World 5,000 metres champion Hellen Obiri and World 3,000m steeplechase champion Beatrice Chepkoech have welcomed the return of their races in the Diamond League circuit for 2021.
And Africa’s Athletes Association representative Julius Yego also hailed the move by World Athletics, which was announced in a statement Friday.
“I am elated, and inspired to be in good shape now more than ever before. It’s my desire to win the Olympics title and perhaps lower the world record again,” said Chepkoech, who also the world record holder of 8:44.32.
Obiri said: “This is great news as we up our preparations for the new 2021 season. We now have a platform to gauge our strength and our rivals’ ability ahead of the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games.”
“Athletics is now back to where it was,” said Yego, who is the 2015 world javelin champion and the 2016 Rio Olympics silver medallist.
“We are still in consultation with Diamond League organisers to have more events in the circuit. For now we are satisfied,” said Yego.
Athletics Kenya has also hailed the move, saying the World Athletics has listened to athletes’ desires.
“Athletics Kenya chief administrative officer Susan Kamau said they are happy. “We have just started our 2020/2021 season and this is good news. Our athletes have desired for this to happen. I am confident that they will prepare for both events well,” said Kamau.
Also reinstated in the Diamond League are the 200m, triple jump and discus that were removed from the series in 2019 beginning the 2020 season.
This was met by strong resistance from athletes and athletics federations across the world.
As a result, the Athletes Association headed by Olympic triple jump champion Christian Taylor was formed as a tool for the voice of the athletes. Yego was appointed Africa chapter representative. Taylor lauded the decision.
In a statement on Friday, World Athletics indicated that if the global health situation allows, the Diamond League will return to a full competition of 32 disciplines format next year.
The world’s best athletes will fight it out over 13 meetings for a place in the final and a shot at the Diamond Trophy.
Changes to the competition include introduction of a new award for the “Best Performing Athletes” across five discipline groups.