Olympic and world triple jump champion calls for change and a greater athlete voice in wake of Diamond League changes

Christian Taylor has launched The Athletics Association – a new union which aims to give elite track and field athletes greater say in the future of the sport.

The American two-time Olympic and four-time world triple jump champion released a manifesto on Thursday following the recently-announced changes to the Diamond League series, which will see the triple jump – along with the 200m, 3000m steeplechase and discus – being controversially cut from the Diamond League Final next year.

Britain’s world sprint champion Dina Asher-Smith is among those to have voiced support for the new association, which Taylor says will “fight for athletes’ rights”.

In a statement posted on social media, Taylor said: “It’s time for real change. I refuse to sit back any longer.” He also encouraged athletes to register interest via email and follow the movement’s social media channels.

“I am incredibly disappointed that the IAAF/World Athletics and the Diamond League have decided to remove more events from the programme for 2020,” Taylor wrote. “Our sport is about unity and diversity and separating the events can only damage this sport we all love.

“For some time now I have been in discussion with other elite track and field athletes and we have been talking about how we can have a greater say in the future of our sport.

“Today I am announcing the formation of The Athletics Association – an association for all professional track and field athletes around the world.

“We will fight for athletes’ rights and ultimately demand a seat at the table and a say in how our sport is run and how the sport can grow and evolve without ripping out its very core. At the moment we, the athletes, have no power. Yes there is an Athletes’ Commission but we need something independent of the IAAF/World Athletics.”

He signed the manifesto, listing his achievements including being a seven-time Diamond League champion – a tally he will be unable to add to in 2020.

Following release of the statement, world 200m champion Asher-Smith replied: “You know you always have my support!! Let’s do this.”

Six new members were elected to the IAAF Athletes’ Commission in Doha recently, including France’s world pole vault record-holder Renaud Lavillenie and New Zealand’s two-time Olympic shot put gold medallist Valerie Adams.

Two members of the Athletes’ Commission – one male and one female – currently hold voting positions on the IAAF Council.

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