Alex Mills, who wrote for RunBlogRun for the past couple years, is now based in London and will be providing us some views from London, to some, the capital of the known world.
Alas, finally track is really, officially, totally, certifiably, finally back! After 8 months of leaving athletics journalists, fanatics and pros in the lurch, the Diamond League made a timely and suitably ferocious return on Friday night. Throwing out 12 world leads and tons of other stunning performances, the Doha edition of the 14 leg athletics circuit didn’t disappoint as we begin the final stage of our pilgrimage to Rio 2016.
Here are my five standout moments from the event:
Morris soars to 4.83 WL.
This may be Sandi Morris’ first full season on the tour, but you certainly can’t tell! After smashing her way to a superb silver at the World Indoors, the Arkansas grad soared to a magnificent 4.83m in Qatar, looking a class above the rest. She has now gone above 4.70m in all of her competitions this year and must surely be a real contender for a medal in Rio, if not gold.
Eilish McColgan continues her stunning return to racing
Before last weekend’s Payton Jordan 5K, the Scotswoman hadn’t raced on the track for two years. 5 days on and she’s now set 2 personal bests and bagged an Olympic qualifier. Running an 8.43 3k in her first top class distance race following her conversion from the steeplechase, represents a stunning return for the London 2012 Olympian and daughter of world champion Liz McColgan. This time last year she was struggling to walk after a serious ankle injury, by August she could be in an Olympic final.
A Jamaican threat to yet another of Team USA’s staple events
It’s seems like forever since the world of sprint hurdles wasn’t dominated by the Americans, but that reign may be coming to an end. If that wasn’t bad enough news, once again it’s too speedy rivals Jamaica. Okay, so this was just one race, but by the way Omar McLeod in particular, but also Hansle Parchment stormed to the front last night it won’t be the last one. McLeod another recent college grad, won in a sizzling 13.05 seconds and he certainly looks on fire at the moment. After becoming the first man to ever run sub-13 and 10 seconds from the 110mh and 100m, his recent times suggest he could soon make that feat look like small fry.
Despite this potential changing of the hands, one thing remains the same, David Oliver is still a threat. 13.16 and fourth place in Doha, represents a solid start to the Diamond League season for the Olympic bronze medalist and 2013 world champion. It also puts him in pole position to make a second Olympic team after the agony of missing out on London 2012.
A threat to Ibarguen’s dynasty
Anyone remember the last time Caterine Ibarguen lost a triple jump competition? No, me neither. Okay so I just checked and it’s 32 wins and counting, with her last defeat coming at the London 2012 Olympic games to Kazakstan’s Olga Rypakova, but she was given a mighty scare last night by world indoor champion and fellow South American Yulimar Rojas.
Both ladies were on top form with Ibarguen producing a world leading mark of 15.04m, the best legal jump at this time in the season ever, and Rojas breaking the Venezuelan record three times as the pair yo-yoed in the leaderboard, finishing with a magnificent 14.92m. If they both keep this up until Rio then we could have a battle of Taylor-Piccardo proportions on our hands. Something that can only be good for an event that has been arguably the weakest in track and field of late. Not to mention athletics in the home continent of Rio 2016.
Ameer Webb stakes claim for US 200m squad
After two years spent in post-collegiate wilderness, it appears that former Texas A&M starlet and two-time NCAA champion Ameer Webb might finally be finding his way on the pro scene. Less than a month after setting WL’s in the 100m and 200m whilst going sub-10 and 20, albeit wind-assisted, the sprinter overcame an experienced field in Doha to claim his first DL victory, in a personal best time of 19.85s.
With so much focus being given to the battle to make the men’s 100m roster, surely Webb has a great chance to now make the US 200m squad, with Brommell and Gay unlikely to double. His time in Qatar was the third fastest by an American since London 2012, with more Diamond League races now likely to be lined up, he has all the momentum to go faster and mount a serious challenge to don the stars and stripes in Rio.