Ato Boldon is strongly opposed to the new World Athletics (formerly IAAF) Diamond League format. The 2020 Diamond League Final in Zurich, Switzerland will not feature the 200 metres, discus, triple jump and 3,000m steeplechase.
While each of the four disciplines will be contested at different points during the 14-meet regular season, the athletes will not have the incentive of Diamond League Final prize money. Trinidad and Tobago’s 200-metre specialist Jereem Richards is one of the athletes who will be affected.
In a press release, last month, World Athletics said it was “working with Rights Holding and Host Broadcasters on a faster paced 90-minute television event that will link the events and the athletes’ points so fans can more easily follow the road to a single final at the end of the season.”
Boldon, who captured the men’s 200m title at the 1997 World Championships in Athens, Greece, told the Express that cutting the broadcast time for Diamond League meets was not necessary.
“A good two-hour broadcast of a track meet is like a good two-hour movie. You don’t even notice it. Work on improving the quality of what you already have, not shortening the length of the meet to 90 minutes. I have no idea what they are doing, but I am sure it will not achieve the desired results.
“As a broadcaster of track meets, for 15 years,” the retired Trinidad and Tobago track star continued, “I know that the quality of a meet is much more important than the quantity of it.”
American Christian Taylor is a major casualty of the new Diamond League format. Following the changes, the two-time Olympic men’s triple jump champion and quadruple World Championship gold medallist launched the Athletics Association in an attempt to give athletes more say in the running of their sport.
“Christian is very well-liked and well-respected across the sport,” said Boldon, “so anything he champions will be given a second look by many.
“No matter what happens,” T&T’s quadruple Olympic medallist continued, “the deleted events for Diamond League won’t be there in 2020, but if the protests are effective enough, maybe in 2021 one or two events come back. In almost 30 years, I have never seen the IAAF (World Athletics) more despised than they are now.”