Return of 200m, 5000m, steeplechase, triple jump and discus for 2021, while new ‘Final 3’ format is introduced
A number of big changes have been announced for the 2021 Wanda Diamond League (WDL) series, including the reintroduction of 200m, 5000m, steeplechase, triple jump and discus events.
It was announced in November 2019 that those events would be cut from the Diamond League programme for 2020, with only 24 disciplines to form the core of all meetings in the series.
The decision was one of the priority issues for the newly-formed Athletics Association and on Friday the association welcomed the return to 32 disciplines.
“We are delighted that athletes’ voices have been heard and the events that were removed from the Diamond League schedule a year ago have returned,” said The Athletics Association president and triple jump great Christian Taylor.
“Rest assured that we will continue advocating for all stadium events to be included in the future. Working groups have been developed to generate practical solutions to discover the possibilities of making this a reality.
“Additionally, we are pleased with the open, honest, and considerably positive dialogue with the Wanda Diamond League and World Athletics. In these challenging times, I appreciate everyone’s enthusiasm, their creativity and openness because the mutual goal is for the sport to flourish and grow. We look forward to continuing these conversations across a wide range of issues.”
Provided the global health situation allows, the 2021 Diamond League series will see 13 meetings across 12 countries held from May to September, with athletes competing for a place in the Wanda Diamond League Final.
Each meeting will take place in a two-hour TV world programme and will stage 14 Diamond disciplines.
At the end of the 13 meetings, the athletes with the most points in each Diamond discipline will qualify for a place in the final in Zurich, where all 32 Diamond League champions will be crowned in a two-day season finale.
Seven finals will take place as street events on September 8, with the remaining events held in the Letzigrund Stadium as part of a three-hour world feed programme on the following day.
In addition, a new format called ‘The Final 3’ has been announced for the long jump, triple jump, shot put, javelin and discus, with a qualifying round followed by a final to be introduced.
That will see the three athletes with the longest jumps and throws in the qualifying rounds come together in a final where all previous results will be cleared as they compete for first, second and third place.
World Athletics says it has been introduced “to better promote the field events in an action-packed two-hour schedule and give them their own stand-alone moments of focus and drama”.
A statement from The Athletics Association said: “While we may disagree fundamentally, we respect the intention of the Diamond League and World Athletics to showcase a format that they believe is for the good of the horizontal jumps and throws. We also appreciate the confirmation that ‘Final Three’ will be reviewed at the end of the season and evaluated against an agreed set of criteria, after which a decision will be taken about inclusion in the 2022 series.”
A new award for the “best performing athletes” across five discipline groups has also been announced for the 2021 Diamond League series.
“A $500,000 bonus pot has been set aside for “best performing athletes” – those who deliver consistent, high-level performances throughout the season,” said World Athletics. “There will be 10 award winners in total – one male and one female athlete respectively in the sprints, hurdles, distance events, jumps and throws.
“In total $7 million in prize money will be awarded in the course of the Wanda Diamond League season 2021.”
Chairman of the Diamond League Association and president of World Athletics, Sebastian Coe, said: “This has been a frustrating year for the athletes, meeting directors, broadcasters, sponsors and of course fans. We have managed to host eight WDL meetings this year in one form or another and I would like to thank the meeting organisers and our athletes for believing, hosting and competing.
“We have also used this time to bring together the meeting organisers, broadcasters, athletes and managers to openly discuss issues, share ideas to grow the WDL and understand more about the pressures each group faces. I would like to thank my colleagues on the WDL Board for driving these discussions and all our broadcasters, organisers, managers and particularly our athletes for being candid and innovative and giving us their time. The process has helped remind all of us about why the WDL is so special and I am confident this will shine through to the fans in this coming season.”