The 2023 Wanda Diamond League series will have its grand finale in a two-day showdown at the 2023 Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon. This is the first time the final is being staged in the USA. The meet doubling up as the Eugene Diamond League final
Reigning Olympic Elaine Thompson-Herah has a golden opportunity to salvage her injury-hit season when she competes in the women’s 100m final on Saturday (16 Sept). READ: Eugene Diamond League Final: 2023 Prefontaine Classic Live Results, Startlist and Day 1 Schedule
Thompson-Herah Holds Fond Memories of Past Success at Prefontaine Classic
Thompson-Herah’s recent performances have demonstrated her return to form, with notable improvements in her times over the last three outings. As a result, she has climbed to sixth place in the world rankings, after achieving a season’s best time of 10.84 seconds in Brussels. Being fresher than some of her opponents, who would have had a long season, could work in Thompson-Herah’s favor.
The Olympic champion will have fond memories of Hayward Field, having registered her lifetime best of 10.54 seconds in 2021. Nonetheless, world champions Sha’Carri Richardson (100m) and Shericka Jackson (200m) are motivated to pocket the USD 30,000 prize money on offer and finish their season on a high note. READ: Eugene Diamond League Final: 2023 Prefontaine Classic Startlist Unveiled
Eugene Diamond League final men’s 100m will be hot
The men’s 100m final is another marquee event, loaded with some of the fastest sprinters on the planet. Double sprint champion Noah Lyles, who reversed his decision to shut down his season, will be seeking to cement his status as the new king of the sport. Lyles will be doing battle with an illustrious cast, chief among them being world silver medalist and two-time U20 champion Letsile Tebogo. The joint world leader Christian Coleman and compatriot Marvin Bracy-Williams are expected to provide a stern challenge, while Jamaica’s new kid on the block, Kishane Thompson, is being conditioned to produce a massive upset.
It’s a rare occurrence for track enthusiasts to witness Rusheen McDonald competing for a Diamond Trophy. McDonald, who holds Jamaica’s national record, has been having a phenomenal season. If he manages to secure victory, it could elevate him to the status of being a Sportsman of the Year nominee. READ: Eugene Diamond League Final Day 1: Prefontaine Classic Startlist
Confidence can make a huge difference in athletics, and Jamaica’s Hansle Parchment has oodles of it. Parchment’s convincing victory against world champion Grant Holloway in their last encounter has set the stage for a mouth-watering contest in Eugene. Holloway, who wore a cloak of invincibility before that defeat, will likely be apprehensive as he approaches the sixth hurdle, constantly looking over his shoulder for Parchment, who usually finishes like a Ferrari without brakes.
Interestingly, Parchment would want to right the wrongs of this venue when he had to withdraw moments before the start of last year’s World Championship final after sustaining an injury. Holloway leads their head-to-head encounters 9-2. Two-time World champion Danielle Williams will face tough competition as she takes on a field teeming with talent in the women’s 100m hurdles.
One of her main challengers will be Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, who has only suffered one loss in 15 outings this season, which came at the Budapest World Championships. Kendra Harrison, the world leader with a time of 12.24 seconds, and her teammate Nia Ali, the 2019 world champion, will be eager to rise to the occasion. 2022 World champion and world record-holder Tobi Amusan, who has had an indifferent season, will be hoping to end it on a positive note.
The omnipresent Femke Bol will be looking to add another trophy to her cabinet when she competes in the women’s 400m hurdles. The Dutchwoman, who has raced more than two dozen times this season, will be difficult to beat. Jamaica’s Rushell Clayton will be hoping to register another personal best during the chase.
The fierce rivalry in the men’s 400m hurdles is expected to continue with another thrilling contest among world champion and record-holder Karsten Warholm, Kyron McMaster, Rai Benjamin, and Alison dos Santos.
Shanieka Ricketts is one of three women this season to cut the sand at 15m in the women’s triple jump. She will be vying to upstage the omnipresent Yulimar Rojas in what is expected to be an interesting encounter. Without world champion Miltiadis Tentoglou, the field is wide open for the men’s long jump event.
Jamaica’s Tajay Gayle, who won the world championship in 2019, will be looking to take advantage of the situation and regain his confidence in becoming a top jumper again.
The women’s 200m will bring the curtains down, and Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson aims to make history as the fastest half-lapper of all time. The world record of 21.34 seconds, set in 1988, has proved as elusive as the lottery. Will it survive another onslaught? Only time will tell (pun intended).