July 2, 2013
The second half of the IAAF’s Diamond League (DL) track and field season gets under way when the 38th edition of the takes place on Thursday, July 4th in Lausanne, Switzerland.
If you are American, you hopefully have the day off from work (July 4 is the USA’s Independence Day) and should be able to follow the action live from two to four pm ET (That’s 19:00-21:00 BST). Now don’t worry, if family duties or a July 4th parade cause you to miss the meet, we’re still working on the holiday for you free of charge. In fact, we’ve actually sent someone to Lausanne to cover the meet in person.
The order of the Diamond League meets was changed this year and as a result, the DL events on Thursday are very similar to the ones held on Sunday in Birmingham. Normally they tend to alternate events from meet to meet (men’s 1,500 one meet, women’s 1,500 the next) so you get the same event in the same gender every other Diamond League meet. But this one has virtually the same events that occurred just 4 days prior. In looking at the 16 Diamond League events offered in Birmingham and Lausanne, they are exactly the same event and same gender for 14 of them. The only difference is there was a men’s long jump in Birmingham and there is a women’s in Lausanne and there was a women’s pole vault in Birmingham and a men’s in Lausanne.
That’s not to say the action won’t be interesting, as Birmingham was a great meet and there are some key additions/subtractions in a number of events.
We preview the men’s and women’s mid-d and distance action for you below. We preview them in reverse chronological order as we started with the most interesting events first. You can see a full schedule/start lists here. The IAAF’s preview is here.
3:42PM ET: Men’s 800: Mohammed Aman’s Task Gets A Lot Harder As Olympic Silver Medallist Nijel Amos Makes His 2013 Debut
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After last year’s Olympic 800 final, where everyone around the globe was mesmerized by David Rudisha‘s incredible run, it didn’t take us long to notice, “Hey, that guy in second isn’t that far behind him.”
Forget about enjoying the present, a huge part of the being a track and field fan is the search for the next “great one.” The 18-year-old guy in second in London in a new world junior record of 1:41.73 is potentially the next “great one” – Botswana’s Nijel Amos.
One of the biggest story lines heading into 2013 was, “Will Amos be able to make inroads on Rudisha?”
We haven’t been able to find ou,t as first Amos and then Rudisha went down with injuries. Rudisha is still out, but Lausanne marks Amos’ return to the circuit after after missing a month with a quad injury. Amos got injured earlier this year before he even raced an 800, but he did seemed poised for big things as ran a big 45.66 400 personal best at 4,400 feet altitude (altitude can actually help in the 400) in Potchefstroom, South Africa in March.
However, in April, Amos missed a month due to the quad injury. On May 28th, Amos said on runafricadotcom, “I was out for about a month with a quads (sic) injury. I resumed training three weeks ago but I can’t race as I am not yet in good shape.”
One June 18th, he ran a modest 48.79 400 in Algeria. Has he truly lost that much (from 45.66 to 48.79 for 400?)? Or was he just testing the quad out to see how it felt? We’ll start to find out on Thursday in Lausanne.
In Lausanne, Amos will face a very stiff test as Ethiopia’s Mohammed Aman is in the field and Aman has emerged as the leading 800 runner so far this year in Rudisha’s and Amos’s absence. Aman has run the 2nd-fastest time of the year (1:43.61) and won five of six races, including DL victories in Eugene, Rome and Birmingham.
Brandon Johnson Gets His Test
The rest of the field is full of quality and it includes US third placer Brandon Johnson who comes in after a big 1:43.97 personal best at the US Trials in Des Moines. This will be Johnson’s first Diamond League appearance in his life as an 800 runner (he did run Monaco as a 400 hurdler in 2008). At 1:43.97, Johnson is the eighth-fastest man in the world so far this year. The 7th-fastest man in 2013 is also in the field. France’s 21-year-old Pierre-Ambroise Bosse ran 1:43.91 to become the surprise runner-up to Aman in Rome, but comes into Lausanne after a disappointing fourth place showing at the European team champs. At the European team champs, Olympic finalist Andrew Osagie of Britian beat him (Osagie was third). Osagie is here as well.
South African Andre Olivier, who was the runner-up to Aman twice in the last week (on Thursday in Ostrava and on Sunday in Birmingham), is in the field. Pay close attention to Poland’s Marcin Lewandowski, the 2011 4th placer at Worlds, as he races here for the first time on the DL circuit in 2013.
