Gateshead International Stadium during the 2013 European Athletics Team Championships (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News

Strong Wanda Diamond League season planned as athletes prepare for major championships

The Wanda Diamond League has announced that the 2021 series will now begin in Gateshead on 23 May following a few minor alterations to the season calendar.

The series opener was initially scheduled to be the Meeting International Mohammed VI in Rabat, Morocco, but that event has now been cancelled due to ongoing coronavirus restrictions.

The 2021 campaign will instead begin at the Gateshead International Stadium, which will host a Diamond League meeting for the first time since the series' inaugural year in 2010.

In further changes to the 2021 calendar, Rome’s Pietro Mennea Golden Gala will this year relocate to Florence, while Oslo’s Bislett Games will be postponed until July to comply with local coronavirus restrictions.

As Rome’s Stadio Olimpico is already a host venue for this summer’s European Championships in football, the meeting traditionally based in the Italian capital will instead be held at the Stadio Luigi Ridolfi in Florence. The date of this year's meeting will also be changed from 4 June to 10 June.

The Norwegian Government announced a four-step plan for reopening last week including the suspension of major cultural and sporting events until mid-June, which means that the second Wanda Diamond League meeting in Europe must be postponed from 10 June and will now take place on 1 July.

The new date positions the Oslo meeting just three days before Stockholm’s BAUHAUS Galan on 4 July, allowing athletes competing in both meetings to minimise travel around the Scandinavian events.

Diamond League chair, Sebastian Coe, said: “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. 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.

“We are all working hard, in extraordinarily difficult and fast changing circumstances, to deliver events for the athletes rather than cancelling them. I would like to thank all our meeting organisers and the Diamond League Board for everything they are doing to deliver what is promising to be a strong and much needed programme of competition from April through to the final event in Zurich in September. Their passion for the sport and flexible and collaborative approach to the challenges should be applauded. Thank you!”

Unlike in 2020, this year’s Wanda Diamond League will be a full, structured series in which athletes compete for a place in the Final and a shot at the Diamond Trophy.

In the first 12 meetings, athletes will earn points in a bid to qualify for the Final in Zurich on 8 and 9 September, where they have the chance to be crowned Wanda Diamond League Champion in their chosen discipline.

The 2021 calendar remains subject to further changes depending on the global health situation in the coming months.

Given the continuing pandemic situation, particularly within Europe, the Diamond League Board continues to monitor all the meetings and is committed to finding alternative dates or venues wherever possible to ensure athletes have good competition options in the lead up to the Tokyo Olympic Games and afterwards in the build up to Wanda Diamond League Final in Zurich and next year’s World Athletics Championships in Oregon.

Wanda Diamond League