The IAAF Diamond league is held between May and August every year with track and field events held every week.

It is clear by the point system how one makes it to the final of Diamond league, but how does an athlete qualify to participate in Diamond league ?


It's subjective and ultimately up to the meet directors

The answer is basically: Except for the two final meets in Zurich and Brussels (for which athletes are invited in descending order based on their total DL points this season), it's all based upon athlete reputation and up to the discretion of each meet director. It's usually the job of the athlete's agent to convince the meet directors that they are good enough to race at their meet.

Of course this opens up the possibility of the DL not being as "fair" as the world championships, but I generally think they do a good job of filling the fields. It's to the meet director's advantage to only invite the fastest / highest-ranking athletes anyways, because that's what people come to see.

This is also the reason why most DL meets have a disproportionate number of athletes from the host country, even if some of them wouldn't be "good enough" to get invited to other meets. This isn't necessarily a bad thing though -- it opens up the possibility for upsets and often times these slower athletes are dragged to big PRs by running in an elite field anyways.

If a meet director were to go totally off-base and, say, only invite athletes from the host nation, it's likely the athletes would cause a stir and it's possible that the IAAF could remove it from the DL circuit. For the motivations listed above this is extremely unlikely though.

It's also worth noting that even Zurich and Brussels were up to the discretion of meet directors up until the DL format change two years ago.

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    thanks for the detailed info Harry i believe for players which don't have agents as in many developing countries or countries where athletics is not topmost priority amongst sports then it would be the job of their federations to convince the meet's director ? Also I suspect that however fairly meet director may try to balance local athletes(host country) and others; still will leave few others left out irked. – Rameesh Paul May 6 '18 at 21:22
  • @RameeshPaul I share your concern, but after following the DL circuit for the last few years I just haven't yet seen it play out that way. Look at any DL steeplechase, 3K, or 5K -- the fields are always predominately East African (and rightly so) despite the fact that the athletes might have "worse" agents than those of first-world countries. In fact, often times meet directors go out of their way to discover hidden talent and you'll see international talents you've never heard of show up and run crazy fast. (con't) – Harry May 7 '18 at 1:14
  • (con't) It goes both ways, but as I said it's just in the meet director's best interest to have the best athletes, regardless of where they come from. Also, athletics is a very top-heavy sport. Replacing thee 20th-best-man in a 5K with a local ahtlete doesn't really affect the competition that much, because all eyes will be on the top five or so anyways. MDs want great fields every year -- using some arbitrary cirteria like a PB cutoff is necessary for compeitions like the world champs, but for an early season DL meet it's just not going to be right all the time. – Harry May 7 '18 at 1:14

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