A quartet of US stars headed by Diamond League champion and world indoor record holder, Christian Coleman, will line up at Shanghai Stadium in exactly one month’s time against China’s own sprint sensation, Su Bingtian, and British tearaway Reece Prescod who shocked the crowd last year by snatching victory from the outside lane.
Coleman smashed the 20-year-old world indoor 60m record to take gold ahead of Su at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham last March, then scorched to a sensational 100m time of 9.79 seconds to win the Diamond League final in Brussels last August.
The 22-year-old from Fayetteville, Georgia, is only the eighth man in history to run 100m quicker than 9.80 and he was almost a tenth of a second quicker than anyone else in the world in 2018.
Coleman was forced to withdraw from the 2018 Shanghai meeting with injury, but he will be a hot favourite this year when he faces US compatriots Ronnie Baker, Noah Lyles and Mike Rogers, who all ran sub-9.90 last summer and filled spots two, three and four on last season’s world list.
Su will also be full of confidence as he seeks to regain the crown he made his own in 2017. The Guangzhou native lowered his national record to 9.91 last summer and twice equalled the Asian record before taking 100m gold at the Asian Games in Jakarta in August.
He also blazed a trail across Europe during the recent indoor season, running a world leading time of 6.47 at the Birmingham Grand Prix, just five hundredths outside the Asian record he set in the same city last year.
Prescod sprung a surprise to beat Su last year and the 23-year-old went on to win a silver medal at the European Championships in Berlin before setting a national under-23 record of 9.94 on home soil in Birmingham.
The women’s 100m line-up is no less impressive with Jamaica’s double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson racing against Marie José Ta Lou and Michelle-Lee Ahye on the track where she scorched to a 10.78 victory in 2017.
Thompson wasn’t at her brilliant best last season, while Ta Lou lost just once in the short sprint and notched up both African and Continental Cup titles for the Ivory Coast.
The field also includes Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, Nigeria’s fomer world and Olympic long jump silver medallist who was a Shanghai 100m winner back in 2015, plus a trio of up and coming US stars in national collegiate champion Aleia Hobbs, Continental Cup bronze medallist Jenna Prandini, and Ashley Henderson.
The Shanghai 400m races are equally enticing with world silver medallist, Steven Gardiner, looking to repeat last year’s victory in the men’s race against Qatar’s world bronze medallist, Abdalelleh Haroun, and the man he pushed into second in 2018, Isaac Makwala of Botswana.
Gardiner was among a select group of three men to go under 44 seconds last year. Akeem Bloomfield was one of the others and the Jamaican will also be in contention along with compatriot Nathon Allen and US trio Nathan Stroller, Michael Cherry and Fred Kerley.
In the women’s one-lap race, Bahrain’s world silver medallist Salwa Eid Nasser, takes on Poland’s European champion Justyna Swiety-Ersetic and teenage hurdles sensation, Sydney McLaughlin, who set multiple world junior records on the flat and over the barriers last year.
She’ll be joined by fellow US sprinters, Shakima Wimbley and Jessica Beard, while world and Olympic finalist Stephenie Ann McPherson goes for Jamaica.
The 2019 Shanghai Diamond League meeting on 18 May will feature 16 international events, nine for men (100m, 200m, 400m, 5000m, 110m hurdles, 400m hurdles, high jump, long jump, javelin) and seven for women (100m, 400m, 1500m, 3000m steeplechase, pole vault, shot put, javelin).