The Memorial Van Damme meeting is one of the finest meets on the circuit. I have been fortunate to visit the meeting on two occasions. The meet honors one of the finest athletes of his era, Ivo Van Damme, silver medalist at 800 meters and 1,500 meters in 1976.
The meet is the final event of the Diamond League series and there will be some battles. Here are some of the key battles over the middle distances, as Justin Lagat, our Kenyan correspondent, sees them!
What to watch out for at the last IAAF diamond league events in Brussels:
With only one race to go for the athletes in the IAAF diamond league season, they are definitely going to give it whatever is left in their tanks and great performances are going to happen this weekend in Brussels. One or two world records could fall.
Conseslus Kipruto, photo by PhotoRun.net
In the men's 3000m steeplechase, Conseslus Kipruto who currently leads the diamond league point standings with 50 points has promised an exciting race to his fans. He is already sure to win the trophy given that he is already more than 20 points ahead of his closest competitors; Jairus Birech with 23 and Paul Koech with 20 points. So, clearly Kipruto will not be after a win here, but will be going for a fast time.
Evan Jager, photo by PhotoRun.net
Evan Jager, the Rio Olympic Silver medalist, will be a good incentive for Kipruto to run a fast time here and possibly set a new world record. Many fans believe that he is in the right form to try that now and that his chances for setting a new record are high.
Almaz Ayana, photo by PhotoRun.net
Another athlete to watch in Brussels will be Ethiopia's Almaz Ayana in the women 5000m event. She just broke the 10,000m world record at the Rio Olympic Games and wants to attempt the same in the 5000m too. It is interesting to note that the same woman who set a perfect pace for her in Rio, Alice Aprot, will also be in the same race.
Hellen Obiri, photo by PhotoRun.net
Ayana also leads the field in the diamond league points with 30 followed by Mercy Cherono with 28 and Hellen Obiri with 16 points. With the absence of Vivian Cheruiyot in the field, we are likely to see another solo run by Ayana to run a very fast time, or even a world record here.
Ferguson Rotich, photo by PhotoRun.net
There will be a tight competition in the men 800m as Ferguson Rotich who has 33 points seeks to maintain the lead and win the trophy. But, Ambroise Bosse with 27 points and Alfred Kipketer with 14 points could cause him an upset.
Asbel Kiprop, photo by PhotoRun.net
Asbel Kiprop started the season well and remained unbeaten for the better part of the diamond league season in the men's 1500m. The question is whether he will end it right. He currently leads with 34 points and the only one athlete who is likely to snatch the trophy from him is Elijah Manangoi who has 28 points. Robert Biwott is currently third on the point standings with 12 points.