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Athletics World Cup set for London lift-off

AFP  |  London 

The inaugural will be staged in this weekend with the IAAF and British organisers hoping the concept will find a permanent slot in the calendar, despite clashing with other major events.

The competition comes from the stated drive of the of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to attract new audiences with fresh ideas, utilising a format which provides non-stop action.

There will be eight competing nations, with one entrant per team in every male and female event up to the 1500 metres.

Points tallied up at the close of two days at the Stadium will determine which country lifts the platinum winners' trophy.

Great Britain, the United States, Jamaica, South Africa, China, Germany, and all qualified as the top eight in the medal standings at the 2017 IAAF world championships, also in London, and will share the $2 million (?1.42m) prize fund.

"Each event is going to be filled with high-level athletes and high-level competition," USA shot putter said.

"It won't be super-long and drawn out. So it will be short and quick and very elite. That's probably the best format, so that it's not over-flowing."

And yet some argue the clash of dates with Sunday's football final in Moscow, and the concluding day nearby of tennis tournament, has left the new competition toiling to gain traction out of the starting blocks.

As has the absence of a number of leading performers, including the current top three in the men's 100 metres world rankings, Americans Noah Lyles, and Michael Rodgers, and British favourites and Laura Muir, with and also fielding weakened teams.

Additionally, a sponsorship row involving a number of shoe companies removed some potential competitors from the fray.

Nevertheless, optimism remains. It is understood firm interest has already been expressed by possible hosts for the next scheduled edition in 2020 with a willingness from the IAAF to give the event an opportunity to grow.

"We know it will take time to establish itself," said UK Athletics

"The response from other federations has been enthusiastic and they've really bought into it as a long-term fixture.

"The athletes from the eight teams competing at have around 150 Olympic and world medals between them.

"There are 28 Olympic and world champions, with 43 Olympic and world titles between them, so we know there is a huge appetite to compete from the top athletes."

Caster Semenya is primed to run three races in three days with the Olympic 800 metres champion appearing at Friday's meeting in before undertaking a 800-1500m double for South Africa, who may be the favourites to triumph in

Double Rio 2016 Olympic gold medallist spearheads Jamaica's challenge with hosts Great Britain and captained by rankings leader

It might not carry the status of the other World Cup reaching its finale this weekend, but with prestige and money on offer, the battle for international supremacy will be intense, USA promised.

"Team USA always rally as a team and have fun," the 100m hurdler said. "But most importantly, (we) end up on top.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, July 13 2018. 09:30 IST