Athletics: Diamond League Final in Brussels: Five things to look out for

Coleman, Prescod, Ugen, Hassan and more in the Diamond League finals The second IAAF Diamond League Final of 2018 will take place at the AG Memorial Van Damme in Brussels on Friday evening. From the pole vault showdown to the sprinting sensations, here are five things to look out for.
29 August 2018



1. Duplantis takes on Diamond League legends - Pole Vault
Renaud Lavillenie had won the Diamond Trophy for seven years in a row before he finally surrendered it to Sam Kendricks last year, and the Frenchman will be desperate to regain his crown in Brussels. Kendricks, though has been brilliant again this year, winning in Rome, Paris, Rabat and London to top the standings. Both men, meanwhile, will feel the rest of the field breathing down their necks, with Mondo Duplantis the most promising challenger to the Lavillenie-Kendricks duopoly. The Swedish-American won his first Diamond League meeting on home soil in Stockholm, and comes to Brussels on the back of a sensational, gold medal winning performance at the European Championships in Berlin, where he cleared the six-metre-mark for the first time.

2. Harrison vs McNeal in high quality hurdles - 100m Hurdles
Keni Harrison and Brianna McNeal delivered several thrilling duels on the Road To The Final, with Harrison beating McNeal in Doha and London, and McNeal taking wins in Shanghai, Stockholm and Rabat. In what has been an incredible year across the board in the women's 100m hurdles, the rest of the field is also highly competitive, with Sharika Nelvis, Danielle Williams and Christina Manning all having run sub-12.60 times this season, and four time Diamond Trophy winner Dawn Harper Nelson also on the start list.

3. Hassan and Houlihan lead the line - 1500m
Sifan Hassan has been in blistering form in the 1500m of late, winning in London and Birmingham to secure her place in the Final. Yet having run in the 5000m in Zurich a day earlier, Hassan may find it tough going against the likes of Shelby Houlihan, who won in Eugene before beating Hassan in Lausanne, and Laura Muir, whose string of second place finishes saw her book a place in the Final. It promises to be a finely balanced race for the Diamond Trophy in the 1500m.

4. Coleman, Prescod and co. look to topple Ujah - 100m
CJ Ujah pulled out a superb performance in Zurich last season to sensationally win the Diamond Trophy in the 100m. On Friday, he has a chance to defend his crown, but will face some tough competition in what is a fascinating year in the men's sprints. Christian Coleman began to live up to high expectations as the season wore on, and beat Reece Prescod by just a thousandth of a second in Birmingham earlier this month, while Ronnie Baker remains favourite after wins in Rome, Paris and London.

5. Ugen, Mihambo and co. eye Diamond Trophy - Long Jump
It promises to be a thrilling fight for the Diamond Trophy in the women's long jump as well. Reigning champion Ivana Spanovic may be out injured, but there is nos hortage of quality. Lorraine Ugen is the only finalist to have cleared the seven mtre mark this year, but Malaika Mihambo is fresh from a brilliant gold medal on home soil at the Berlin European Championships, while Berlin bronze medallist and 2013 Diamond Trophy winner Shara Proctor is also a force to be reckoned with. Caterine Ibargüen, meanwhile, will come straight from her triple jump exploits in Zurich, after what was an excellent performance in the long jump at Birmingham earlier this month.



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