Rabat Diary: Caster Semenya versus the 400m specialists at Ninth Meeting International Mohammed VI!

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Semenya_CasterFHL-Pre17.jpgCaster Semenya wins Pre Classic, photo by PhotoRun.net

Caster Semenya will be battling some of the finest 400 meter runners in the world in Rabat on Sunday. That will be among the highlights of the Rabat Diamond League meeting, the newest addition to the Diamond League series.

Semenya against 400 m specialists
RABAT (MAR): IAAF Diamond League continues on Sunday for 2nd time in Africa. 9th Meeting International Mohammed VI will see Yohan Blake in his DL debut for the year, while Elaine Thompson stands out in the women's sprints. Other potential stars are Nijel Amos, Barbora Spotakova, Ryan Crouser and Caterine Ibarguen. Women 400 m is promising something special.
Event by event
Men
100m (non-DL): Former world champion Yohan Blake, after his double Jamaican Champs win, competes in his first Diamond League since 2014. CJ Ujah and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake are two of the the other eight sub-10 runners.
200m: Andre De Grasse should be favourite, but also there are Warren Weir and Ameer Webb. Fred Kerley steps down as in London.
800m: Nijel Amos proved himself world No.1 over Donavan Brazier in London last weekend and both are back.
1500 (non-DL): Euro indoor champion Adel Mechaal, who pushed Mo Farah closest in the 3000m in London, goes against David Bustos and Benson Seurei.
3000m (non-DL): Edwin Soi, Albert Rop, Bethwell Birgen and Abdelaati Iguider are the main protagonists.
3000m steeplechase: Olympic champion Conseslus Kipruto is back from injury at the trials and tops a line-up of the six best on times this year - led by Soufiane El Bakkali and Jairus Birech.
High jump: Mateusz Przybylko debuts in the Diamond League after his recent big improvement to 2.35m, which leaves him No.2 in the world. Andriy Protsenko and Robbie Grabarz are also there.
Pole vault: World champion Shawn Barber takes on the in-form Pawel Wojciechowski, plus Rapael Holzdeppe and Piotr Lisek.
Long jump: World No.2 Rushwal Samaai aims for more consistency around 8.30m against Fabrice Lapierre, Godfrey Mokoena, Jarrion Lawson and Michel Torneus.
Shot: Olympic winner Ryan Crouser is the clear favorite, also there Czech record holder Tomas Stanek.
Women
100m: Double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson defends her 13-race unbeaten run in this event. Michelle Lee-Ayhe and Kelly Ann-Baptiste are among those threatening.
400m: Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya steps down for a rare attempt and, with greater opposition this time, should be pushed to an even quicker time than her 50.40 from Brussels last year. The specialists standing in her way are headed by Olympic winner Shaunae Miller-Uibo and US Champion Quenara Hayes.
1500m: Former world medallist Shannon Rowbury, now specialising in 5000m, aims to prove she still has the speed, with Laura Weightman challenging.
3000m steeplechase: Olympic champion Ruth Jebet should be a class apart despite recent losses. European No.1 Gesa Felicitas-Krause is next best on season's time.
400m hurdles: Janieve Russell is quickest in the field but it should be close with Sara Petersen, Lea Sprunger and Eilidh Doyle in the field. Zuzana Hejnova looks to rediscover top form. 2 races planned in the loaded event.
Triple jump: Caterine Ibarguen takes on Olga Rypakova, with Kimberly Williams and Nubia Soares also in the field.
Javelin: Barbora Spotakova, back at her best, aims to stay on top against Martina Ratej, Liz Gleadle and Tatsiana Khaladovich.

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