In November the IAAF (since renamed World Athletics) decided to remove the 200m and 3,000m steeplechase events from the 2020 final Diamond League final. This news came just a few months after the 5,000m was cut from the circuit. Today, the Diamond League announced that their distance moment of the decade, as voted by fans, was a steeplechase race.
That’s cool. Let’s drop the event. https://t.co/U2L3Zdim9x
— Joe (@JoeBosshard) December 23, 2019
In 2018, Conseslus Kipruto won the 3,000m steeplechase after losing one shoe. It was an extremely impressive race that came down to the final 10 metres. The one-shoed man beat out American record-holder Evan Jager, Moroccan national record-holder Soufiane El Bakkali and Canadian record-holder Matt Hughes for the win.
Kipruto’s race was impressive, but the fact that he won the race of the decade in an event that the league and World Athletics decided to cut is surprising. Joe Bosshard, coach and husband of American steeplechase star Emma Coburn, was quick to point out the irony.
Not only are the steeplechase and 200m exciting events to watch, but the athletes that run them are some of the most engaging in the league–Coburn and Noah Lyles, for example.
The 200m and steeplechase events will be included only at Oslo, Rome and Doha Diamond League meets, but not the final in Zurich. The changes are intended to accommodate a shorter broadcast window of 90 minutes, based on a consumer survey on which events fans most want to see.
IAAF President Sebastian Coe said of the decision, “Our objective is to create a faster-paced, more exciting global league that will be the showcase for our sport. A league that broadcasters want to show and fans want to watch. However, we understand the disappointment of those athletes in the disciplines not part of the 2020 Diamond League season.”