For the second time this season, stars arrive in Gateshead for the next event in the Wanda Diamond League series. Trackstaa takes a look at the all the most anticipated action ahead of tonight’s meet.
Despite a few unfortunate withdrawals, the Diamond League meet in Gateshead still looks set to include some of the most exciting athletes in athletics. For British fans, the opportunity to see heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson will be particularly exciting but she’s joined by other stars including Trayvon Brommell and, on the women’s side, Elaine Thompson-Herah.
With just 10 days before the Opening Ceremony at the Tokyo Olympics and 17 before the athletics starts, this meet will be vital tune-up.
Of particular interest will be the men’s 100m. Trayvon Bromell was beaten for the first time in 2 years last week and ran a disappointing 10.01 with Ronnie Baker taking the victory there in 9.91. Bromell won the Olympic Trials in the US and is the fastest in the world this year with a 9.77 and so, despite this recent defeat, has to enter the race as the favourite.
He’ll be up against a strong field, however, Andre De Grasse, the Canadian Olympic bronze medallist runs, as does 9.89 man Isiah Young and Brits Adam Gemili and Ujah.
Most fans were dissapointed to learn that due to a tight hamstring, world champion, Dina Asher-Smith withdrew from the event. Erring on the side caution, understandably, decided not to risk it before the Olympics. She said, “I have to smart decisions for myself and my body ahead of Tokyo…I”m looking forward to making you all proud in a few weeks time.”
The women’s sprint event still looks set to be exciting however. Elaine Thompson-Herah, the often forgotten, reigning Olympic 100m and 200m champion will run, now as standout favourite. Her most likely challenge will come from USA’s Tamara Clark, who has a PB this season of 21.98.
Men’s and Women’s mile
Sifan Hassan who withdrew from the event this week, was due to run in the Millicent Fawcett Mile. Hassan is the women’s mile world record holder in 4:12.33. Without Hassan, the fields looks far less strong, however, there will be athletes still hoping to run quick. Kate Grace, off the back of some hugely impressive 1:57s in the 800m recently will start as a possible favourite alongside Ugandan athlete, Winnie Nanyondo. There’s also a host of British athletes running too, including Holly Archer, Jess Judd and the fastest on paper Katie Snowden (4:25.89).
The men’s mile (Emsley Carr Mile) is not a Diamond League points event but still looks set to be one of the most exciting races of the whole evening. Jake Wightman runs again with a stated goal of running sub-3:50. That would require a 2 second PB and so he’ll be hoping for the optimum conditions. It’s a stacked field though; Elliot Giles runs, fresh off a 1:44 low in Monaco in the 800m. Alongside other notable Brits, such as Jake Heyward, George Mills, Archie Davis and Piers Copeland.
The men’s 800m is an equally stacked field. Clayton Murphy winner of the US Olympic Trials and with a PB of 1:42.93 and a SB of 1:43.17 starts as clear favourite. But he’ll have a tough race against the promising Britain, Dan Rowden (1:44.09) and Wycliffe Kinyamal – the Kenyan athlete has ran sub 1:44 this season.
There’s also further representation from the USA with Murphy’s fellow Olympians, Bryce Hoppel and Isiah Harris also running. It’s anyone’s race!
The men’s 3000m is another intriguing race. Andy Butchart (7:37.56) will line-up against the person who beat him in the recent British 5,000m Championships, Paddy Dever (8:09.09). Dever will almost certainly run significantly quicker than his current 3000m PB and will be aiming for the mantle of top-British athlete given that Australian sensation Stewy McSweyn (7:28.02), Kenyan, Jacob Krop, who’s ran 7:30 this year, and Mo Katir start as overwhelming favourites. McSweyn has been in blistering form recently, running a Oceania Record in both the 1500m and the mile within the last 2 weeks, the latter being the fastest mile by anyone in the world for the past 7 years. His compatriot Matt Ramsden will be looking to build on his 7:45.68 PB.
Elsewhere, it will be interesting to see how Sam Atkin, running for GB at the Olympics in the 10,000m, gets on alongside talented youngster Tom Mortimer.
Women’s 400m Hurdles
Femke Bol is arguably the form athlete in the world right now having won her last 5 races. Her consistency has been remarkable, earning a PB in every race and running the 4th fastest time in history. She’ll rekindle her rivalry with Shamier Little, who in the same race, ran the 5th fastest time in history. Little has been beaten by Bol in their last 2 races and she’ll be keen to finally edge out the Dutch sensation.
In the Field
Events to watch in the field, include:
- Whether Vetter can finally break Jan Zelezny’s 25-year-old javelin world record of 94.48m. His closest this year has been a 96.29m throw so he’ll be hoping for the right conditions.
- Katarina Johnson-Thompson goes in the long-jump as she finalises preparations for Tokyo. She’ll have to be jumping further than she’s ever jumped if she’s to challenge world-champion Malaika Mihambo of Germany.
- The women’s pole-vault looks like an exciting compeition, with British record-holder Holly Bradshaw hoping that the home crowd will help her defeat US champion Kate Nageotte who’s jumped 4.95m this year as well as world-indoor champion Sandi Morris.
When is it on?
The non-Diamond League gets underway at 17:25 UK time tonight (13th July 2021), with the first major race the men’s mile at 18:41 UK time. You can read the full programme here.