By Gene Cherry
(Reuters) – Triple jump world record holder Jonathan Edwards has strongly criticized the IAAF’s Diamond League for cutting his event from the circuit’s 2020 programme.
Briton Edwards jumped 18.29 meters in 1995 and his world mark still stands despite the best efforts of American Christian Taylor who has dominated the triple jump in recent years.
“There are so many things wrong with World Athletics decision re Diamond League events but what Usain Bolt showed athletics is that it’s not about events but personalities and to exclude and alienate one of the sport’s true stars @Taylored2jump (Christian Taylor) is beyond comprehension,” Edwards said on Twitter on Saturday.
The triple jump, along with the 200 meters, steeplechase and discus, will not be among the core disciplines for a streamlined 2020 Diamond League as officials seek a faster paced, more exciting programme.
The 200, where American world champion Noah Lyles is among the most popular athletes, was eliminated from core events to avoid a sprint glut during the Olympic year, officials said.
Lyles will continue to have opportunities to run the 200 as well as the 100 on the circuit, but the decision has sparked disappointment and concern among other athletes.
“You are seriously destroying the historical and cultural heritage of the sport of athletics because of some short term marketing strategy,” Global Throwing, a group of athletes and coaches in throwing events, wrote in a letter to IAAF President Sebastian Coe.
The group includes Sweden’s world discus champion Daniel Stahl, 2015 world champion Piotr Malachowski of Poland and coaches Juergen Schult and Mac Wilkins, who both won Olympic gold medals.
Taylor, meanwhile has announced the formation of The Athletics Association, a global group of professional track and field athletes.
“We will fight for athletes rights and ultimately demand a seat at the table and a say in how our sport is run and how the sport can grown and evolve without ripping out its very core,” the two-times Olympic and four-times world champion said.
“Yes, there is an Athletes’ Commission but we need something independent of the IAAF/World Athletics.”
Athletes in the four disciplines will be able to compete in some Diamond League meetings and on a new Continental Tour where competitors can earn prize money.
The 200 meters and the 3,000 meters steeplechase will be included in 10 Diamond League meetings (five male and five female) with two meetings (one male and one female) featuring the discus and triple jump.
However, none of the four disciplines will feature in the Diamond League final.
(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina, editing by Ed Osmond)