IAAF to probe calendar clash
Sapa - AFP
05 May 2011
World athletics' governing body, the IAAF, has vowed to sort out an untimely calendar clash that has left the opening Diamond League meet on on Friday shorn of a raft of headline sprinters.
Not one Jamaican sprinter will be on show in the Qatari capital, with the Jamaica International Invitational meeting in Kingston being held on Saturday.
The meet in the Jamaican capital has been upgraded from 'continental' to an IAAF World Challenge Meeting, and the best sprinters from Jamaica and the United States have opted to stay closer to home.
"We regret the clash of dates between Kingston and Doha," acknowledged IAAF general secretary Pierre Weiss.
"Kingston is now an IAAF meet after being promoted from its continental standing.
"It has been held on the same weekend in May for 25 years, and attracts the top US and Jamaican athletes.
"That said, it is not good, and we will do everything next year not have this clash."
Weiss said it was not a matter of shifting either meeting by 48 hours.
"One or two days is not enough (to recuperate from) a 20-hour flight. You need one week at least.
"Kingston won't change."
IAAF president Lamine Diack, under whose push the 14-meet Diamond League circuit was introduced in 2010 to supercede the Golden League and Grand Prix events as the top circuit in the athletics world, added: "We will have a solution next year.
"This year, Kingston is an IAAF Challenge event, but we'll try not to have the same problem next season.
"The sprinting field here is weak. It's true we're facing a difficulty. There's no one from Jamaica and we have to look at that and work on that."
Diack also played down the absence of sprint duels between triple world and Olympic champion Usain Bolt of Jamaica and American Tyson Gay, his chief rival, amid reports the duo would not meet before the September 27-August 4 World Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea.
"There'll possibly be one meet before Daegu," said Diack.
"In 2009, people said that if you have three or four races featuring Bolt versus Gay or Asafa Powell before the world champs, it can diminsh the value of the World Championships."
Weiss added that with just two Diamond League meetings after the end of the world champs, organisers of the September 8 Weltklasse, falling just four days after the end of the South Korean event, had come up with a novel idea to guarantee a top-class field in Zurich.
"They have booked 250 seats on an Airbus 330 that will fly direct from Busan to Zurich on Monday, allowing the athletes to recuperate and get fit enough to compete on the Thursday," Weiss said.
The 14th and final meet on the Diamond League calendar comes in Brussels on September 16.