Athletics - 28 Jan 2013 - By Callum Murray
The IAAF, track and field’s world governing body, today told Sportcal that it would be “almost impossible” for a Jamaican athletics meeting to be added to the top-tier annual Diamond League series next year, given that all 14 existing meetings have signed five-year contracts that do not expire until after next year’s meetings.
However, the Diamond League line-up will then be subject to an “evaluation process” that could result in new meetings being added for the next contract period, subject to the approval of the IAAF’s general assembly, albeit this would involve replacing any existing meetings that failed to achieve the criteria demanded by the IAAF.
The IAAF today told Sportcal: “Nothing can change before the end of 2014. It’s true that the Jamaicans, since last year, have been trying to find a way to be part of the Diamond League, but so far we haven’t officially received anything from them. From 2015, the only way for Jamaica to be part of it would be for an existing event to be replaced.”
Jamaican news reports had claimed that Jamaica was aiming to join the Diamond League from next year, with the country’s existing Jamaica International Invitational in Kingston thought to be in line to be replaced in the country’s athletics calendar.
Jamaica boasts four Diamond League title-holders in Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Nickel Ashmeade and Kaliese Spencer and ranks third overall behind USA and Kenya in producing Diamond League champions since the series replaced the Golden League in 2010.
Last week, the proposed Jamaican Diamond League meeting received a boost from Natalie Neita-Headley, the country’s minister with responsibility for sports, who claimed that “We would find no problem in attracting athletes from Europe, Asia, and Africa. The Diamond League in Jamaica would automatically become the Reggae Diamond League.”
In order to be added to the list of Diamond League hosts, Jamaica would have to provide evidence that it is able to fund the $416,000 prize purse over five years, as well as having the ability to pay appearance fees to top athletes.
There are also reported to be concerns over the relatively small number of hotel rooms available in Kingston (2,500) and the transport infrastructure around the city’s National Stadium.
The existing Diamond League meeting line-up is: Doha, Qatar; Shanghai, China; New York and Eugene, USA; Rome, Italy; Oslo, Norway; Birmingham, UK; Lausanne, Switzerland; Paris, France; Monte Carlo, Monaco; London, UK; Stockholm, Sweden; Zurich, Switzerland; and Brussels, Belgium.
The opening meeting of the 2013 season is in Doha on May 10, with the final meeting, the Memorial Van Damme in Brussels, scheduled for September 6. Jamaica was said to be targeting a date in August next year for its inaugural Diamond League meeting.