World Athletics, the sport’s international governing body, has today announced Nairobi, Kenya as the 10th and final host city for gold level competitions in the Continental Tour, the new second-tier track and field series, launching this year.
The Kenyan capital is the first African host city for the inaugural series, which will now take in four continents with events already confirmed in Europe, Asia and North America.
Both South America and Oceania will host silver level meetings this year with a view to staging gold level meetings in 2021.
The Continental Tour is replacing the World Challenge as the annual, global circuit of one-day competitions below the flagship top-tier Diamond League and offers a total of $2 million in prize money.
The competition is divided into three levels – gold, silver and bronze – with the status of meetings determined by the quality of competition and prize money on offer.
This year’s series will begin on 2 May at the Moi International stadium in Nairobi, followed by a meeting on 10 May in Tokyo, with the competition at the Japanese capital's National Stadium coming just three months before the newly-constructed venue stages athletics events at the 2020 Olympic Games.
The other venues for gold level competitions are Nanjing (China), Ostrava (Czech Republic), Hengelo (the Netherlands), Turku (Finland), Kingston (Jamaica), Szekesfehervar (Hungary), Silesia (Poland), and Zagreb (Croatia).
World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said the Continental Tour was created “to provide more competition and earning opportunities for more athletes.”
As part of its programme, Nairobi will stage 3,000 metres steeplechase, 5,000 metres and 10,000 metres races for both men and women.
Host broadcasters have been appointed for the 10 meetings, and Infront, the international sports marketing agency, will be responsible for marketing the rights worldwide, as part of a long-term deal signed in September that includes the Diamond League from 2025 to 2029.
In November, it was revealed that four disciplines - the 200 metres, the 3,000 metres steeplechase, the discus and the triple jump - were being axed from the core competitions in the Diamond League this year.
However, they will serve as core disciplines at the gold level of the Continental Tour and still feature at some Diamond League meetings.
At each Continental Tour meeting there will be total prize money of at least $200,000 and world ranking points.
Also on offer will be wildcard entries to the 2021 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon in USA.Sportcal