Photo credit: www.runnersworld.com

For the first time this month, the IAAF Diamond League (DL) makes a return in Rome, as some of the world’s best athletes converge in the Eternal City for the Golden Gala meet.

Having witnessed enthralling performances in Eugene, there’s a possibility that we could witness another exciting competition in the DL series, with records likely to tumble.

Last year, Almaz Ayana came agonizingly close to surpassing Tirunesh Dibaba’s 5000m World Record (WR) of 14:11.15, posting a Personal Best (PB) of 14:12.59. This time around, it is Genzebe Dibaba who will have a crack at the record as she attempts to go one better than her elder sister. With a PB of 14:15.41, the younger Dibaba is surely capable of coming close.

In the women’s 100m, Dafne Schippers will undoubtedly be the favourite to win. However, the field includes the fast rising Ivorian Marie-Josee Ta Lou, and also Michelle-Lee Ahye, who are both capable of having a say in the outcome of the race.

 

In the men’s 200m, Olympic Silver medallist Andre De Grasse will be looking to better his Season’s Best (SB) of 20.14s when he takes to the track against experienced Alonso Edward and his fellow countryman Aaron Brown, who will be looking to live up to the hype.

Olympic Champion and world leader Omar McLeod may not be headed for Rome, but there’s a strong field in the men’s 110m Hurdles to anticipate an entertaining race. Orlando Ortega, Sergey Shubenkov, Andrew Pozzi and David Oliver are all included in the line up.

We haven’t seen much of Nijel Amos this year, but the Botswana athlete will be in action at the Stadio Olympico when he comes up against six Kenyans in the men’s 800m, with Kipyegon Bett posing the biggest threat in the field with an SB of 1:44.70, not forgetting the possible surprise Brazier Donavan could spring up, having even run faster this year with a time of 1:44.63.

Talking about Kenyans and one event dominated by the East Africans, Conseslus Kipruto will be making his first appearance of the season in the 3000m Steeplechase. Kipruto had a day to forget at the Doha DL where he was beaten in the 3000m.

Jairus Kipchoge Birech will no doubt give Kipruto a real go in the race, not forgetting Abraham Kibiwott who has already run 8:10.62 this year. Can Kipruto finally crack a sub 8minutes race?

 

Field Events:

The field events will throw up a lot of individual battles to watch out for, with the women’s Pole Vault a competition that will see Sandi Morris and Katerina Stefanidi square up in a battle of supremacy. Both have scaled heights of over 4.80m this season, and would be angling to hit 4.90m.

 

There’s no Valerie Adams to challenge Michelle Carter in the women’s Shot Put, with the American expected to continue her dominance this season in Rome.

If you are looking for an athlete whose dominance is under threat in 2017, you need to look no further as Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas looks to be finally ready to wrestle the women’s Triple Jump mantle from Caterine Ibarguen.

Ibarguen has lost only a handful of competitions in five years, and with retirement beckoning, Rojas, who has jumped a WL of 14.96m this season, is almost set to take over from her South American counterpart.

Meanwhile in men’s Javelin, Thomas Rohler displayed last month that his last year’s feat is no fluke after landing the spear at an astonishing distance of 93.90m in Doha.

Can Rohler replicate that in Rome, or will his fellow promising Germans Johannes Vetter and Andreas Hofmann, who both have distances over 88m this year, surprise him?

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Very proficient in writing and talking about football, but has now found a new love in Athletics. Just a matter of time before I become a master on things pertaining to the tracks. Formerly the Content Manager-Sports at NigerianBulletin and Allsports, Christopher is now a Senior Sports writer at Making of Champions.

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