04 July, 2019

Lausanne: Five Questions

  • © IAAF Diamond League

Is Noah Lyles's final place in danger? Who will triumph in a stacked 5000m? And will there be another surprise in the men's long jump? The Road to the Final is hotting up as we head to Lausanne, and we have five questions which need answering at the eighth IAAF Diamond League meeting of the season on Friday evening.

1. Is Noah Lyles' place in the final in danger?

As the current Diamond Trophy holder, American superstar Noah Lyles is the undisputed favourite in a 200m line-up which also includes the likes of Ramil Guliyev and Andre De Grasse in Lausanne. 

Lyles also needs points if he is to ensure a place in the final and a chance to defend his Diamond Trophy later this summer. Having focused more on the 100m this term, he has run only one 200m on the Road to the Final so far, in which he came off second best to compatriot Michael Norman. 

That leaves him on seven points, lurking dangerously outside the top eight spots which guarantee passage to the Diamond League Final. Victory in Lausanne would go some way to remedying that situation, and keeping Lyles' title defence on course. 

2. Can Khaladovich bounce back?

Another Diamond Trophy holder currently fearing for their place in this year's final is 2018 women's javelin champion Tatsiana Khaladovich. 

The Belarusian has picked up just a single point on the Road to the Final thus far, courtesy of an eighth place finish in Rome last month. While China's Lyu Huihui has raced away from the competition with two wins in two, title defender Khaladovich currently sits in 11th in the standings, two points off a qualification place. 

With Lausanne and London the only remaining chances to pick up points, Khaladovich is in need of a big performance at one or the other. She will have her work cut out in Lausanne though, in field which contains the likes of Lina Muze, Liz Gleadle and five-time Diamond Trophy winner Barbora Spotakova. 

3. Who will be top dog in the 5000m?

The 5000m has been one of the most open battles on the Road to the Final so far, with three different winners in each of the three meetings so far. Selemon Barega and Telahun Haile Bekele will race in Lausanne despite having already nailed down their place in the final with victories in Oslo and Rome respectively. 

But they are not the only big names on the start list. Alongside those already qualified, there are a host of long distance stars who are yet to secure their place in the final, and will be out to pick up maximum points in Lausanne. 

Yomif Kejelcha, victorious in Shanghai, is sitting in mid-table with eight points to his name, while Uganda's Joshua Cheptegei sits just above him on nine. Others have more work to do, with the likes of Abdelaati Iguider, Paul Chelimo and Muktar Edris still outside the top 12 having not picked up any points at all so far this season. 

4. Who will be the first 400m hurdles finalists?

The women's 400m hurdles is always an eagerly anticipated event in Lausanne, especially when local hero Lea Sprunger is in town. This year, it could also prove to be the decisive meeting on the Road to the Final for many of the hurdlers, with nobody having secured qualification so far. 

Sprunger, alongside Amalie Iuel and two-time Diamond Trophy winner Zuzana Hejnova, is hoping to break into the top eight with a big performance in Lausanne, while Janieve Russell, Kori Carter and Ashley Spencer are looking to stay on course for qualification and narrow the gap to standings leader Dalilah Muhammad. 

Victory for any of the latter three may be enough to secure their place in the final eight, and a shot wresting the Diamond Trophy from Muhammad's grasp this year. 

5. Will there be another surprise in the men's long jump?

After last year's fireworks and some fine performances away from the circuit this year, all eyes remain on Diamond Trophy holder Luvo Manyonga and fiery pretender Juan Miguel Echevarria in the men's long jump. 

Both men were caught napping in Stockholm, however, as the little-fancied local boy Thobias Montler leapt to a surprise victory and delayed Manyonga's passage to the final. 

Montler will be absent in Lausanne, but Will Claye and Ruswahl Samaai will be among the big names looking to take the fight to the top two. Echevarria is the only jumper thus far who has secured his place in the final, but Manyonga, Samaai and Tajay Gayle currently occupy the top four and could join him with a hefty points haul on Friday.