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Page last updated at 13:59 GMT, Tuesday, 16 June 2009 14:59 UK

Britain to host two Diamond meets

Usain Bolt
Bolt could prove a huge draw with global audiences

Britain is to stage two of the 14 meetings in the new Diamond League.

Gateshead and London will host events in 2010, with the new-look Golden League covering Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the United States.

Doha and Rome have been added to the fixture list, which will include four of the current Golden League meets - Brussels, Zurich, Oslo and Paris.

But there is no place for Berlin, which plays host to this year's World Athletics Championships.

The last season of the Golden League opened last Sunday, with 60,000 people in Berlin, but the event organisers were unable to guarantee future live television coverage or meet the financial requirements.

The official Diamond League launch will take place on the penultimate day of the World Championships on 22 August.

Facing fierce competition from other sports, as well as the added burdens of the current economic conditions, world governing body the IAAF is desperate to appeal to new audiences and expand outside Europe.

Currently many elite athletes clash only a limited number of times a year.

The new league will see the sport's biggest stars, such as Olympic champions Usain Bolt and pole vaulter Yelena Isinabyeva, engaged with central contracts and asked to commit to appearing at a minimum number of events.


The Aviva London Grand Prix on 13 and 14 August could also go some way to solving legacy plans for London's 2012 stadium, which has been hit with rising costs and failed to entice football and rugby clubs to move in afterwards.

Up until 2012 the London venue will be Crystal Palace but after the London Games, Diamond League organisers could be keen to secure a more modern arena with the east London stadium an obvious candidate.

When the formation of the Diamond League was announced in March, UKA chief executive Niels de Vos said: "I am personally hugely excited by this. This gives athletics a truly global annual showcase, that will have editorial relevance from May right through to September.

"From a British perspective, we are going to be at the heart of the Diamond League with the Aviva London Grand Prix and Aviva British Grand Prix.

"For our athletes it will provide great opportunities to compete in regular top flight competition as we build towards the London Olympics in 2012."

Other innovations in the new league will see athletes from 32 different events taking part, with all disciplines having equal prize money. Each meeting will have prize money of $416,000 (£250,000).

Christine Ohuruogu
Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu would be another star attraction

There will also be a IAAF 'Diamond Race' in each event, with points available throughout the season.

The athlete with the most points at the end of the series will be awarded a four-carat diamond worth around $80,000 (£49,000).

IAAF vice-president Diack said: "I am delighted that the IAAF has come up with a new professional circuit which will offer an easily understandable series of meetings to provide world-class entertainment and also offer the maximum number of competition opportunities for a maximum number of athletes in different events.

"We will be able to offer top class events that are based on solid financial foundations, provide the best organisational capability and serve to promote and develop the sport of athletics."

Diamond League 2010

14 May - Doha, Qatar

23 May - Shanghai, China

4 June - Oslo, Norway

10 June - Rome

19 June - New York

3 July - Eugene, USA

8 July - Lausanne, Switzerland

11 July - Gateshead

16 July - Paris

22 July - Monaco

6 Aug - Stockholm, Sweden

13 and 14 Aug - London

19 Aug - Zürich, Switzerland

27 Aug - Brussels, Belgium

see also
Bolt runs off with Laureus award
10 Jun 09 |  Sport Homepage
Bolt wins season opener in style
15 Feb 09 |  Athletics
Sprinter Bolt wins Overseas award
14 Dec 08 |  Sports Personality
Athletics plans 'Twenty20' format
19 Feb 09 |  Athletics
Wada stands defiant in doping row
17 Feb 09 |  Sport Homepage
Athletics on the BBC
21 Apr 11 |  Athletics
Contact the London Marathon team
08 Apr 08 |  Athletics

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