Rabat – The first IAAF Diamond League of the season, part of the annual series of elite track and field athletic competitions, has been moved from the Moroccan capital, Rabat, to northeast England.
The Rabat Diamond League was set to open the season on May 23, but due to COVID-19-related concerns, it will instead launch in Gateshead, England, according to a press release.
This will be the first time that Gateshead will host a Diamond League meeting since 2010 and an opportunity to host two Diamond League events in one year.
The event comes ahead of the postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympic games, which will begin on July 23, 2021, giving the athletes a chance to compete on home soil in preparation.
Other Diamond League events have also been moved to different dates or locations. Rome’s Pietro Mennea Golden Gala will relocate to Florence, while Oslo’s Bislett Games will take place on July 1 instead of June 10, to allow the event to comply with local coronavirus restrictions.
Diamond League Chair Sebastian Coe underlined that “This is an incredibly important year for our athletes as they prepare for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and less than a year later the World Athletics Championships Oregon22.”
Furthermore, “Competition and training are two very different things so the Wanda Diamond League and our other one-day meetings around the world will give athletes the opportunity to qualify for events, earn World Ranking points and prize money and benchmark their performances against the competition they will face in Tokyo and then Oregon in 2022,” concluded Coe.
The Rabat Diamond League replaced New York in 2016, making it the first league’s event to take place in Africa. The league first launched in 2009, and it features some of the best athletes competing across 32 individual track and field disciplines. Beside Africa, the first six competition seasons (2010-2015) took place in Asia, Europe, and North America.