On Sunday evening, the IAAF announced a new Olympic qualification system that has runners up in arms. Following that announcement, they’ve continued their roll-out of changes for 2020 by announcing that starting in 2020, the Diamond League will no longer include the 5,000m race on the circuit. 

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A Monday press release from Sebastian Coe and the IAAF said, “I want to thank the Working Group, jointly chaired by Jon Ridgeon and Christoph Joho, the Diamond League Board and all the meeting directors for the work they have put in over the last year to take stock of all that we have achieved over the last 10 years and share new innovative ideas to evolve this elite circuit of quality events that attract the best athletes which in turn gives our fans a compelling reason to tune in and follow their stars over the next decade and beyond.” The press release doesn’t directly address cutting the 5,000m, but rather states that the 3,000m will now be the longest distance on the circuit. 

The IAAF references a faster-paced broadcast schedule, which is likely the reason for eliminating the 5,000m, which can eat up a decent chunk of time, roughly 13 minutes for the men and 15 minutes for the women.

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Mohammed Ahmed
Ahmed setting the then-5,000m record at the Brussels Diamond League. Photo: Photorun.net

Eliminating the 5,000m presents an issue for distance specialists on the track. The new IAAF world ranking system attributes points to runners’ performances based on time, but also the competition level of their race. The Diamond League is one of the most competitive race series in the world, so for a 5,000m or 10,000m runner, the points that they could have accumulated from the circuit would have been hugely beneficial to their world rank. 

While the 3,000m is not a national championship or Olympic event, it will likely become the event of choice for distance runners looking to get into Diamond League races.

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