Traditional Diamond League meet will be replaced by behind-closed-doors concept featuring a world record attempt by Karsten Warholm
Athletics action is set to return to Oslo in June but in a different format, with organisers of the traditional Diamond League meeting having announced the ‘Impossible Games’.
The coronavirus pandemic has so far affected the first eight events in the 15-meet Diamond League series, with the postponement of the Eugene (June 7) and Paris (June 13) events confirmed on Thursday.
On that day, the Bislett Alliance announced plans to host an alternative athletics competition under Norwegian coronavirus regulations on June 11 – the original date of this year’s Oslo Diamond League meeting.
The behind-closed-doors concept at the Bislett Stadium is set to feature a world record attempt by Karsten Warholm as the world 400m hurdles champion targets the 300m hurdles mark of 34.48, while Sweden’s world record-holder Mondo Duplantis will face Norwegian Sondre Guttormsen in a pole vault duel at Bislett, but they will also compete against former world record-holder Renaud Lavillenie, who will vault against them in his own garden in France.
Other plans are for Karoline Bjerkeli Grøvdal to take on a solo attempt at Grete Waitz’s Norwegian 3000m record of 8:31.75, aided by wavelight technology, and for a 200m hurdles head-to-head to take place between 400m hurdles and 100m hurdles specialists Amalie Iuel and Isabelle Pedersen.
Meet director Steinar Hoen is also said to have had “positive dialogue” with Norway’s Ingebrigtsen athletes, but those events are yet to be decided and the programme is subject to changes.
“Unfortunately, the rules on infection control make it impossible for us to have an audience in the stadium,” Hoen said, with an hour-long TV broadcast planned.
“Together with (Norwegian broadcasting company) NRK we will do our best to make a meeting for the athletes and a great TV show for the fans.”
World Athletics president and chair of the Diamond League Board, Sebastian Coe, said: “This is really positive news for athletes and fans and promises, even in this early stage, to be another great night of athletics from the Bislett Stadium.
“Congratulations to the Oslo Bislett Games for dreaming this up and following it through, working within the pandemic guidelines set out in Norway.”
Organisers added that no athletes will fly into Oslo for the event, but electric cars will be used to transport athletes from the Swedish border.