IAAF backtracks on decision to remove 5,000m race from the Diamond League after outcry

Kwao Saa

The International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) has announced that it will not remove the 5,000-meter races from the Diamond League competition after protests from Ethiopia and Kenya.

The IAAF had revealed its plan to eliminate long distance running from the lucrative Diamond League. However, Ethiopian and Kenyan sporting officials said the decision was unfair since East African athletes dominate those races.

The IAAF has now announced that it will keep the 5,000, races after a meeting with directors. However, sporting officials say the long-distance races will not be broadcast on live television.

Nicole Jeffery, the Head of Communications for the IAAF, made the announcement. He slammed claims that the 10,000m race has also been banned from the Diamond League as untrue saying it was never part of the competition.

“DL meet directors have the opportunity to include a 5,000m race outside the 90-minute international broadcast window if they desire, and some have already said they will do this,” Jeffery said. “We expect the same number of 5,000m races to be available next year as this year.”

The IAAF said the decision to remove the 5,000m and 3,000m races from the Diamond League was based on marketing feedback and nothing else.

“We made the decision to reduce the 5,000m distance to a 3,000m distance based on clear market feedback from the broadcasters and fans,” an IAAF statement read. “Also, a consistent programme of DL disciplines was important across all of the meetings and in our athlete feedback, the distance runners communicated to use that they did not want to compete in the 5,000m at six regular meetings and the final.”

“It is essential for the DL brand that the top athletes are present at all DL meetings so this did not work for the series,” the statement added.