24 May, 2017

Eugene: 5 Things To Look Out For

  • Kirby Lee ©

Ahead of the third round of the 2017 IAAF Diamond League, we take a look at some of the key battles set to play out at Hayward Field on the Road To The Final.

1. Can De Grasse do away with Doha disappointment? (100m M)

Canadian star Andre De Grasse got off to a disappointing start in the 100m in Doha, coming only fifth and picking up just four points on the Road To The Final. Competing a little closer to home this time, the US resident will be out to get a few more points on the board in Eugene. It will be no easy task, however, with the likes of Justin Gatlin and Bingtian Su – who won the non-Diamond League 100m in Shanghai – also in the running at Hayward Field.

2. Javelin jump-start (Javelin W)

While almost all other Diamond Disciplines already got underway in either Doha or Shanghai, the women's javelin will set off on the Road To The Final in Eugene. With no points won yet, everything is up for grabs, and a superb line-up awaits javelin fans in Eugene. Friday night will see four time Diamond Trophy winner Barbara Spotakova take on current holder Madara Palameika. With the likes of Sunette Viljoen also in the mix, could this first round prove to be a dry run for the IAAF Diamond League Final later in the summer?

3. Merritt out for first win in title defence (400m M)

Lashawn Merritt is one of the most successful athletes in Diamond League history, having won the Diamond Trophy on no less than three occasions, most recently last season. His title defence didn't quite enjoy an explosive start in Doha, as he finished behind Steven Gardiner in the 400m, picking up just seven points rather than a maximum of eight. Merritt will expect to reach the IAAF Diamond League Final whatever happens, but he will be keen to get a first win on the board on home soil this week.

4. Who can make their mark in the High Jump? (High Jump W)

Like the javelin, the women's high jump is yet to get underway this season, and Eugene will be the first opportunity to see who can take control on the Road To The Final. With Olympic champion and Diamond Trophy holder Ruth Beitia the favourite, the likes of Levern Spencer, Airine Palsyte and Chaunte Lowe will be looking to put in an early challenge to the Spaniard's recent dominance.

5. Lavillenie looking to fight back (Pole Vault M)

The men's pole vault got off to an intriguing start at the first qualifying meeting in Shanghai this month. Seven-time Diamond Trophy winner Renaud Lavillenie could only manage second place behind US rival Sam Kendricks. The two men go head to head again in Eugene, and Lavillenie will be looking to get a first win on the board – he is unbeaten at the Prefontaine Classic since 2013. The field will be another fearsome one, with the likes of Shawn Barber, Raphael Holzdeppe and Olympic Champion Thiago Braz also competing at Hayward Field.