Two fast times expected
BRUSSELS (BEL): Except of Diamond Trophy fights in 10 events (5 are clear and one finished on Thursday), many national headlines and Man vs. Machine 600 m race two fast competitions are expected at the jubilee 40th AG Insurance Van Damme Memorial. Almaz Ayana in the 5000 m and Conseslus Kipruto in steeple. Both want come close to World records. Duel of the evening should be the women 100 m Thompson vs. Schippers. Another top question is what Caster Semenya will do against the 400 meter specialists.
Event by event
200 m: In-form Churandy Martina faces Olympic bronze medallist Christophe Lemaitre and Rio finalists Adam Gemili, Alonso Edward and Ramil Guliyev.
DR: Edward already confirmed.
400 m (non-DL): Last event of the programme includes all three Borlee brothers against the likes of Luguelin Santos and Vernon Norwood.
800 m: Top field including Olympic bronze medallist Clayton Murphy, Rio fourth and fifth-placers Pierre-Ambroise Bosse and Ferguson Rotich and Paris DL winner Alfred Kipketer. And don’t discount Adam Kszczot and Amel Tuka.
DR: Rotich or Bosse, small chance also for in-shape Kipketer.
1500 m: Olympic silver medallist Taoufik Makhloufi faces a large Kenyan contingent including world champion Asbel Kiprop and Elijah Manangoi on his return from injury.
DR: Kiprop could be second and still wins, Manangoi only one who can beat him.
3000 mSC: Olympic champion Conseslus Kipruto will attack Saif Saaeed Shaheen’s World record of 7:53.63 set at this meeting in 2004. First sub 8 of the year another target.
DR: Kipruto already confirmed.
110 mH: Orlando Ortega begins as the favourite with Olympic champion Omar McLeod absent. Bronze medallist Dimitri Bascou also starts.
DR: Ortega already confirmed.
Long Jump: Olympic silver medallist Luvo Manyonga and fourth-placer Jarrion Lawson are favoured.
DR: Gao or Lapierre for the trophy, slight chance also for Forbes.
High Jump: Another head-to-head between Mutaz Essa Barshim and Bogdan Bondarenko. In-form Robbie Grabarz and Erik Kynard could also challenge.
DR: Between top 4 in the standings only 6 points difference. But Barshim looks to be in top shape and he likes the meet.
Discus: World champion Piotr Malachowski is the only Olympic medallist in action. Lausanne winner Philip Milanov will be looking to close his season with a win on home soil.
DR: All set for Malachowski, his country-man Urbanek has theoretical chance.
100 m: Elaine Thompson (10.70) and Dafne Schippers (10.83) are by far the fastest on 2016 form and the Jamaican is looking for the meeting record of 10.73.
DR: Thompson 30, Schippers 22 looks clear. Schippers would need to win and Thompson third.
400 m: Olympic bronze medallist Shericka Jackson faces Rio fourth-placer Natasha Hastings and sixth-placer Stephenie-Ann McPherson along with 49.71 performer Courtney Okolo. And what could do the 800 star Semenya?
DR: McPherson 31 and Hastings 28, that is the fight for the trophy.
5000 m: After two near misses before Rio, Almaz Ayana will attack Tirunesh Dibaba’s eight-year-old world record of 14:11.15. Olympic 10,000m fourth-placer Alice Aprot also starts. Meet record 14:25.43 should go.
DR: Ayana looks clear, small chance for Obiri.
100 mH (non-DL): European champion Cindy Roleder faces Jasmin Stowers and team-mate Nadine Hildebrand in a wide open race.
400 mH: Could be a European win with world champion Zuzana Hejnova, European champion Sara Petersen and Eilidh Doyle the favourites as Dalilah Muhammad already ended her season.
DR: Doyle 36 and Tate 30.
Triple Jump: Caterine Ibarguen is the outstanding favourite again.
DR: Ibarguen confirmed.
High Jump (non-DL): Olympic heptathlon champion Nafissatou Thiam faces Levern Spencer and Svetlana Radzivil on home soil. All three jumpers have cleared 198 this year.
Pole Vault: Will Sandi Morris or Ekaterini Stefanidi challenge Isinbayeva’s meeting record of 493 cm?
DR: Stefanidi confirmed.
Javelin: Field includes European champion Tatsiana Khaladovich, Olympic bronze medallist Barbora Spotakova and Diamond race leader Madara Palameika.
DR: Looks good for Palameika 39, Mitchell has the possibility with 25 but Palameika would need to be under 4th place and that does not look real.