Indoor athletics struggling for credibility

March 9, 2009

chambersAthletics was briefly top of the sporting agenda last week with the announcement of the sport’s new “Diamond League” but the European indoor championships took place in Turin at the weekend with considerably less fanfare.

In days gone by the likes of the Soviet Union and East Germany used to send massively strong teams to indoor championships and treated them as an important development process.

Some athletes too were particularly suited to the the 60 metre sprint or tight bends of the usual 200m tracks, but in general, since the fall of Communism, “treading the boards” has been in steep decline.
In recent seasons that slide towards irrelevance has accelerated, as you could see just by looking at the Turin start lists.

With the exception of a few field events, it was painfully thin fare. The big story was Dwain Chambers, but more for his controversial baggage than the European record time he set in Saturday’s semi-final. Even Blanka Vlasic flopped in the women’s high jump.

But the fundamental problem was the turn-out. If Yelena Isinbayeva, the world and Olympic champion who seems to be able to break the world record at will, wasn’t bothered about appearing, what sort of credibility can indoor athletics have?

PHOTO: Dwain Chambers (C) of Britain, Fabio Cerrutti (L) and Emanuele Di Gregorio of Italy pose with their medals in the men’s 60m event in the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Turin, March 8, 2009. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi


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What was the explanation Vlasic gave for messing things up in the high jump? “I lacked focus,” she said.
That just about sums it up for me. In a genuninely important event, no athlete is going to lack focus.

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

The Italians barely nopticed they wrre hosting the event. It only really got press coverage when the Italians won a medal.

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive

that headline is putting it mildly, wouldn’t you say? indoor athletics is as pointless as a remake of minder

Posted by jimbo | Report as abusive