Decisions, Decisions...

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I feel like a kid in a sweet shop but tough choices need to be made!Wonderful Brussels

Now that the 2012 Diamond League fixtures and dates have been confirmed, I have the extremely tough (yet enjoyable!) task of deciding which meetings to attend. If money and time were no object then clearly it would be a no-brainer and I would simply book up to each and every one, however as my numbers have not yet come up on the Lottery I must keep things in perspective and not go overboard...

As it's an Olympic year, the calendar essentially has one month 'missing' to take into account London 2012 therefore Monaco is the final warm-up meeting (Fri 20 July) and Stockholm will be the first chance for Olympic champions and medallists to compete on Fri 17 August.

Brussels has become my favourite of the Diamond League events, having attending in 2004 for the first time and been every year since... I have even started recognising the regulars who (like myself) choose the same seats for each meeting.  There is an incredible atmosphere and the stadium is always full to its 50,122 capacity.  With the Eurostar making the trip so easy and pleasurable, Brussels will definitely be number one choice for 2012.

Paris is another Diamond League meeting reached by the Eurostar so keeps costs down as well as offering less hassle.  Four trips to this meeting since 2004 have all been enjoyable but the event has lost some of its old magic.  Sadly there is no longer a firework display, the stadium doesn't sell out and there isn't even an official programme produced these days.  Will decide later.

The four outside Europe (Doha, Shanghai, Eugene and New York) will have to be missed mainly on the grounds of finances.  You can't really just hop on a flight, watch the athletics, stay a single night then come back so the costs start to spiral.  They are also scheduled very close to other European meetings.

There are four European meetings still to experience: Lausanne, Oslo, Rome and Monaco (I have visited the latter two but not for atlhletics).  Monaco is an absolute must... stunning area and not too pricey if you stay in nearby Nice and get the coastal train.  Oslo, on the other hand is renowned for being one of Europe's most expensive cities however I promised myself I would attend in 2012.  I met an athletics fan from Italy at this year's Paris Diamond League event and it would be great to pop over to Rome and meet up so that looks a distinct possibility.  Lausanne... well, we'll see!

Of the rest, Stockholm (2009) and Zurich (2010 & 2011) were both exceptional and two beautiful cities.  May give these a miss to concentrate on others above.  Then there's the two English meetings at Birmingham and London (Crystal Palace), which represent the easiest chance to see world-class international athletics.  They are a given.

So there you go... I hope to attend a fair few of next year's showpiece Diamond League events but which ones? Would be very interested to hear other people's experiences - particularly of Lausanne, Rome, Oslo and Monaco.  Let the planning commence...!

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