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All eyes on Amusan, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce as Diamond League final begins today

By Guardian Nigeria
07 September 2022   |   4:12 am
World women 100m hurdles record holder, Tobi Amusan, is among athletes expected to light the Diamond League final, which holds today and tomorrow in Zurich, Switzerland, writes nbcsports.com.

Oluwatobi Amusan

World women 100m hurdles record holder, Tobi Amusan, is among athletes expected to light the Diamond League final, which holds today and tomorrow in Zurich, Switzerland, writes nbcsports.com.

The Diamond League Final, the last top-level track and field meet of 2022, boasts the busiest single day of competition this year, world records and undefeated seasons on the line, as well as spots at next year’s world championships at stake.

Also lined up in the star-studded grand finale are world champions, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (100m), Faith Kipyegon (1500m) and Noah Lyles (200m). They are either the second- or third-fastest performers in history in their events, with each arguably having the best season of their careers and could inch closer to a world record.

Mondo Duplantis (pole vault), Ryan Crouser (shot put), Yulimar Rojas (triple jump) and Amusan (100m hurdles) could improve their own world records. Shericka Jackson, who won 100m silver and 200m gold at July’s World Championships, is entered to race both events over a 90-minute span tomorrow.

All of the aforementioned athletes have byes into next summer’s World Championships in Budapest as reigning world champions.

Diamond League Final winners also earn byes into worlds, provided they are not from the same country as the reigning world champions.

The five events to watch out for are:

Women’s 100m Hurdles
This has arguably been the best year in the event’s history, though it has been overshadowed at times by the dominance of Sydney McLaughlin in the 400m hurdles and Fraser-Pryce and Jackson in the 100m and 200m.

Nigeria’s Amusan broke the world record at the world championships (12.12 seconds). Olympic gold medalist Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico then beat Amusan two weeks ago. American Keni Harrison, an Olympic and world silver medalist and the former world record holder, is the third woman to break 12.30 this year. All three are in the Zurich field, along with world silver medalist, Britany Anderson of Jamaica and 2019 World champion Nia Ali.

Men’s Pole Vault
Duplantis improved the world record by one centimeter on five occasions since the start of 2020, but his first defeat of 2022 came in Brussels last week. Ernest John Obiena of the Philippines was the man to end Duplantis’ bid for the second undefeated championship season for a male pole vaulter in the last 50 years.

Obiena isn’t in the Zurich field, but there is still intrigue. Duplantis will be on world record watch, and America’s Chris Nilsen can earn a world championships berth if he can upset the Swede.

Women’s 1500m
Kipyegon ran the second-fastest women’s 1500m in history in her last outing in Monaco on August 10. American Allie Wilson, the lead pacer in Monaco, who took Kipyegon to 800 meters in 2:01.64 (nearly three seconds ahead of world record pace), is in the Zurich field. As are world silver and bronze medalists, Gudaf Tsegay of Ethiopia and Laura Muir of Great Britain, who were not in Monaco.

Women’s 100m
Fraser-Pryce’s bid for her first full, undefeated 100m season was denied by Jackson in Brussels last week (by one hundredth). Fraser-Pryce’s unprecedented streak of four consecutive sub-10.70 performances also snapped. She gets Jackson again here, assuming Jackson sticks to racing both the 100m and 200m in Zurich. Sha’Carri Richardson, Aleia Hobbs and TeeTee Terry, the three fastest Americans over the last six years, will clinch a world championships spot with an upset win over the Jamaicans.

Men’s 200m
The meet finale features all three World Championships medalists — Americans Lyles, Kenny Bednarek and Erriyon Knighton — and the Olympic champion — Canadian Andre De Grasse.

Lyles, after breaking Michael Johnson‘s American record at the world championships (19.31), has spoken about chasing Usain Bolt‘s world record of 19.19. Lyles has been consistently spectacular this summer, clocking 19.67, 19.62, 19.31, 19.46 and 19.56. Not even Bolt broke 19.50 multiple times in one year. This could be Lyles’ most important 200m until next summer’s worlds.