Track & Field

Flying Felix; Brilliant Barshim; Super Stowers; Top 10 of the Diamond League, part 1

Seven down, seven to go. With the Diamond League on hiatus in recent weeks to accommodate such events as the US Championships and European Team Championships, we now prepare to get back on track with meeting number eight in Paris this weekend. To mark the halfway point in the calendar, we take a quick look back and count down the 10 best performances to date. This is part one of two.

10) Ayanleh Souleiman; Mile (3:51.10), Eugene

It was the race in which almost all of the big men in world miling toed the line, but only one could emerge as top dog. In the end, it was Djibouti’s Ayanleh Souleiman who proved himself equally brave and brainy when dominating the Bowerman Mile. Souleiman was happy to be the target man over the last 300 metres, sweeping to the lead and controlling the race throughout the final lap, showing the astute tactical awareness that made him world indoor champion last year. In the home-stretch duel, he held off Matt Centrowitz, the late-charging Asbel Kiprop and Silas Kiplagat to take a well-deserved win.

9) Allyson Felix; 200m (21.98), Doha

The undisputed queen of the 200m, Allyson Felix showed she intends to maintain her supremacy over her speciality distance this year by opening her Diamond League campaign with a sub-22-second clocking in Doha. The three-time world champion and reigning Olympic champion powered clear of a world class field to run the fastest time over 200m since her own 21.88 to win the Olympic title in London. Top class running from a top class athlete.

8) Yomif Kejelcha; 5000m (12:58.39), Rome

What were you doing when you were 17 years old? Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha – one of the breakout stars of the season to date – is traversing the world, racing on the Diamond League circuit and defeating most of the world’s best distance runners. Kejelcha announced himself in explosive style at the Rome Diamond League in early June, carving more than 12 seconds off his 5,000m personal best when kicking past countryman Hagos Gebrhiwet down the home straight to take victory in the fastest time of the season to date, 12:58.39. Though ages of young East Africans are often unreliable, 17-year-old Kejelcha could be set to dominate the event in the coming years. He is extremely tall, extremely skinny and most importantly of all, extremely fast.

 7) Mutaz Essa Barshim; High Jump (2.41m), Eugene

Under a searing sun at the Prefontaine Classic in Hayward Field last month, Mutaz Essa Barshim soared high, clearing a meeting record of 2.41m. Such is Barshim’s consistent brilliance over the past year that almost every time the Qatari takes to the high jump runway, a clearance in excess of 2.40m is widely expected, if not demanded. In Eugene, Barshim cleared 2.35m and then having passed the next height, he watched Chinese rival Zhang Guowei go clear at 2.38m. Barshim duly rose to the occasion and then cleared 2.41m, which has him 3cm clear of the rest of the world this season. The world record is rarely safe with this man is on the runway.

6) Jasmin Stowers; 100m hurdles (12.35), Doha

When 23-year-old American Jasmin Stowers went to Doha for the opening Diamond League of the season, she was still very much an unknown quantity on the international circuit, but it took just 12.35 seconds for her to announce herself as an athlete of the very highest calibre. “It’s been a sensational start to the season,” said Stowers afterwards, and it was.


Check out part two here.

Goucher competing at the USATF Championships. Image: PhotoRun
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Cathal Dennehy

Cathal Dennehy

Cathal Dennehy is a freelance journalist, a once-serious, now-retired athlete who writes for a number of international publications in the running industry. He previously worked for the Sunday Tribune, Irish Runner magazine and has written for the Sunday Independent, Irish Independent, Irish Examiner and the Guardian. He is also a regular contributor to Runner's World.
His banter levels are often poor, occasionally exceptional.

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