Belgacom Memorial Van Damme, Preview of Brussels DL, courtesy of Alfons Juck, EME NEWs

Usain Bolt, Ostrava 2011, photo by

Wilfried Meert is the Meeting Director of the Belgacom Memorial Van Damme meeting. Wilfried has been the meeting director since the founding of the meet thirty-seven years ago. 

The story is that the late Ivo Van Damme, the silver medalist in both the 800 meters and 1,500 meters in Montreal had noted to Wilfried and other journalists how Belgian athletes had to leave Belgium to race at a world class level. In December 1976, on the way home from a week long training camp in the South of France, Van Damme was killed in a car accident. The incident has never been completely explained, but many believe Ivo fell asleep while driving.  

From the tragedy of loosing Belgium's most promising middle distance runner came the Belgacom Memorial Van Damme.

For me, this is hallowed ground. It is my first visit to the meet. We will cover it live this evening via Facebook and Twitter and then follow up with a story early on Saturday morning! 

Wifried Meert reminds me of Tom Jordan, at the Pre Classic. Wilfried, yesterday and today, went, event by event, discussing the fields for the media. Mr. Meert has the love of the sport, something that I find in all the major meeting directors! 

I hope you enjoy the meet as much as I am! 




BRUSSELS (BEL): Final meet of fourth IAAF Diamond League will have at Belgacom Memorial Van Damme on Friday as usual sold stadium but also top fields, some matching World championships finals. All current stars in the staged events will participate, for many of them it will be last competition of 2013. For example for Usain Bolt or Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. Only missing World champions are Mo Farah, Brianna Rollins and injured Raphael Holzdeppe in the main events. Dramatic race is expected in men 5000 m, fast race in men 800 m. From 16 Diamond events 9 are decided and the leader only needs to compete, in 7 the decision will happen on Friday. Home spectators will wait for three Borlee brothers in one race, Nafi Thiam in high jump. In the pre-programme girls and boys events, paralympic events and special „100 m of your life" for amateurs.



Event by event






100 m (non-DL): Bolt in his last race of the season against the whole Moscow final (only injured Lemaitre and Ashmeade who runs 200 are missing). Specially motivated Rodgers after Zagreb win. Dasaolu in his first race since Moscow.


200 m: First or second means Diamond for Weir. Ashmeade wants to attack him, if he wins and Weir is third or worse he gets the Diamond.


400 m (non-DL): All three Borlee brothers against World finalist Masrahi, relay gold medalist Mance and in-shape Rooney.


800 m: Aman as already confirmed winner of the Diamond can concentrate to run a fast time, possibly attacking the 1:43.27 WL. Only French Bosse (ended his season already) is not there from Moscow final. Top shape also by Symmonds, Lewandowski and Souleiman.


5000 m: Here two candidates for the Diamond Gebrhiwot and Alamirew (supported by Muktar). Very deep field with top Kenyans (I. Koech, Soi, Longosiwa) but also Rop, Rupp and Tahri.


400mH: Diamond between Tinsley and Culson, but World champ is Gordon. And dark horse Cisneros.


PV: Lavillenie for fourth Diamond Race win a row. Only Filippidis can spoil his party. But also Otto is in shape. Meet record 595 (achieved already four times) is in danger.


TJ: Moscow podium is here with Tamgho, Pichardo and Claye, but also Olympic winner Taylor who already won the Diamond. Edwards´s meet record 17.60 could go.


SP: Whiting has the Diamond and is in the best current shape. Will other World medalists Storl and Armstrong be able to attack him?


JT: Vesely in his first meet since Moscow (with improved knee) can lost the Diamond only if not in top 3 and Pitkamaki or Thorkildsen will win.






100 m: Shelly-Ann in her first 100 m since Moscow, she is already confirmed Diamond winner. Good group behind her with fast late season times (Pierre, Russell, Anderson).


400 m: Full Moscow final here, Montsho has the Diamond already, result will be important for the World Rankings at the end of the season. Can they still attack the World lead 49.33?


1000 m (non-DL): Kupina has the WL 2:36.41. Will that be improved?


1500 m: Aregawi was already long time ago confirmed Diamond holder, but what is her shape? Both other Moscow medalists also running (Simpson, Obiri), dark horse Hassan.


100mH: Harper with Diamond and Zagreb win in top shape, also Pearson, Wells and Porter in first meet since Moscow.


Steeple: Chemos and Chepkirui vs Assefa and Ayalew, all four still able to win the Diamond. Looks more like a duel than attempt for a fast time. 9:15.43 is the meet record.


HJ: Shkolina or Chicherova for the Diamond. Home crowd will follow young talent Thiam.


TJ: Ibarguen has the Diamond so could concentrate on top mark, possibly attacking first 15 m of the year.


DT: This should be clear, but last experience from Zagreb says something else. Perkovic has the Diamond, but not only Lewis-Smallowood, but also Robert-Michon and Barrios in the field.

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