Korir chasing back to back DL titles in Zurich

The IAAF Diamond League middle-distance action will begin with the men’s 800m in Zurich on Thursday, with Emmanuel Korir on the brink a second successive title.

But it will be an uphill battle for the 24-year-old, who arrives without a victory to his credit this season and a modest season’s best of just 1:44.50.

Nijel Amos is the year’s fastest after his sizzling 1:41.89 in Monaco, and looks the man to beat. Kenyan Ferguson Cheruiyot, the winner in London, has also dipped under 1:43 and could be a factor, along with Donavan Brazier of the US and Kenyan Wyclife Kinyamal who raced to impressive wins in Rome and Lausanne, respectively.

Beatrice Chepkoech is the world record-holder in the steeplechase, the world leader at 8:55.58 and the winner of five of her six races in the discipline this year, credentials strong enough to put her in the favourite’s role.

She’ll take on Kenyan compatriot Norah Jeruto, who defeated her in Oslo in 9:03.71, the year’s second fastest time, and world champion Emma Coburn, who chased her home – albeit at a distance after recovering from a fall – in Chepkoech’s world-leading run in Stanford.

And in the men’s 5000m, Selemon Barega will defend his series title against a solid slate of Ethiopian compatriots, most notably Telahun Haile Bekele, whose breakout season included a 12:52.98 win in Rome, the fastest in the world this year.

A loaded women’s 200m field tops the sprint programme, with a line-up that will quite likely closely resemble next month’s World Championships final.

Elaine Thompson is the Olympic champion and world leader at 22.00, taking on two-time world champion Dafne Schippers, European champion Dina Asher-Smith, Nigerian Blessing Okagbare, at 22.05 the season’s second fastest, and Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo, who will be chasing a third Diamond Trophy in the event, and a fourth overall. She’s clocked 22.09 this season and arrives unbeaten in 2019.

The men’s 100m looks to be a battle between world champion Justin Gatlin and 200m ace Noah Lyles, who has improved his best in the shorter dash to 9.86, the second fastest in the world this year. At 9.87, Gatlin is virtually even on paper.

Gatlin collected series victories in Lausanne and Monaco while Lyles took a surprise victory in Shanghai.

South Africa’s Akani Simbine, who has clocked 9.93, and European champion Zharnel Hughes, who has a 9.95 season’s best, could also be in the hunt.

The first 16 2019 IAAF Diamond League champions will be crowned on Thursday night at the Weltklasse in what promises to be a dress rehearsal for the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019, which get underway in just over one month’s time.

latest stories