Quick Take (QT) #1: Whether Amos wins or not isn’t that important. If he’s competitive and looks good, he’s still got more than a month to improve for Worlds.
QT #2: We know Aman has been winning everything in sight but he’s been racing a lot (this is his third race since last Thursday) and working very hard to win. He also hasn’t run faster than 1:43.61. We’re far from convinced that he’ll be be able to keep it up at Worlds in a month.
QT #3: Johnson’s rise to the top of the US ranks has been sudden. In his second season as an 800 runner, he already is one of just 15 Americans to have broken 1:44.00. If he PRs by .13 here, he’ll be in the top 10 all-time for the US.
The US’s 15 Sub-1:44 Men
1. 1:42.60 Johnny Gray USA
2. 1:42.82 Duane Solomon USA
3. 1:42.95 Nick Symmonds USA
4. 1:43.20 Mark Everett USA
5. 1:43.35 David Mack USA
6. 1:43.38 Rich Kenah USA
7. 1:43.5y Rick Wohlhuter
8. 1:43.62 Earl Jones
9. 1:43.68 Khadevis Robinson
10. 1:43.84 Alan Web
11. 1:43.92 John Marshall
11. 1:43.92 James Robinson
13. 1:43.92 David Krummenacker
14. 1:43.97 José Parilla
14. 1:43.97 Brandon Johnson
2:50PM ET: Men’s 5,000: A Great Clash Between The Top Ethiopians, Including Alamirew Versus Gebremeskel
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The men’s 5,000 on Sunday in Birmingham was one of the better 5,000s you’ll ever see. After winning there, double Olympic champ Mo Farah is taking the week off, but the top two Ethiopians from that race are racing here – 2013 world leader Yenew Alamairew as well as 19-year-old Hagos Gebrhiwet.
Since Alamirew was much better than Gebrhiwet over the final 200 on Sunday and also beat Gebrhiwet in Rome, we have a good idea how their matchup will play out. But this race is full of intrigue because three other powerful Ethiopians have been added to the mix.
The biggest new addition is none other than the Olympic 5,000 silver medallist from last year in Dejen Gebremeskel. Gebremeskel put up a world-leading 10,000 last Thursday in Sollentuna, Sweden, so he is in great form even if he may still be a little bit tired from that 10,000. He’ll be looking to make amends for his only other attempt at 5,000 this year, a disastrous 13:31 in New York.
Muktar Edris, the winner of the 5,000 in Hengelo and last week in Ostrava over Lawi Lalang and Kenenisa Bekele, is here. Edris, the 2012 world junior champion and 2012 world junior bronze medallist in cross-country, will be looking to get under 13:00 for the first time in his career.
2012 Olympic 10,000 bronze medallist Tariku Bekele races for the first time since disappointingly finishing 12th in the 10,000 in Eugene in 27:38.15. This is his first 5,000 and only second race of the year.
World half marathon record holder Zerseney Tadese runs on the track for the first time this year after having given up on the marathon for the time being.
QT #1: Three big things for us here:
#1 is how do Alamirew and Gebremeskel match up with each other?
#2 What direction does Hagos Gebrhiwet go? He’s been headed in the wrong direction his last couple of races.
#3: How do the DL 5,000 newcomers Edris, Tadese, Bekele, etc. look?
QT #2: Tadese, who has won 5 World Half/20k titles during his career, isn’t great at 5,000, but he could be a factor in the 10,000 in Moscow. Last year, he was sixth in the 10,000 in London, so it will be interesting what sort of form he shows here.
QT #3: Americans, you’ll have one US citizen to root for in this one on the most patriotic of days – July 4th – although it’s a tiny bit complicated. 2013 NCAA third placer Diego Estrada, who (while a US citizen) ran for Mexico in the Olympics last year, makes his DL debut here. He’s listed on the entry form as USA but it should be MEX as he is planning on running Worlds for Mexico this year.
QT #4: Alamirew, Gebrhiwet and Edris are the top three Ethiopians on the year in the 5,000 in terms of time. Gebremeskel is obviously a force as well and Bekele is no slouch. This race could decide their World Championships team. There is one other DL 5,000 before Worlds and that’s on July 19th in Monaco.
