Diamond League Plans to Exclude Hammer Throwers

The world’s largest one-day meetings will undergo a huge reorganization next year. Currently, the top professional circuit is the Golden League, a six meeting series offering winners of certain events at all meetings a share of a $1,000,000 jackpot. The Golden League will be disbanded next season and replaced with the Diamond League, a larger, more international circuit of 14 meetings in Europe, America and Asia. Each meeting will have prize money of $416,000 and all 32 disciplines will have the same prize money. In addition, points can be accumulated at each meeting throughout the season. The athlete with the most points at the end of the series will be awarded a 4 carat diamond (worth approximately $80,000).

iaaf-diamond-leagueThis new plan offers great global exposure for our sport and more money making opportunities for elite athletes. However, the new league will include every event except one: the hammer throw. The IAAF has cited “infrastructure reasons” as the explanation for why the hammer throw is excluded.  The IAAF and its President Lamine Diack ensured “that a Hammer Throw challenge will be created.”  However, a recent e-mail exchange with IAAF spokeswoman Anne-Marie Garrigan indicated that a seperate hammer throw series will not be created.  Instead, the hammer throw will be included in a second level of international meetings that will replace the current IAAF Grand Prix circuit.  Garrigan said, “During its last meeting in August 2009, the IAAF Council approved, in principle, the regulations for this new circuit which would include the Hammer Throw in its competition programme.”  A separate jackpot may still be created for the hammer throw, but no one will know for sure until details are released this Autumn.

This exclusion of the hammer throw from the Diamond League will harm the sport’s future.  First, it perpetuates the myth that the hammer throw cannot be staged as part of a normal competition.  Officials cite “infrastructure reasons” such as facilities and safety as the main reason for this.  Yet this is hard to believe when every major championship manages to hold the hammer throw concurrently with other events without any issues.  The only major injury at a high level meet in recent years was not from the hammer, but from the javelin, an event that is often included in the Golden League.  Granted, facilities like Monaco (built on top of a parking structure) may have valid infrastructure concerns, but others like Doha, Eugene, and New York have all hosted the hammer throw in recent years without any problems.

Second, and most importantly, the exclusion of the hammer throw marginalizes the event.  The new plans may actually allow hammer throwers to earn more next season (details are forthcoming about the structure of the series).  In the long run, however, it decreases the exposure of the sport and can only hurt athletes in their attempts to gain publicity and sponsors.  Under the current Golden League format, meet directors can add non-jackpot events at their discretion.  However, the Diamond League will not offer directors such discretion.  According to Garrigan, “none of the meetings part of the league shall stage this event.”  Among other consequences, this likely means no more international hammer competitions at meets like the Pre Classic, America’s top track and field competition.

We can only wait and see how things play out as more details are released and the league matures over the coming years.  The IAAF World Athletics Final similarly marginalized the hammer throw for its first three years.  Rather than being held in Monaco with the rest of the competition, the hammer was held a week earlier in Hungary.  Since 2006, however, the hammer throw has once again become part of the main competition.  I hope a similar change takes place with the Diamond League or an alternate plan is adopted before the league even begins.

17 replies
  1. Mac Wilkins
    Mac Wilkins says:

    Its a business not a sport. We lose. We should be in football. That was our first mistake. But yes, we need a union.
    Rhythmic gymnastics and synchronized swimming and tennis in the Olympic Games? Its a business more than sport. But I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know.

    Hey-when are you coming to the Throw Center?

    • Martin
      Martin says:

      Mac-I actually stopped by the center to check it out when driving down to Northern California a few weeks ago. It looks great! Nice job … it’s truly an asset to the throws community. I’ll be down there for some meets if you continue to have them next year.

  2. Libor Charfreitag
    Libor Charfreitag says:

    hey guys,
    we have known about the hammer throw being discriminated from the diamond league for a long time. mr. diack is a big liar. he promised that the diamond league will be an opportunity for EVERY athlete in EVERY event to earn living, respect and publicity. well, how?
    we the hammer throwers are actually trying to fight this decision, it is a work in progress. their arguments about ‘infrastructure reasons’ couldn’t be more lame! they have staged hammer throw in most of the cities before where diamond league will take place.

    the IAAF is so pathetic when it comes to this issue! the main reason is that one or two people at the IAAF have claimed that hammer throw is not an attractive event. i don’t want to name anyone now. how come? you could see the women’s world record at every meet possibly! how is that not interesting?

    it is sad to see what IAAF is doing. and even more sad because they won’t give you any answers. they won’t even listen to you!!!!

    it is pathetic!!!


    • Martin
      Martin says:

      From what I was told, the decision is final regarding the Diamond League, but they are still in the process of finalizing the secondary league (which would include the hammer “in principle” according to the IAAF spokesperson). Libor – if there is any effort going on, let us know so we can at least let them know that there is some opposition. While it won’t likely have an impact, it can’t hurt.

  3. Michael Roth
    Michael Roth says:


    Let’s get creative and join the under appreciated events together into our own little business (Hammer, Discus, Triple Jump, Steeplechase & Race Walk) and make sure that these athletes are taken care of, at least in the US. Use the model that was built around the Decathlon & Women’s PV. Get a sponsor to fund these events as a package and put on competitions all at the same location. Let’s take advantage of our small communities and build them into one larger one w/ market strength. We do that & we get to call our own shots and to hell w/ the IAAF elite meets (which don’t show our events in their broadcasts anyway).


  4. tomsonite
    tomsonite says:

    Hey Martin, are you in contact with people at the IAAF? Is it possible to start some kind of petition to get the hammer included in the diamond league meets, at least at the facilities that can have it/have had it before?
    Building on what Michael Roth said, it also may help to see if we can get some big name athletes who AREN’T hammer throwers to try to support the hammer being fully included in the Diamond League.

    • Martin
      Martin says:

      I’m not in contact with anyone at the IAAF. There is amazingly little contact information on their website and it took me six weeks to get a one paragraph not-so-informative reply to my first set of questions. From what I understand, the decisions aren’t final yet. I am sure they are well aware of our position, but it never hurts to remind them how many of us there if anyone can find some better contact information.

  5. uz
    uz says:

    While seeing the discussion, there is a petition signed by many athletes and forwarded to DL General Assembly.They will include the topic one more time on ther agenda.
    So, we are not waiting we are in the action.
    I belive that we will soceed.

  6. Libor Charfreitag
    Libor Charfreitag says:


    there has been a petition created by Koji Murofushi, Primoz Kozmus and Ivana Brkljacic at the IAAF World Athletics Final in Thessaloniki, Greece. This petition has been signed by many athlete’s representatives (agents, managers), meet organizers, former coaches as well as many athletes among which are Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell, Yelena Isinbayeva, Tomasz Majewski, Blanka Vlasic…..just to name a few. This petition has been forwarded to all Diamond League meet organizers. The executive body for the Diamond League is not just the IAAF. Unfortunately the executive board of the Diamond League is mainly composed of meet directors, sponsors and others while the IAAF only represents about 20% of the board.
    So it won’t be easy. But wheels are in motion and IAAF should be discussing this issue at their november meeting.
    So we will all keep our fingers crossed.



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