06 September, 2016

Who needs what to win in Brussels? Diamond Race Update

In the final Diamond Race Update of the season, we give you the full lowdown on who needs what to win the Diamond Trophy in Brussels.

After a sparkling evening in Zürich last Thursday, the IAAF Diamond League travels to Brussels this week for the second of its two final rounds. At the AG Memorial Van Damme, the remaining 16 Diamond Race winners of 2016 will finally be crowned.

A total of 31 athletes could still win the Diamond Race in Brussels. Several already have enough points on the board, while other competitions are balanced on a knife edge ahead of the final.

Winners in the wings

Six athletes already have enough of a lead in the Diamond Race to ensure that they are crowned champions in Brussels. Valerie Adams will collect a fifth Diamond Trophy in the women's shot put on Friday, while Conseslus Kipruto is set to reclaim his 2013 crown in the men's steeplechase. Triple jump star Caterine Ibargüen, meanwhile, is on course to pick up a fourth title.

Katerina Stefanidi (pole vault) and Orlando Ortega (110m hurdles) will both win the Diamond Trophy for the first time in their careers, and Alonso Edward has enough points to defend his title from last season.

Last minute shocks?

They may not be mathematically home and dry, but it would take something special to deny Madara Palameika (javelin), Piotr Malachowski (discus) and Almaz Ayana (5000m) overall victory in the Diamond Race. Palameika has a 14-point lead over Kathryn Mitchell, meaning she would need to finish fifth and Mitchell to take victory in order to be knocked off top spot. The same applies to Almaz Ayana, who is 14 points ahead of Hellen Obiri in the 5000m.

Piotr Malachowski looks equally sure of taking a fourth Diamond Trophy. His 17 point lead over compatriot Robert Urbanek means that he would need to finish 6th to give Urbanek a chance of winning.

Final duels

In five events, the Diamond Race has come down to one final duel between two athletes. In the men's 800m, Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich comes up against Pierre-Ambroise Bosse. With only a six-point lead, Rotich will need to finish ahead of his French rival to stay top of the standings and claim the Diamond Trophy. Asbel Kiprop (1500m) and Eilidh Doyle (400m hurdles) are in the same situation, with six-point leads over Elijah Motonei Manangoi and Cassandra Tate respectively.

In the men's long jump, Xinglong Gao and Fabrice Lapierre are level on 24 points each, with Gao ahead on number of victories. Whoever jumps furthest in Brussels will likely take the Diamond Trophy, though Damar Forbes could still make up the seven point gap if the two leaders falter. In the women's 400m, just three points separate Stephenie-Ann McPherson from Natasha Hastings, meaning whoever finishes higher will win the Diamond Trophy.

The headline duel, though, will be between Dafne Schippers and Elaine Thompson. Schippers won the 200m title in Zürich, but she will need a bit of luck to make it a Diamond Race double. Eight points behind Thompson, the Dutchwoman will need to win in Brussels and hope the Olympic champion doesn't come second.

Anyone's game

Perhaps the most thrilling event of all from a Diamond Race perspective will be the men's high jump. With only six points separating Bogdan Bondarenko in first from Robbie Grabarz in fourth, the competition is incredibly finely balanced. If any of Bondarenko, Grabarz, Mutaz Essa Barshim or Erik Kynard win in Brussels, they will be crowned Diamond Race champion.

3 days until #BrusselsDL! Will Bogdan #Bondarenko claim the #DiamondTrophy?

A photo posted by IAAF Diamond League (@diamondleagueathletics) on Sep 6, 2016 at 2:05am PDT