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IAAF Diamond League mid-season review

Five Ethiopian athletes qualify to the next stage

From sprint showdowns to discuss drama, there has already been plenty of athletics excitement as the IAAF Diamond League reaches the half-way point in the road to the final.

Six meetings have already taken place this year and there are six more to go before the series reaches its climax at the finals in Zurich (29 August) and Brussels (6 September).

And for the first time ever, this year’s IAAF Diamond League will conclude before the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019, with wild card entries up for grabs for each of the 32 winners at the end of the series.

Winning a diamond discipline has never been so important.

The story so far

The 2019 IAAF Diamond League series kicked off in style in Doha, where Sweden’s Daniel Stahl broke the Diamond League record in the discus with 70.56m. There was also a scintillating clash between Hellen Obiri and Genzebe Dibaba in the women’s 3000m with Obiri prevailing in 8:25.60, and even closer finishes in the men’s 800m, won by Nijel Amos in 1:44.29, and 1500m, won by Elijah Manangoi in 3:32.21.

Noah Lyles and Abderrahman Samba, two of the biggest stars of last year’s Diamond League, were the talk of the town as the series reached Shanghai. In an extremely tight 100m race, Lyles got the better of US compatriot Christian Coleman with both men clocking 9.86. Samba, meanwhile, sped to a world-leading 47.27 meeting record in the 400m hurdles.

The cool conditions in Stockholm didn’t dampen the spirits of the world’s best athletes. European champion Dina Asher-Smith impressed with a 22.18 victory in the 200m while Rhonex Kipruto set a meeting record of 26:50.16 in the 10,000m.

In Rome, Lyles once again formed part of a headline-making sprint showdown, this time involving Michael Norman as they clashed over 200m. In another close finish, Norman came out on top with a lifetime best of 19.70. The unheralded Telahun Haile Bekele made a name for himself by winning a high-quality 5000m in 12:52.98.

Home star Karsten Warholm exceeded expectations in Oslo, not only winning the 400m hurdles but setting a European record of 47.33 in the process. One month after his defeat in Shanghai, Coleman improved the world-leading 100m mark with 9.85.

After his third-round throw was initially declared a foul in Rabat, Fedrick Dacres was successful with his appeal and his 70.78m effort gave him the victory and an IAAF Diamond League record. Genzebe Dibaba produced her fastest 1500m clocking since setting the world record in 2015, winning with an African all-comers’ record of 3:55.47 with Sifan Hassan close behind in 3:55.93.

Before any athlete can contend for a Diamond trophy, they must first earn a spot in one of the two finals. Some athletes have managed to do that already, while several others are well on their way to doing so.

The list below shows the current leaders in each event, any athletes already qualified for the final (marked ‘Q’), and the number of completed qualifying disciplines so far in the series (the figures in parenthesis after each discipline).

Men’s qualified

5000m (3/4): Selemon Barega (ETH) 22pts Q, Birhanu Balew (BRN) 14pts Q, Telahun Haile Bekele (ETH) 12pts Q, Hagos Gebrhiwet (ETH) 12pts Q

Women Qualified

 1500m (3/6): Gudaf Tsegay (ETH) 19pts Q

Remaining meetings

30 Jun – Stanford
5 Jul – Lausanne
12 Jul – Monaco
20-21 Jul – London
18 Aug – Birmingham
24 Aug – Paris
29 Aug – Zurich (final)
6 Sep – Brussels (final)

(IAAF)