Athletics: IAAF takes Golden decision

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The Independent Online
EACH OF the International Amateur Athletic Federation's elite Golden League track and field meetings next year will be held on Wednesday nights, to make the competition easier to package for television.

The IAAF yesterday announced its schedule of 42 outdoor meets for 1999, including the World Championships in Seville, Spain, from 20-29 August. The showcase Golden League, which was introduced last season, will hold meets in the same six European cities - with the possible addition of Paris.

The series opens in Oslo on 30 June, followed by Rome ( 7 July), Monte Carlo (4 August), Zurich (11 August), Brussels (1 September) and Berlin (8 September). The Grand Prix meet in Paris on 21 July could also be added to the Golden League in the next few days.

The venue for the IAAF Grand Prix final on 11 September still has not been selected, although Cologne is considered the favourite. The IAAF president, Primo Nebiolo, has said he hopes to add meets in England and possibly the United States in the future.

The decision to stage each of the meetings on Wednesdays is the newest innovation and a spokesman said: "This was not so easy. Some meets prefer to be on Friday or Saturday. But, in the end, all the organisers accepted Wednesday to give consistency to the series. The goal is to give the best package to television."

Just as last year, a $1m [pounds 595,000] jackpot is on offer for any athlete or athletes going undefeated through the entire Golden League season. The jackpot was shared last season by the American sprinter Marion Jones and the distance runners Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco and Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia.

Schedule, Digest, page 31