By: Noel 'Bravo' Francis, Special to Trackalerts.com
The 14th and last Diamond League of the 2015 season (The Memorial Van Damme) will take place in Brussels on Friday September 11. Sixteen Diamond Race trophies will be decided to bring the curtains down on the athletic series which started in Doha in May. Among some of the top disciplines that will attract the most attention on the day are the men’s 100m, women’s 200m, men’s triple jump, women’s 400m, women’s 100mh & men’s 400m hurdles.
The first event to be decided on the track will be the men’s 400m hurdles. This was one of the most bizarre events at the recently concluded World Championship with the most unlikely outcome. Nicholas Bett, the newly crown 400m hurdles champion from Kenyan keeps on rewriting the history books as he makes his Diamond League debut. He is perhaps the first man to win a world title before running in a Diamond League event. He will lock horns with two of the biggest flops at the championships in Americans Bershawn Jackson (14 pts) and Johnny Dutch (9 pts). All three athletes will have something to prove in Brussels.
Justin Gatlin (12 pts) is almost assured of winning back-to-back Diamond Race 100m titles with his closest rival Frenchman Jimmy Vicaut 7 points behind. The biggest attraction in this event will be the rematch between Jamaica’s Asafa Powell and Justin Gatlin. Fans will be hoping that both men are not too tired and can produce another fast sub-10 clocking.
The men’s triple jump continues to be one of the most exciting clashes this season. World Champion, Christopher Taylor (18.21m) the second best jumper in history with 12 points will renew his friendly yet competitive rivalry with Cuban sensation and Diamond League leader Pedro Pablo Pichardo (18.08m). Pichardo has accumulated 14 pts thus far in the Diamond League; however, Taylor holds the advantage with a 3-1 lead in their head-to-head meetings this season.
The women’s 200m brings together a dream cast. Allyson Felix a multiple 200m World Champion and newly crowned 400m World Champion will face perhaps her stiffest challenge this season. She will square off with World Champion Dafne Schippers of Netherlands and runner-up Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson in a mouth-watering clash. This could be a sneak preview of things to come next year in Rio. Who will draw first blood?
The women’s 100m hurdles was one of the most unpredictable events this season. No one is guaranteed victory and perhaps it is fitting that three women have acquired the same amount of points (10) going into this final showdown. Americans Dawn Harper-Nelson, Sharika Nelvis and Jasmin Stowers will be aiming to salvage some pride at the end of the season with victory in Brussels. Another quality women’s 400m line-up will adorn the track one final time this season. American Francena McCorory (16 pts) is the frontrunner to capture the Diamond Race trophy. She is followed by Jamaica’s Stephenie-Ann McPherson (10 pts) and World Championship silver medallist, Shaunae Miller (6 pts). McCorory only needs to secure a spot in the top three to win whilst McPherson has to win outright and hope McCorory ‘flaps and wave her hands’ as she did when she faded on anchor in the final 50m of the 4x400m relay final in Beijing. Miller has no chance of winning the Diamond trophy but will certainly influence the outcome. Natasha Hastings, Christine Day and Novelene Williams-Mills round out this impressive line-up on paper. Williams-Mills, the 2014 Diamond Race winner, with only 1 point so far will be hoping to finish one of her most difficult seasons on a high note.
Please find schedule and entries of this meet below (Jamaica Time):
1:04 pm Men’s 400m Hurdles (Jeffery Gibson, Johnny Dutch, Nicholas Bett, Bershawn Jackson, Kariem Hussein, LJ Van Zyl)
1:14 pm Men’s 100m (Nesta Carter, Ramon Gittens, Jimmy Vicaut, Asafa Powell, Justin Gatlin, Femi Ogunode, Akani Simbine, Chijindu Ujah)
1:20 pm Men’s 1500m
1:26 pm Men’s Javelin Throw ( Tero Pitkamaki, Julius Yego, Keshorn Walcott, Vitezslav Vesely, Magnus Kirt)
1:29 pm Men’s Triple Jump (Christian Taylor, Pedro Pablo Pichardo, Omar Craddock)
1:39 pm Women’s 3000m SteepleChase
1:56 pm Men’s 800m ( Alfred Kipketer, Asbel Kiprop, Mohammed Aman, Nijel Amos, Amel Tuka, Pierre-Ambroise Bosse)
2:09 pm Women’s 100m Hurdles (Sharika Nelvis, Dawn Harper-Nelson, Jasmin Stowers, Tiffany Porter, Cindy Roleder, Alina Talay)
2:16 pm Men’s 200m ( Femi Ogunode, Miguel Francis, Alonso Edward, Wayde Van Niekerk, Justin Gatlin, Nickel Ashmeade, Isiah Young, Isaac Makwala)
2:23 pm Women’s 1500m (Abeba Aregawi, Mercy Cherono, Sifan Hassan, Jenny Simpson, Chanelle Price, Shannon Rowbury)
2:35 pm Women’s 400m ( Christine Day, Natasha Hastings, Francena McCorory, Stephenie-Ann McPherson, Shaunae Miller, Novelene Williams-Mills, Marie Gayot)
2:41 pm Men’s 5000m
About the Author: Noel ‘Bravo’ Francis is a very exciting and creative freelance sports writer from Jamaica specializing in the fields of athletics and cricket. His colourful down to earth yet professional personality makes him a favourite amongst athletes and fans. Readers are often exposed to his detailed knowledge and passion which usually increase their interest in the athletes, events and the sport overall. He has a first degree in Banking & Finance and works in the financial industry. Contact Noel at [email protected] Follow bravo on twitter @nanthonyfrancis