India on IAAF’s radar for holding Diamond League

Sebastian Coe, IAAF's President, attends a press conference as part of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) council meeting in Monaco, November 26, 2017. REUTERS/Jean-Pierre Amet

Vastavam web: India might get to host the Diamond League of athletics as the glitzy showpiece, which features the top stars of the sport, needs to be taken to all major cities of the world, IAAF President Sebastian Coe said today. Here for the ongoing Asian Games, Coe spoke to about the possibility of Diamond League coming to India.

“The concentration of Diamond League or world events has historically been in European countries. We want to maintain that strength, but we have to make sure that big cities are hosting our sport, cities like Delhi, Tokyo, Beijing in Asia,” Coe said. It was established in 2010 to replace the Golden League to take the sport beyond Europe and as IAAF’s contract with the event sponsors draws to an end, discussions are being held to take it to new cities.

“We have one more year with the Diamond League contract. Those discussions are taking place at the moment but I want to see our world events being spread around the world. I want to see the sport in big populations, in big cities and this has to be the objective,” the two-time Olympic champion said. “Next year we have Asian athletics championship in Doha, then Olympic games in Tokyo and the world indoor championship in Nanjing in 2020. Asia is going to be the focus of the sport for next four or five years,” he added. “She was very impressive. I was in the stadium. In know the impact that had in India. This is a good sign, athletics is beginning to grab the consciousness of the population. I remember the CWG in 2010, you had stadiums full every night.”

The IAAF President said India is an important market for his organisaton. “It is very encouraging, India is a very important country for the potential to grow our sport. You have a federation which is very ambitious to grow the sport,” he said. “I see India as very important for helping us globalise our sport and there is a huge sponsorship and broadcast market which is something we should be doing a lot more work in. That’s the objective of the IAAF,” he added. “We have had mixed relay in 2015 at the world youth championships, the world relay event in Bahamas was particularly successful. They will be in 2020 in Tokyo and we showcase one in Doha to globalise it before we take it to Tokyo.

“We have to be creative and innovative and do things differently. We will review the impact now and the next year. Obviously we can’t have it in every event but it’s a good sign. It has got a new dimension,” he said. The Dynamic New Athletics (DNA) style will make its debut the European Games next year. In the new format, mixed-gender teams will compete in a knockout format over five days, the action concluding in two hours. Talking about dope-tainted Russia’s inclusion in IAAF, Coe said it will still take some time.