Winners at the Brussels final of the 2016 IAAF Diamond League series ©Getty Images

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Diamond League will adopt a championship-style format next season with athletes having to take first place at one of the two seasonal finals in Zurich or Brussels – carrying increased total prize money of $3.2million (£2.5million/€3miilion) – to become overall winner in their event.

Since the Diamond League was established in 2010, the overall champion – or Diamond Race winner – in each event has been the athlete with the most points, irrespective of whether they won in their final.

The only requirement to confirm overall victory was that an athlete competed and showed full fitness in the season’s finale.

But from next year, athletes will earn points in the first 12 IAAF Diamond League meetings to qualify for two final meetings, where $100,000 (£79,300/€95,500) will be at stake in each of the 32 Diamond disciplines, including $50,000 (£39,700/€47,300) for each winner.

This means the season is now a race to reach the finals with the winners crowned as IAAF Diamond League champions.

Changes made to next season's IAAF Diamond League series are calculated to create more excitement in the finals at Zurich and Brussels ©IAAF
Changes made to next season's IAAF Diamond League series are calculated to create more excitement in the finals at Zurich and Brussels ©IAAF

Sebastian Coe, IAAF President and chairman of the Diamond League AG, commented: “After seven seasons which have established the IAAF Diamond League as our premier circuit, it is important to assess its impact and build for the future.

“These decisions are the first step to growing the attractiveness of the series.”

Meanwhile, there will be a return in 2017 to six attempts for all athletes in horizontal and vertical jumps following last season’s widely unpopular experimental format where all athletes were given three attempts but with only the top four athletes being given three further attempts.

Total prize money for the Diamond League will remain at $8million (£6.3million/€7.6million), but the latest changes have weighted greater rewards to the dual conclusion of the series, partly by lessening the amount of events contained in the earlier meetings.

Each event will carry total prize money of $30,000 (£23,800/€28,400) in the first 12 Diamond League meetings, but eight of them will feature 13 disciplines and four of them – Shanghai, Eugene, Birmingham and Lausanne - will stage 14.

Another perceived benefit of this new arrangement for the Diamond League is that having less events will make it easier for entire competitions to be broadcast within a two-hour TV feed.

In the past, events such as the women’s shot put or men’s 400 metre hurdles have taken place hours before the main events in front of thinly peopled stands.

Winners in the final will claim $50,000, with descending awards ending at $2,000 (£1,600/€1,900).

Prize money in the first 12 Diamond League meetings will see winners earning $10,000 (£7,900/€9,500).