• IAAF axes 3,000m steeplechase from Diamond league bouquet
The 5000m was dropped last year by the world governing body to the disappointment of Ethiopia and Kenya.
Kenyans reacted angrily over the axing of the 3000m steeplechase from next year's Diamond League Series—a race considered as the country's stronghold.
Athletics enthusiasts questioned why IAAF have always targeted the events dominated by Africans. "First it was 10,000m, them 5,000 and now 3,000m steeplechaese. I am sure 1,500m will be next on the line," said one of the athletics enthusiasts, who sought anonymity.
However, Athletics Kenya President Lt Gen Jackson Tuwei asked Africa to forge a united front and organise their own events to counter Diamond League organisers moves to cut some of their specialities.
Tuwei's remarks come in the wake of the world governing body IAAF axing the 3000m steeplechase from next year's Diamond League bouquet — a race Kenya has dominated for the past half-century at both Olympic and World Championship level.
This comes hot on the heels of the world governing body dropping the 5,00m last year. Tuwei said the move to drop some of Africa's specialities should act as an inspiration for the continent to start thinking about themselves and the way forward.
"We can't be crying all every time an event is dropped. We have to empower Africa and ensure we stay strong in the competition. These are their events and there' s very little we can do about it," he noted.
He said those with TV rights are very much focused on marketing and this comes with such conditions. "It's about what their audience wants and not what we want as Africa," he added.
"Rabat hosts one of the Diamond League legs but it's still part of the series and comes with the same conditions. However, I believe this being Africa, we can still stage such events here," he added.
Athletics coach Bernard Ouma said the move by the IAAF is killing the careers of athletes from this part of the world. "It demotivates athletes and kills their careers notwithstanding the revenue they were going to generate. It's just very unfortunate."
Ouma said it's time athletes began to speak and challenge these decisions. "Our athletes are too quiet. They need to speak out and protest such moves. We need to hear their voices," added Ouma.
He also blamed AK leaders for doing nothing in the wake of such machinations. “This axing did not start today. It's something which began last year and our leaders should have objected to it from the word go. At this rate, we will be left with nothing," he added.
AK, however, clarified that 3,000m steeplechase was the only casualty of the Diamond League Series next year and not the long-distance events as rumoured in some quarters.
"Please note that 10,000m has not been part of Diamond League events but Eugene will continue to hold it in their tw0-day meeting. The 3,000m steeplechase will be included in 10 meetings out of 14 within the broadcast window and will earn prize money," the statement from AK noted.
The Statement added: "Our athletes both men and women will therefore still have good meetings to choose from and good earning potential. The 3,000m SC will also feature strongly in the continental tour which will be announced later after council approval."
According to IAAF, the removal of the men’s and women’s steeplechase from the 15-leg 2020 IAAF Diamond League series was informed by 'Representative online research carried out in China, France, South Africa and the USA'.
“Popularity of athletes, head-to-head competitions and excitement of the individual competition were cited as reasons for the choice of the most popular events in the largest consumer survey into the disciplines hosted in the IAAF Diamond League,” the IAAF statement added.
The IAAF added that the online research and “post-event surveys in Belgium, Great Britain and Switzerland and click-throughs on Diamond League social media videos during 2019” informed their decision to drop the steeplechase along with the 200m races.
“As a result of the research, and the decision was taken earlier in the year that only 24 disciplines (12 male/12 female) will form the core disciplines at all meetings, eight disciplines (four male and four female) will not be contested during the 2020 Diamond League season,” the statement added.