware that the DL meetings will also offer a further 30 minutes of additional coverage to their own domestic broadcaster, which will include extra events,” the IAAF said.
-By Daily Nation-