Rabat gets nod to host IAAF Diamond League circuit

Thursday March 3 2016

Kenyan athlete Asbel Kiprop poses after winning the 1500m men event during the IAAF Diamond League Herculis Athletics meeting at the Louis II stadium on July 17, 2015 in Monaco. PHOTO | VALERY HACHE |

Kenyan athlete Asbel Kiprop poses after winning the 1500m men event during the IAAF Diamond League Herculis Athletics meeting at the Louis II stadium on July 17, 2015 in Monaco. PHOTO | VALERY HACHE |  AFP

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PARIS

New York has pulled out of the elite athletics Diamond League circuit and has been replaced by Moroccan capital Rabat, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)announced Thursday.

The director of the New York meet Mark Wetmore revealed his aim was to continue outside the Diamond League with an event more at grass roots street level.

"It's been a great run on Randall's Island, New York, and now we're looking ahead to producing a new event. We believe that changing our focus to a street meet is one way to make the event attractive to a younger audience," Wetmore said.

IAAF president Sebastian Coe took the loss on the chin.

"We thank New York for contributing to this great project during the past six seasons and know that they will continue to support athletics in the future," he said.

Despite the loss of New York the burgeoning expansion of the Diamond League athletics showcase event has included Rabat as the 14th city, thereby adding a fourth continent, Africa, to its annual itinerary.

"We are pleased to be able to take our premier athletics series into a new continental area," said Coe.

"We proudly welcome the inclusion of Rabat."

The Moroccan capital is staging its meet on May 22, the third stop on the road after Doha and Shanghai.

"This is a proud moment for our country's athletics community and for the international reputation of Moroccan sport in general," said meeting director Abdeslam Ahizoune.

The competition took over from the Europe based Golden League in 2010 and features a mixture of 16 races and competitions on track and field for men and women and each discipline has a season's end champion.

Broadcast annually in more than 120 countries, the series provides athletics with its next most prominent global shop window after the Olympic Games and the world championships.

The 14 Diamond League meetings:

May 6: Doha

May 14: Shanghai

May 22: Rabat

May 28: Eugene

June 2: Rome

June 5: Birmingham

June 9: Oslo

June 16: Stockholm

July 15: Monaco

July 22-23: London

Aug 25: Lausanne

Aug 27: Paris

Sept 1: Zurich Finals

Sept 9: Brussels Finals