World Athletics (WA) has re-organized and re-submitted its calendar of events for 2020 in the face of COVID-19.
With the window for the staging of meets significantly reduced, the world’s governing body for athletics has compacted a schedule of international one-day events for the remainder of 2020. Those meets will take place over the span of two months – from August to October in various cities around the world.
A total of three of the 15 Diamond League meets for 2020 have been canceled and a number of the others are grouped over the same weekend. At the moment, just a handful of Bahamians are actively engaged in competition on the World Athletics calendar – Olympic Champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo, World Champion Steven Gardiner, former World Champion Donald Thomas, high jumper Jamal Wilson and hurdler Pedrya Seymour.
This week, Continental Tour Gold and Wanda Diamond League meeting directors have collectively organized their events on rescheduled dates. Canceled for 2020 are the Rabat, London and Zürich Diamond League Meets, and still on the schedule are meets in Monaco, Gateshead – which replaces the meet in Birmingham, Stockholm, Lausanne, Brussels, Paris, Rome/Naples, Shanghai, Eugene, Doha and another one in China at a venue to be announced.
The Diamond League will kick off its season with a meet in Monaco on August 14.
Due to uncertainty created by the new coronavirus pandemic, Diamond League organizers have announced that the meets will not include a series point score, so there will be no overall league winners and the final in Zürich will not be held. The format of each meet and the disciplines contested will be announced two months in advance of each meet.
World Athletics President Lord Sebastian Coe has praised the cooperative efforts, putting together a substantial competition season for the sport’s top athletes.
“As we have worked through the challenges posed by the pandemic and the disruption it has caused to our sport, as well as the wider community, our first priority was the health and safety of our athletes, and the next priority has been to find a way to get our professional athletes back into international competition this year as their incomes rely on this,” said Coe. “I’m delighted that it now looks like we will be able to offer them a solid international season between August and October where they can earn prize money and assess their training progress in preparation for next year’s Olympic Games, although we know this will not be easy for everyone. Inevitably, international travel restrictions will affect the ability of some athletes to attend some meetings, but we hope that there will be a wide enough range of meetings available for most elite athletes to access some competition before the end of the year.”
The Olympic Games has been postponed to the summer of 2021, remaining in Tokyo, Japan, due to the new coronavirus pandemic.
The final Diamond League meet for 2020 is set for October 17 in China at a venue yet to be decided.
Also, a limited number of countries will still be able to stage meets in June and July but the main athletics outdoor season will commence following the national championships window of August 8 to 9. The Bislett Games is still on the schedule, set for June 11 in Oslo, Norway, but will go ahead in an altered format and will be dubbed “The Impossible Games”.
The first World Athletics Continental Tour Gold Meet of the year, the Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku, Finland, is set for August 11. Just a few of the original Continental Tour Gold Meets have been canceled for 2020. A total prize money purse of at least USD$200,000 will be offered for each meet. A few Continental Tour Silver and Bronze Meets will also be able to go ahead, primarily as domestic competitions, starting with the Memorial Josefa Odlozila in Prague, Czech Republic, on June 8.