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Diamonds start out as coal. The symbolism behind the meeting in the Silesian Stadium

On 6 August the Silesian Stadium will be the site of the historic first Diamond League meeting to take place in Poland. The organisers of the Silesia Kamila Skolimowska refer to the symbolics of the region. - Every diamond was once coal. It had to undergo a transformation, just as the coal-mining Silesia is transforming into a green, environmentally friendly one - said Jakub Chełstowski, chairman of the voivodeship assembly.

fot. Adam Nurkiewicz

The development of the Silesia Kamila Skolimowska Memorial into a Diamond League event took 13 years. After the Olympic champion's sudden death in 2009, the people close to her put together the first competition in her honour in just a few weeks. It was a modest start, taking place in the warmup area of the Skra Stadium in Warsaw. It did not take long to recognise the potential of the event, but realising it would take the initiators long years. Their persistence in building the meeting's brand soon led to its moving to the Orzeł Stadium. Next came the much larger National Stadium, before the competition found its home in the Silesian Stadium in 2018. – The first edition, to be honest, was a home-made affair. But the second, third and subsequent edition surprised with their level every time. The organisation and support kept on improving and our rivals kept getting stronger. More and more fans were coming into the stadium and the budget was ensured thanks to more powerful sponsors. From a small event, the Kamila Memorial was slowly growing into a big-time international feast. And so we reached the point at which it has become a Diamond League meeting - recollected Piotr Małachowski, the only athlete to have participated in all editions of the meeting to date. Now, after his retirement from competition, he took over the role of the meeting's sports director. It has been a similar transformation for Silesia. The region, known for many years for coal mining and heavy industry, is now turning to renewable energy sources, balanced economy and greenery. The old technologies are being replaced with new ones. The young generation is living in a new post-industrial era. It is an era of caring for the Earth's future, as evidenced e.g. by the Green Silesia 2030 program. Coal mining, even as it remains a part of the cultural heritage of the region, is slowly becoming a part of its past. - Is it a long-term process we need to be patient about. But we do believe with time and specific actions it will only enrich Silesia - were the words of chairman Jakub Chełstowski. It is a curious coincidence that the symbol linking the Silesia Kamila Skolimowska Memorial with the region hosting it is the diamond. The mineral in the logo of athletics' most prestigious circuit is nothing else than coal, which was transformed with the passing of time. For the process to be completed, however, it takes hundreds of millions of years, not just thirteen, as was the case for the meeting. The precious stone emerged to the surface from the depths of the Earth, as deep as 300-400 km below the surface. The Memorial has also come out of the depths - those of the hearts mourning the loss of a great friend and athlete. The world was able to see diamonds as they were brought to the surface by earthquakes and other coincidental events. The competition in the Silesian Stadium, although its brand was built patiently, also made the Diamond League calendar after an earthquake of sorts - the cancelling of the Chinese stops on the Diamond League circuit, which had originally been scheduled, only to be replaced by the Witches' Cauldron. Diamonds are exceptionally tough and resiliant stones. They went through a lot to become as precious as they are. That is true of the people of Silesia as well.

The historic Diamond League competition in the Silesian Stadium starts on 6 August at 4 PM. The pre-programme kicks off at 1:30 PM and the gates open for the fans at noon.

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