Athletics: Inspiration Games brings top athletes together, virtually

PARIS (Reuters) - With the Diamond League finals cancelled amid the COVID-19 crisis, organisers of next week's innovation-driven Inspiration Games see the one-day event as a way to bring top athletes from across the globe together.

Eight track and field events will be held with three athletes - one from Europe, one from the United States and one from the Rest of the World - competing against each other from different stadiums.

"Special times require special approaches and thats's what we invented," meeting co-director Andrea Hediger told a news conference on Thursday.

The start of the track events will be signalled from Zurich and the video footage from the different stadiums will be synchronised and broadcast within two minutes of the end of the races which include a 150 metres, a 300 metres hurdles and a 100-yard sprint.

"We go to the athletes if the athletes cannot come to Zurich. We could not wait any longer to see some top athletics competition," Hediger added.

"We will have some people in the (seven) stadiums, some of them along the runway giving rhythmic clapping to help athletes produce their best performance."

American sprinter Allyson Felix, six-times Olympic champion, will be among the leading names participating along with Olympic 400m hurdles champion Dalilah Muhammad and world indoor pole vault champion Sandi Morris.

"These formats help take the weight of the pressure off the athletes' shoulders," Hediger said.

The overall budget for the event is $200,000, while all athletes will have a guaranteed prize.

"We offer a really decent prize money. In each discipline, we give $10,000 for the winner, 6,000 for second place and 4,000 for third place," Hediger said.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ed Osmond)

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