Sun, Jul 21, 2019 - Page 11 News List

Taylor fears for triple jump as league changes


Christian Taylor competes in the men’s triple jump at the Doha Diamond League meet on May 4 last year.

Photo: Reuters

As athletics’ Diamond League prepares to create a trimmer look for next year, Christian Taylor worries about the future of the event in which he has won five gold medals.

Speculation is rife that the men’s triple jump is one of eight events that could be cut from the global circuit, the double Olympic and three-time world champion said.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said that no decision has been made on which 24 disciplines would be part of next year’s Diamond League and none would be made until after this season.

However, Taylor, who owns the second-longest triple jump ever and was to compete in London yesterday, is worried.

He has already seen Diamond League opportunities for jumpers and throwers cut from seven to five meetings per season.

“Financially, it is huge,” the American said via telephone from Vienna of the possible elimination of the triple jump. “This is the biggest-paying series in our sport. It would be a very large hit if you weren’t able to compete in that.”

So large that retirement might come early if he were unable to make a living in other events such as the 400m, which he has tried in non-championship years, the 29-year-old said.

The quality of the jumps could also suffer, Taylor said.

“All of the jumpers would be scattered everywhere just to make a living, but also to compete,” he said. “That takes away that little edge.”

Taylor did not necessarily blame Diamond League meeting directors for the possible move, although he has already missed one meeting because he could not come to a financial agreement.

“A lot of times I think this just reflects the times,” he said. “If they say they cannot pay you what we did two years ago, well maybe they actually did lose a sponsor.”

The IAAF has said it wanted to create a Diamond League program that would fit in a 90-minute broadcast window.

It in March announced that from next year, the 3,000m would be the longest track event in the official televised program.

However, individual meetings could still include any event they desire on a wider program, outside the televised window.

The format would be reviewed at the end of each season and Taylor would like to know more.

“If the triple jump is out, don’t just tell me that it is out,” he said. “[Tell me:] ‘Hey, the reason we have made this decision based on A, B and C.’ If this is what it is, I can say: ‘Hey, thanks for trying... Now I can go and execute another plan.’”

To help athletes better understand the changing world of athletics, the IAAF is continuing a series of athletes’ forums where all subjects can be discussed.

Taylor said he planned to attend one yesterday in London.

“Whether they go through with it or not, it [dropping the triple jump] is something that is going to be on the back of all the jumpers’ minds going forward and that is not an easy position to be in,” he said.

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