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Legend Gebrselassie lashes out at IAAF over Diamond League changes1 minute read

It is a sad decision that will disproportionately affect Ethiopia and Kenya, as well as East Africa as a whole,

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Retired Ethiopian long-distance track and road running athlete Haile Gebrselassie (Photo by Money SHARMA / AFP)

Long distance legend Haile Gebrselassie has slammed the decision of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to limit the longest event in the Diamond League circuit to 3,000 metres.

The Ethiopian believes this will “disproportionately affect” Ethiopia and Kenya, two powerhouses of middle and long-distance events.

The 5,000m race is among events that have been scrapped after the IAAF made some sweeping changes in the Diamond League starting next year at its Council meeting in Doha on Monday.

“It is a sad decision that will disproportionately affect Ethiopia and Kenya, as well as East Africa as a whole,” Gebrselassie said.

“Some Asian countries have also been making strides in middle- and long-distance. At a time when the body needed to exert its maximum effort to boost athletics worldwide, it has taken a decision that is tragic and unfair.” The Diamond League celebrates its 10th season in May and currently features nine races for men and women, including the 3,000m steeplechase, 5,000m, and seven field events – high jump, pole vault, long jump, triple jump, shot put, discus and javelin.

East Africa Sports News

African Stars Set For Doha Leg of Diamond League

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The names of some of Africa’s finest track and field stars were conspicuous when the provisional entry lists for the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Doha on 25 September were released.

Timothy Cheruiyot, Hellen Obiri and Marie-Josée Ta Lou are among the star-studded cast of world and Olympic medallists that will grace the track at Doha’s Qatar Sports Club in the final Wanda Diamond League meeting of the season.

Kenya’s world 1500m champion Cheruiyot won the 1500 m Diamond League on three occasions: in 2017, 2018 and 2019. He has been in excellent form this season, setting a world lead of 3:28.45 in Monaco and winning in Stockholm last month in 3:30.25.

Cheruiyot will face a stern test in the 800m from Ferguson Rotich, Wycliffe Kinyamal alongside Erik Sowinski of the United States of America and Giles Elliot of Great Britain.

Cheruiyot’s Kenyan compatriot Olympic 1,500m champion Faith Kipyegon will be chasing her fourth victory in the Diamond League Series when she lines up in the 800m race.

Kipyegon has three race victories under her belt in the shortened Diamond League circuit having won the 1,000 m race in Monaco (2:29.32) and Brussels (2:29.92) last month before returning to her 1,500m favourite in Ostrava this month and winning in 3:59.05.

For the two-lap race in the Qatari capital, Kipyegon will face off with former 800m champion Eunice Sum and compatriot Emily Cherotich. Competition will also come from Uganda’s Winnie Nanyondo, Ethiopia’s Alemu Habitam and Angelika Cichocka of Poland.

On her part, Ivory Coast’s multiple World Championships medallist Marie-Josée Ta Lou will go head to head with double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica and Olympic silver medallist Dafne Schippers of The Netherlands in a strong women’s 100m field.

“In spite of incredibly challenging circumstances, I’m proud of the fantastic fields we’ve put together for this event,” says Khalid Al Marri, Wanda Doha Diamond League meeting director.

“It’s been a tough summer for everyone, yet we’ve witnessed some exceptional track and field performances. I’m confident that in Doha, the fourth and final competitive meeting of this shortened 2020 Wanda Diamond League series, we’ll provide a fitting finale.”

Doha’s Qatar Sports Club will host the revised 12-event programme for the Wanda Doha Diamond League which includes sprint hurdles and 800m for both men and women; 100m, 3000m and long jump for women; and 200m, 400m, 1500m and pole vault for men.

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Uganda To Miss Four Foreign-Based Players For AFCON Qualifier

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The Cranes of Uganda coach Johnathan McKinstry has revealed that his side will be without four foreign-based players when they face South Sudan in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier in November.

McKinstry revealed that the travel restrictions experienced in various countries because of the coronavirus pandemic will be the reason he will not have some players for the double-header against South Sudan.

“We have already highlighted the travel restrictions in place and four of our foreign-based players are likely not to join us,” McKinstry said.

“The squad will be 70% composed of foreign-based players with the rest coming from the local league. But like I said, with travel restrictions when we fail to get some, there must be other options especially from our league. Equally, this in the long run will definitely help our local legion as we plan for Chan.”

The Cranes coach also stated that he will stick with the squad he named before the coronavirus outbreak.

“Definitely, we still have them in our considerations and it will depend on their availability.

“But the situation in March is not the situation now. For example, we did not call Farouk Miya in March because he was out injured but he came back strong and ended the season well with his club in Turkey and he has also started the new season with them. You look at players like Derrick [Nsibambi] in Egypt. It is very important that they are getting playing time week in week out.”

McKinstry stated how impressed he was with the performance of his players in their various clubs in Europe.

“We always tell our players that when they go outside, they have gone to compete at the highest level,” McKinstry continued: “Obviously, it takes time to settle in a new environment like it was the case with Miya in Belgium but he showed commitment and is now doing well.

“When you look at 10 years ago, we only had a few players commanding playing time but that has over the years changed and it is very pleasing that we see many of them playing regularly.”

The Cranes of Uganda will have to play a lot of games in a short period of time as they will prepare for their AFCON qualifiers, World Cup qualifiers, and are set to participate in the African Nations Championship (CHAN) tournament to be hosted by Cameroon.

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Uganda Pair Set To Storm World Athletics Half Marathon Championships

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Uganda has included world 10,000m champion Joshua Cheptegei and world 3000m leader Jacob Kiplimo among the athletes selected to the country at the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships Gdynia 2020 on 17 October.

Cheptegei, the world cross-country champion, broke the world 5000m record at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Monaco last month with 12:35.36.

Over the last 12 month, the 23-year-old has also won gold at the World Cross Country Championships in Aarhus, Denmark; the 5000m at the Diamond League final in Zurich; the 10,000m at the World Athletics Championships in Doha and closed 2019 by setting a world 10km record of 26:38 on the road in Valencia.

He has now set his sights on breaking the 10,000m record on 7 October before heading to Poland.

On his part, Kiplimo has had a sensational 2020 so far. The 19-year-old won the 5000m at the World Athletics Continental Tour meeting in Ostrava with a PB of 12:48.63 and then went on to triumph over 3000m at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Rome in a world-leading 7:26.64, breaking the Ugandan record and becoming the fastest teenager in history for the distance.

Given their exploits on the track in recent months, Cheptegei and Kiplimo will be among the medal favourites when they take to the start line in Gdynia – despite the fact that both men will be making their half-marathon debut.

They are joined on the team by 2009 world U20 cross-country bronze medallist Moses Kibet, Stephen Kissa and Abel Chebet.

Juliet Chekwel, who holds the Ugandan records for 10,000m (31:37.99), half marathon (1:09:45) and the marathon (2:23:13), leads the women’s team.

Doreen Chemutai, Doreen Chesang, Rachael Zena Chebet make up the rest of the Ugandan women’s roster.

The 2020 World Athletics Half Marathon Championships, originally scheduled for 29 March 2020 in Gdynia, Poland, was postponed until 17 October 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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