Exactly a decade after it first came to play, the 2019 IAAF Diamond League will get a headstart at the Khallifa International Stadium that will host the World Athletics Championships in September.
It’s the tenth edition of the Diamond League which spans through fourteen major cities as a whole and the third to wield the championship format where every finalist has a chance to be crowned IAAF Diamond League Champion.
The athletes compete in six or eight qualifying meets in a bid to make the finals while only one athlete gets to lift the Diamond League Trophy in an event.
The 100m which is usually regarded as the blue-ribband race, will provide some major highlights through the Diamond League Season. We should see some serious battle between newly minted professional athletes, fresh from the collegiate system and some set of elite athletes who are making a return to action.
It will spotlight double Olympic Champion, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Dafne Schippers, Aleia Hobbs, Elaine Thompson, English Gardner and the African triad of Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, Murielle Ahoure and Marie Josee Ta Lou.
The men’s races should be a much closer tussle, with Christian Coleman standing slightly above a waiting pack. His countryman, Ronnie Baker would be his biggest competitor. The fastest Asian, Bingtian Su should also be a man to watch, alongside Noah Lyles who is more of a 200m man in view of his amazing race surges and finishes.
Lyles who is expected to dominate the longer sprint and has won two Diamond League titles, would have Ramil Guliyev, the European Champion, to contend with.
Quartermilers Akeem Bloomfield and Michael Norman won’t have it go down straightforwardly when entered to compete in the 200m as well and when you add Norman’s training partner, Rai Benjamin who is a hurdler to the mix, twiddling of thumbs is only what track enthusiasts can do.
Norman’s model form in the 400m would most likely go unbowed as the American athlete opened up his season at the Mt. SAC Relays with a ‘ferocious’ Personal Best (PB) of 43.45s, tied for the fourth fastest ever run. The new professional athlete would be looking forward to dominating the event with Jamaicans, Akeem Bloomfield and Nathon Allen in the picture. The old guard which contains Isaac Makwala, Baboloki Thebe, Fred Kerley and Paul Dedewo should also be in the mix.
The women’s version would be a game between Shaunae Miller-Uibo and Salwa Eid-Naser. The Bahamian athlete, standing at a towering height compared to Naser, only had one head-to-head with the latter in 2018, one which she won by a little edge. But with a brilliant 49.05s opener this season, the fastest ever run before June, Miller-Uibo looks to have the upper hand. However, little Naser has been tried and is trusted and knows how to deliver just when it is needed.
The evolution of the men’s 400m Hurdles in two years has left track fans in awe. Abderrahman Samba dominated the Diamond League circuit and was unbeaten in 2018 but with Rai Benjamin out of college, things may be set for a turn.
Samba who has a Personal Best (PB) of 46.98s and has run 47.51s in his opener with a 400m best of 44.60s this season will have an interesting rivalry build up with Benjamin who has clocked a PB of 44.31s in the 400m this season. Not that Samba hadn’t enough challenge prior to this as 2018 would be considered his breakthrough season. Karsten Warholm is the World Champion while Kyron McMaster emerged Diamond League Champion in 2018 in the absence of Samba.
The women’s 400m Hurdles looks to be an American affair. Sydney McLaughlin who just turned pro will face the weight of experience from Dalilah Muhammad, Kori Carter, Shamier Little and Georganne Moline. Jamaica’s Janieve Russell alongside her compatriots, Leah Nugent and Ristananna Tracey will also be in the mix with Lea Sprunger of Switzerland.
The Americans who are becoming quite a force in middle distances would face their African counterparts, with Kenya’s Emmanuel Korir and Michael Saruni ready to step up their game against Donovan Brazier.
Ajee Wilson would also face off challenge from Francine Niyonsaba and Jamaica’s Natoya Goule in the women’s 800m.
The Germans would be looking forward to continuing with their dominance in the men’s Javelin Throw while the men’s Shot Put will have interesting matchups between Olympic Champion, Ryan Crouser who has had the biggest performance by an athlete this year with his PB of 22.74m. He would have Tomas Walsh to contend with, Darrell Hill, and Darlan Romani to mention a few.
The men’s Long Jump will be a scene to watch also with Luvo Manyonga of South Africa and Juan Miguel Echevarria headlining the event.
The IAAF has however made a decision to limit the longest distance events in the Diamond League to 3000m from 2020.