The Diamond League is an annual series of elite track and field athletic competitions comprising fourteen of the best invitational athletics meetings. The series sits in the top tier of the World Athletics one-day meeting competitions. The inaugural season was in 2010. It was designed to replace the IAAF Golden League, which had been held annually since 1998. The full sponsorship name is the Wanda Diamond League. This is due to the result of an agreement with Wanda Group that was announced in December 2019. There are many athletes participating from Europe, North America, Asia and Africa. In the current edition (twenty-third) the caravan of the Diamond League starts from Doha (Qatar) and ends in Eugene (USA).
Over the years, the diamond league has undergone many changes. In March 2019 the president of the IAAF, Sebastian Coe, announced changes. These changes came into effect during the Diamond League’s format for the 2020 series. The number of Diamond Disciplines was reduced from 32 to 24 and a second Chinese meet was added to the calendar. The dual final format was replaced by a single final. Traditionally, the diamond league has been dominated mostly by three nations: the USA, Kenya and Jamaica. The United States has won 87 medals, while Kenya is in second place with 54 while Jamaica is third in the overall list with 24 medals. Diamond League events have been an important part of the World Athletics Calendar. Every year thousands of athletes take part in these competitions.
India in the Field of Athletics
India has not been the dominant powerhouse in the field of athletics. Despite its large population, few Indian athletes have won a medal in a global or major championship. This began to change in recent years. In come of the recent championships, India has done remarkably well in comparison to the previous events that it has participated in. This shows that Indians have started taking a greater interest in athletics. In addition to that, better and improved facilities for the sport began to be built at a local level. At a continental level, it has been among the more successful Asian nations, though some distance behind China and Japan.
India’s particular rise in the field of athletics can be ascribed to the rise of athletes like Neeraj Chopra, Avinash Sable, and Murali Sreeshankar. On the other hand, the baton of the women’s athletics challenge has been ably taken up by athletes like Hima Das and Annu Rai. Before the rise of the current generation of athletes, there were few who have taken on the mantle of athletics from India. We all know the contributions of PT Usha and late athlete Milkha Singh in the field of track and field. The initiation which these former athletes did is a boring fruit in the current generation which is firing away successfully in these athletics meets.
Who are the Indians with the best finish in the Diamond League?
1. Neeraj Chopra (Discipline-Javelin thrower)
India’s Neeraj Chopra won the gold medal in the 2022 Diamond League. Neeraj, who stunned the world in the Summer Olympics held in Tokyo repeated the same feat in the Diamond League event. With a throw of 88.44 m, the 25-year-old Indian secured the gold medal. He was followed by Jakub Vadlejch from the Czech Republic and Julian Weber from Portugal. He is the first Asian athlete to win an Olympic gold medal in men’s javelin throw. Chopra also participated in the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the 2018 Asian Games, serving as the flag-bearer in the latter and winning gold medals in both.
2. Vikas Gowda (Discipline-Discus and Shot Put)
Vikas Shive Gowda is an Indian discus thrower and shot putter. His personal best throw is 66.28 meters is also an Indian national record in discus throw, achieved in 2012. Vikas won his first gold medal in Asian Championships in 2013 in Pune, with a throw of 64.90 meters. He won the discus throw event at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. This made him the second Indian man to win a Commonwealth gold medal, 56 years after Milkha Singh. The ace Indian thrower won a bronze medal in Shanghai back in the IAAF Diamond League meet. The 39-year-old hurled the disc to a distance of 63.90m, which he achieved in his fifth and penultimate attempt to finish third behind 2013 World Championships silver medallist Piotr Malachowski (64.65m) of Poland and Robert Urbanek (64.47m), also of Poland.
3. Murali Sreeshankar (Discipline-Long Jump)
Murali Sreeshankar’s finish at the long jump event of the Paris Diamond League 2022 created ripples in the athletics world. The 24-year-old was third in Paris. He’s the third Indian to finish in the top-3 of a Diamond League meet after the inimitable Neeraj Chopra and discus thrower Vikas Gowda. Sreeshankar jumped a best of 8.09m to take the bronze medal back home. The attempt was well below his personal best of 8.36m, but the margin to the top wasn’t too high. In fact, Olympic champion Miltiadis Tentoglou jumped 8.13m to take top honours. On the other hand, Simon Ehammer from Switzerland finished second with a jump of 8.11m. The margin with which India missed the podium finish was indeed very slim.
Read more athletics stats over here:
- Athletics Stats: India’s best finishes in the history of Asian Athletics Championships
- Athletics Stats: Winners of Oslo Diamond League 2023
- Athletics Stats: Winners of National Inter-State Senior Athletics Championships 2022