Diamond League move was inevitable, says Mark Shearman
RENOWNED athletics photographer Mark Shearman says it was "inevitable" the Diamond League meeting would move away from Crystal Palace.
Shearman, who has a comprehensive library of the world's leading athletes as far back as 1962 to the present day, says the meeting at south London was on a par with other major sporting events in the country.
"You have cricket at Lord's, the rowing at Henley and tennis at Wimbledon," he told Advertiser Sport. "And you get a lot of people at Crystal Palace who won't be interested in athletics in general because they'll just come along for the event.
"The stadium was wonderful 30-40 years ago, but it's a very sad and sorry place now.
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"There will be further sadness if the Diamond League meeting doesn't go back there, but I assume once it's at the Olympic Stadium, it won't go back again.
"There's no way they're going to have an Olympic Stadium and not have major meetings there."
However, Shearman says depending on what happens in regard to West Ham United Football Club's bid to move to the Olympic Stadium, there could be a slight chance the Diamond League meeting returns to south London.
But he pointed out that the transport links will be far easier to use than around Crystal Palace.
"From a spectators' point of view, the Olympic Stadium is far more accessible because the roads around Crystal Palace can be quite horrendous," he said.
"It's very difficult getting out in your car from the stadium, so I imagine people would be using public transport to the Olympic Stadium.
"I'm just wondering what will happen if they convert it to a football stadium – is there going to be a period where it will be used for that?
"If West Ham moved there, will there be a time where they won't be able to hold anything? And it's going to take quite a while to convert it as a dual purpose stadium.
"However, in that period, if it coincides with the Diamond League, it would probably have to come back to Crystal Palace."
Having taken photographs in the sport for half a century, Shearman recalled one particular memory in his time snapping away at the world's best athletes.
"One moment that sticks out in my mind is when David Bedford broke the world record for the men's 10,000m in 1973," he said.
"But I've been to almost every meeting held at Crystal Palace and there are so many great memories.
"I first went there in 1968 when it was first built. I just think once the meeting is at the Olympic Stadium, it won't come back to Crystal Palace."