Monday, 25 October 2021

Athletics World Cup set for London lift-off

starting block in track and field

LONDON: The inaugural Athletics World Cup will be staged in London this weekend with the IAAF and British organisers hoping the concept will find a permanent slot in the calendar, despite clashing with other major sports events.

The competition comes from the stated drive of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president Sebastian Coe to attract new audiences with fresh ideas, utilising a format which provides non-stop action.

There will be eight competing nations, with one entrant per team in every male and female track and field event up to the 1500 metres.

Points tallied up at the close of two days at the London Stadium will determine which country lifts the platinum winners’ trophy.

Great Britain, the United States, Jamaica, South Africa, China, Germany, France and Poland all qualified as the top eight in the medal standings at the 2017 IAAF world championships, also in London, and will share the $2 million (£1.42m) prize fund.

“Each event is going to be filled with high-level athletes and high-level competition,” USA shot putter Darrell Hill said.

“It won’t be super-long and drawn out. So it will be short and quick and very elite. That’s probably the best format, so that it’s not over-flowing.”

And yet some argue the clash of dates with Sunday’s football World Cup final in Moscow, and the concluding day nearby of the Wimbledon tennis tournament, has left the new competition toiling to gain traction out of the starting blocks.

As has the absence of a number of leading performers, including the current top three in the men’s 100 metres world rankings, Americans Noah Lyles, Ronnie Baker and Michael Rodgers, and British favourites Dina Asher-Smith and Laura Muir, with Germany and China also fielding weakened teams.

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