Press Trust of India
“No athlete would prefer to compete without spectators”, World Athletics boss Sebastian Coe said on Friday but left it on organisers to decide whether to let in fans or keep them out when the sport resumes in August. The WA on Tuesday announced the commencement of Diamond League one-day meetings from August 14 in Monaco, pushed from the original May start in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic. It earlier froze Olympic qualifying period till the end of November due to the health crisis.
“No athlete would prefer to compete without spectators. They will want to compete in front of fans in stadia. But some cities may just bring the athletes and do not want to have large crowds. We have to respect both (organisers and athletes),” Coe said in a video conference with select Indian journalists.
He said the organisers of the prestigious 12-legged Diamond League meetings will decide the number of events and safety guidelines to be followed according to the local conditions. Coe said WA is not going to issue a Standard Operating Procedure for the Diamond League meet organisers.
“We have left it to them to how best manage and provide safety of the athletes and spectators in the best possible way they can under local situations. Of course, we will seek the best practices and keep in touch with the event directors,” he said. “The organisers of each meeting will decide on the number of events, which event will be held and which one to be excluded two months before the event,” he said.
He also said the sport will not be the same for the next few months at least. “We think we can find a way (to hold events) and track and field may not be identical as traditional one in the next few months but we are confident we will see through this crisis,” he said without getting into the specifics.
“We are hoping to give all the athletes equal competition opportunities by the end of this year and then go for the Olympics next year.”
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