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Athletics - Diamond League to cut meetings, disciplines by 2020

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Athletics - Diamond League to cut meetings, disciplines by 2020
FILE PHOTO: Athletics - IAAF Diamond League Final - King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels, Belgium - August 31, 2018 Kenya's Beatrice Chepkoech and Fancy Cherono in action during the women's 3000m steeplechase REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File Photo   -   Copyright  Francois Lenoir(Reuters)
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By Gene Cherry

(Reuters) – Athletics’ Diamond League circuit will have a trimmer look and fewer meetings beginning in 2020 as the one-day competitions aim for a more consistent, fast moving format, the IAAF said on Monday.

Meetings will be reduced from 14 to 12 competitions plus a final under concepts approved by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Council in Doha.

The number of disciplines will also be cut from 32 to 24 with 12 each for men and women and the longest event will be 3,000 metres.

There will also be a new focus on out-of-stadium/city centre field events where fans can be closer to the action and meetings will be limited to one per week.

“This elite circuit of quality events (will) attract the best athletes which in turn gives our fans a compelling reason to tune in and follow their stars over the next decade and beyond,” IAAF president Sebastian Coe said in a statement.

There was no indication which meeting would be dropped or what disciplines would be eliminated.

An end of the season examination this year will assess the quality of each meeting with the aim of focussing on the best 12 meetings plus a final with all 24 disciplines, the IAAF said.

The Diamond League, which will celebrate its 10th season beginning in May, currently features nine races for men and women, including the 3,000m steeplechase and 5,000m, and seven field events – high jump, pole vault, long jump, triple jump, shot put, discus throw and javelin throw.

Not all events are held at each meeting.

The circuit, the IAAF’s top competition outside the Olympics and world championships, at present has two end-of-season finals, with Zurich hosting one-half of the disciplines and Brussels the other.

“The market very much told us at the moment the current two finals should be replaced by one thrilling night of athletics,” IAAF chief executive Jon Ridgeon, who co-chaired a year-long review of the circuit, told a news conference.

Qualification and entry standards for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics also were approved by the IAAF Council at its weekend meeting.

Athletes will be able to qualify for the next Olympics either by meeting entry standards or by virtue of their position in the new IAAF world rankings.

The Council also agreed to change race walking distances for senior competitions from 20 and 50km to two of the following – 10, 20, 30 or 35km – after 2022 while maintaining four medal disciplines with two for men and two for women.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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