The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) on Thursday came under sharp criticism after it announced new changes to the 2020 Diamond League calendar.
The IAAF said in a statement on Wednesday that the steeplechase, along with the 200m, will be held at selected meetings – including Oslo, Rome, and Doha - but outside the 90-minute broadcast window.
But the two events will not be part of races culminating in an end-of-year final that earns athletes a tidy sum of money, and removing them from the live broadcast will effectively reduce their appeal.
Olympic and World 3,000m steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto hit out at the decision saying they not derail them but rather inspire them to perform better.
World 3,000m steeplechase silver medallist Emma Coburn from the United States expressed her disappointment saying cutting events isn’t the solution for exciting television show.
“Sports is about show, drama and emotion. The last few seasons steeple has offered plenty of that,” said Kipruto on his Facebook page where he posted photos and video clips of him winning the World title in Doha and Diamond League final in Zurich without one shoe.
“Who can't remember my one shoe DL-victory and closest winning margin of the recent Doha World Championships?” posed Kipruto adding that the event had shown its diversity with five nationalities winning medals in the last two World Championships.
Kipruto said it’s a pity they are told to watch the Diamond League final at home without steeplechase on the cards. “But trust me that together with my colleagues we will use the opportunities still given by the Diamond League and Continental Tour to keep on entertaining you!,” said Kipruto.
“Don’t blame athletes and events,” said Coburn, the 2017 London World champion tweeted. “We compete and put on a show. Racing is exciting and compelling. It’s on you to translate that,” Coburn told the IAAF and Diamond League organisers. “I guess our efforts and contributions in racing and promoting the DL mean nothing.”
World women’s steeplechase record holder Beatrice Chepkoech told Nation Sport Wednesday she was stunned by the latest development, arguing that the move would “kill careers.”
“This is killing careers for athletes who had specialised in the event,” the freshly-minted world champion from last month’s IAAF World Championships in Doha told Nation Sport.
“But for me, I can still switch to 1,500m and 3,000m flat and I can still do well. I can also run in the 10-kilometre road race,” added Chepkoech, who set a new world steeplechase record at eight minutes, 44.32 seconds at last year’s IAAF Diamond League meeting in Monaco.