The Diamond League begins in Doha, Qatar on the 15 of May. Alex Mills sent this piece all the way from his local coffee shop to remind us of seven things we need to know on the 2015 Diamond League.
To win the Diamond League title you have to have a combination of luck, steel and determination. It’s also kind of essential that you can win a least a few of the seven races put on for your event, and that you stay injury free.
To enjoy the Diamond League, you just have to be involved.
Whether it’s watching from the press box at the amazing venues or taking in the incredible atmosphere from behind my TV screen, I’m certainly looking forward to getting engrossed in the epic elite action all summer long. From now until early September you can be sure to experience plenty of drama, controversy and brilliance in my writing and on the track. From Doha to Brussels, from Qatar to Belgium.
2015 marks the seven year anniversary from when the likes of Usain Bolt and Shelley-Ann Fraser-Pryce lit up the Bird’s nest Stadium in Beijing, and with the same venue now set to play host to the world championships, the culmination of what should be an epic summer, it seems our greatest chance to predict what will happen when it comes to August 22nd will be through the 12 elite competitions that are placed between now and then.
Keeping that number seven in mind, here are my reasons why I think that this year’s DL is going to rock!
1. The emergence of another US superstar:
Every year a new American athlete seemingly bursts out of the woodworks from way under the radar to absolutely kill it on the DL tour. Last year it was Tori Bowie, the long jump convert who impressed as she continuously outdid some of the greatest women in sprinting. Now she’s established, I’m sure there’s another athlete just out of college ready to show how much she has learnt from her NCAA sporting education.
My bet’s on University of Oregon Alumni Phyllis Francis in 2015.
2. Can Mutaz and co continue to push the boundaries?:
It seems like every competition we ask will they do it? Is this the meet where we will see Sotomayor’s high jump world record finally broken?
The truth is we just don’t know whether Mutaz Barshim or any of his compadres will ever do it, but they sure are improving their chances with every season that passes.
After following up his first ever 2.40m clearance in Eugene in 2013 with one of the most amazing competitions in history, at the Adidas Grand Prix in New York, who’d bet against another magic Mutaz moment on US soil when he returns to Hayward Field on the 30th May?
Before then there’s the small matter of Shanghai where he will take on his Ukrainian rival Bondarenko in what is sure to be another epic battle.
Yet even if they for whatever reason don’t shine so brightly, theres plenty of the supporting cast that could prove to be just as potent.
3. From Doha to London via Eugene; an exploration of the future world championship venues
Never before have the IAAF been so forward thinking that we have been able to know the next four world championship hosts and never before have we had such a range of exciting places to look forward to going to.
Whilst this is neither the first nor the final time that we will see any of the respective three cities put on their meets before they hold major sporting spectaculars, it wets the appetite even more knowing what the amazing action is due to be a a prequel to.
It also means that each hosting venue is likely to be scrutinised to a far greater degree from now on.
Nevertheless, I’m sure I’ll still love my trip to the Pre Classic just as much as I did before, even if I’m aware of the fact that by 2021 the place will be a shadow of it’s former homely yet small self.
4.Rivalries and lots of them
Rivalries are what makes this sport so special, as two or more athletes come together on the start line hoping to prove they are the best once and for all.
In 2015 there will be plenty of this, ensuring that even the most passive athletics fan will throw his remote across the room just once, as he sees his man lose out to his rival by .1 of a second.
Whether it’s Merritt vs James over one lap or Rudisha and Amos battling it out over two, that really gets you going, there’s going to be plenty of that to watch, and believe you me, these battles will leave both you and the athletes reaching near boiling point before we even make it to Beijing.
5. Seven chances to see the most unpredictable event in athletics
It may not be the event that sells the most tickets or the one that makes the big bucks, but there’s no doubting that the hurdles offer track fans the best value for their money.
Unlike some events where the destination of the Diamond League trophy will be decided with meets to spare there is almost no doubting that the destination of the hurdles titles will be decided in Zurich and Brussels, such is the depth and unpredictability in both the men’s and the women’s events.
Whenever you see the hurdles on the start lists you know that you are going to have keep watching to the line to see whether it’s Sally, Brianna, Queen, or Dawn who grabs the women’s race and even then you’re probably following the wrong person.
Then there’s the men’s competition where it’s a constant question of who really is the best? or, can the old guard really continue to hang on?
6. Expect fast times and lots of them
With the world champs so soon, this years DL might not be quite so open as what we saw last year, but I’m certain we can still some super quick times on the track.
Although I’m not holding my breath for a world record (There’s only been one in Diamond League history) there’s going to be lots of fast times posted by the time we head for the super speedy meets in Paris and Monaco.
As a big middle distance fan I’m holding out for a meet record in the Prefontaine mile and a sub 1.42 800m somewhere along the way!
7. Diamond League finals
For an athletics fan these are two of the greatest nights of the year as we get to see some epic races packed with athletes burning with a desire to win the Diamond League jack pot and gain a season ending high.
Who can forget that epic 1500m finish from Jenny Simpson last year in Zurich where she drew blood in order to beat Shannon Rowbury, or the amazing 19.26 200m that Yohan Blake ran in Brussels four years ago, weeks after he had become world champion.
Here’s to hoping for more of the same!