QT #5: The Kenyans aren’t here (well, one is, but he’s a 3:33 1,500 runner with no 5,000 personal bests) and have been racing less this year which is a smart thing. Their World Championship Trials are July 13th. Stay home, get your final prep work in and maybe go to Monaco on July 19th if you make the team. Meanwhile, the Ethiopians are racing a ton.
2:10PM ET: Women’s 1,500: The Abebe Aregawi Show Continues
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2013 world leader Abebe Aregawi isn’t losing this race. In Birmingham, there was only one other woman on the start line within 5 seconds of her seasonal best. There, despite not feeling well, she blew everyone away over the final 200. Even if she’s still under the weather, Aregawi should still win here as no one is within 5.5 seconds of her seasonal best time of 3:56.60 here.
The #3 seed based on 2013 seasonal bests is former Villanova star Sheila Reid of Canada, who ran 4:02.96 at Pre. Reid is looking to rebound after finishing a disappointing third at a slow Canadian champs.
Four Americans are racing in Lausanne on their nation’s birthday. 2009 Worlds bronze medallist Shannon Rowbury runs her first race since finishing 4th in the 1,500 and third in the 5,000 at USAs. If USA third place Cory McGee doesn’t get the “B” standard of 4:09.00, then Rowbury can run the 1,500 at Worlds.
Americans Gabriele Anderson and Morgan Uceny will be hoping the pace is more honest up front than it was on Sunday in Birmingham where they ran just 4:07.98 and 4:08.49 respectively.
Lea Wallace, who went out in the semis of the 800 of the US Trials and was 7th in the Birmingham 800 over the weekend, is racing here.
2:26PM ET: Women’s Steeplechase: Milcah Chemos Leads The Way As Higginson Goes For The “A”
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Four of the top five from Sunday’s Birmingham steeple are racing in Lausanne. 2013 world leader and Doha and New York winner, Lydia Chepkurui, is wisely taking this one off after losing in Rome, Morocco and Birmingham.
QT #1: Kenya’s Milcah Chemos won in Rome, Ostrava and Birmingham over many of these same competitors, so she’s certainly the woman to beat.
QT #2: 2013 US runner-up Ashley Higginson is the lone American in the field and will certainly be cheered on by USA third-placer Shalaya Kipp from afar. Meanwhile, fans of US fourth placer Jamie Cheever will be hoping Higginson doesn’t do well. Let us explain.
2013 USA winner Nicole Bush has the World Championships “A” standard of 9:43.00 and Higginson already has the “B” of 9:48.00 so Higginson is already going to Moscow.
Kipp, the third placer at USAs, only has the “B,” so she can’t go to Worlds unless she or Higginson gets the “A.” If Higginson get it (or Kipp down the road gets it), then Kipp goes to Worlds as the US can send two “A”s and one “B.”
What about Cheever? Well, the fourth placer Cheever already has the “A” so she’s going to Worlds if neither Kipp or Higginson get the “A.” But Higginson is safe no matter what.
QT #3: Father Time seems to be catching up with 2008 Olympic champ Gulnara Galkina, who also is in the field. Galkina, who turns 35 next Tuesday (July 9), ran 9:30 in her first steeple in early June and then 9:47 in her second and 9:48 in Birmingham.
More Lausanne: LRC Felix Sanchez Is Was A Nervous Distance Runner Just Like You, What it Bolt and Gay Raced Each Other Like the High Hurdlers? How Many Montshos are There in the World, and Jeter Still Bringing It To celebrate the 4th of July we got carried away and have two non distance articles from Lausanne. We delve into the 100 vs 110 hurdles, Gay vs Bolt, unsponsored 32 year old Ryan Wilson making his first World team and more. Give it a read and tell your family you need to watch track from 2-4pm on the 4th.
Press Conference: LRC Tyson Gay Talks About Usain Bolt, Being Healthy, And Jon Drummond’s Absence As He Begins His 2013 European Campaign On July 4th
America’s best is looking for a big performance on his nation’s birthday as he is healthy for the first time since 2007 and dreaming of beating Usain Bolt, whom he hopes is at his best in Moscow. Gay also reveals he no longer is working with Jon Drummond.