London Diamond League 2019 Overview

The Müller Anniversary Games at the London Stadium, East London, was the tenth Diamond League meeting of the 2019 season. There were a lot of impressive performances, especially from the athletes of Great Britain, such as Lynsey Sharp winning the 800m and Dina Asher-Smith clocking another sub 11 seconds for second-place in the 100m.

Muir Triumphs on Home Soil Again

Laura Muir won another competitive 1500m race on a UK track with two of her training partners. After a cagey start, where no athlete wanted to push on, the speed was only evident come the last lap. Only the German Konstanze Klosterhalfen could even come close to matching the Scot’s strength and tenacity. But with 200m to go there was no doubt as to Muir’s victory. 

The slightly breezy conditions meant that Muir’s race strategy to kick late was perfect. It’s another confidence boost leading into the 2019 World Championships.

Local Athlete Excels

Laviai Nielsen, the multiple 400m relay medalist, was competing on her home track. Growing up “10 minutes away”, she felt the crowd urge her on. She started very quickly, and was leading going into the final turn of the one-lap race. Although she couldn’t keep her lead to the end, she finished third with a huge personal best of 50.83 seconds. She is also the fastest 400m British woman this season. She achieved this by “running her heart out”.

Norweigan Records Fall

In the men’s 5000m race the young Jakob Ingebrigtsen lined up against imperius East African competitors such as Ethiopia’s Hagos Gebrhiwet and Kenya’s Rhonex Kipruto. Ingebrigtsen stayed behind the leaders for three-quarters of the race but made his first move with three laps to go. He remained patient and made a decisive move with 600m to go. Although he wasn’t quite able to respond to Hagos Gebrhiwet’s final push, his performance was remarkable. His time of 13:02.03 was over six seconds quicker than the previous Norweigan record set over 15 years ago. It was the first senior national record for the charismatic Norweigan. At only 18 years old he continues to impress; his future will surely be littered with more records. 

Filip Ingebrigtsen followed his younger brother’s performance the following day with another national record. This time it was the mile. The 26-year-old lead during most of the final lap, but Ethiopia’s Samuel Tefera won by 0.15 seconds. Still, the Norweigan broke his older brother, Henrik’s five-year record by over a second.

Monaco Diamond League 2019 Overview

The second half of the Diamond League 2019 season continued at Monaco recently. Conditions were warm and windless in the city-state on the French Riviera. The glamour of the area was matched with some astonishing results.

Give Your Best Only When You Need to 

As focused as athletes should be on the start line of any race, it’s vital to stay tuned to the environment. This was demonstrated perfectly in the 400m men’s race. After a false start three athletes ignored the gun signalling the race had stopped. Before halfway, one athlete realised. But two continued running hard, unaware of the lack of competitors around them. 

Jonathan Jones of Barbados ran a personal best only for it not to be officially registered. Neither him nor Anthony José Zambrano of Columbia retarted the race. No wonder – their exertion had effectively rendered another competitive effort impossible.

Another Woman to Contend Sprints

Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas put a strong case forward for contention at the World Championships later in the year. Despite not leading for the first half of the race the Commonwealth 200m champion showed her strong stature as she powered along the final straight. In the process she beat Dafne Schippers and Elaine Thompson.

Miller-Uibo is the seventh woman to win either the 100m or 200m Diamond League race* this season. These performances show the depth of quality of female sprinters. But as it stands the World Championships schedule only allows athletes to compete in one of the two sprints. Decisions will need to be made. More importantly, top form must be reached in order to secure a medal.

World Records are Always Possible

Nijel Amos of Botswana showed once again how powerful he can be in the 800m, leading from the start. Although his form started to waver on the final straight, his time of 1:41.89 is less than a second away from the world record. His brave performance was his third Diamond League win of the season, establishing a new meeting record and world leading time.

As preparation for more to come, Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands broke the 23-year old 1- mile world record. After a relatively slow first half Hassan began to show her class. Whilst gritting her teeth and flailing her arms, her legs were metronomic. She recorded her final two laps in 61.93 seconds and 62.20 seconds to smash the field by over 5 seconds. Such is her form and confidence, Hassan even predicted a greater margin pre-race. It proves that even splits do not always get the best out of athletes, and that world records are always possible if athletes believe enough. It was an especially fitting performance in honour of Gabriele Grunewald

* Excluding non-scoring Diamond League races.

Lausanne Diamond League 2019 Overview

The Swiss city of Lausanne was the location of the eighth Diamond League meeting of the 2019 season. The headquarters of the International Olympic Committee are also situated there. In the warm 27 °C conditions there was every chance that the competition would heat up.

Self-Belief Extends Winning Streak

After winning all three previous Diamond League meetings this season, in Doha, Rome and Rabat, Salwa Eid Nasar was expected to dominate the one-lap event. She stormed out of the blocks and kept passing athletes on her outside as she approached the final straight. However, Aminatou Seyni of Niger in lane four closed on Eid Nasar, spurring her competitor on, before falling short by two-hundredths of a second. 

In running her season’s best the Bahraini 21-year-old also broke a 23-year-old meeting record, maintaining her dominance in the event. Her season has so far been near perfect, becoming the 400m Arab and Asian champion and improving her season’s best at every meeting she has won. She is certainly the woman everyone is aiming to dethrone.

Grit Sometimes Wins Out

The women’s 800m race was contested between Nelly Jepkosgei of Kenya and Halimah Nakaayi of Uganda. With 200m to go the two East Africans broke away and fought for top spot. Although inevitably strong athletes, their ambitions overwhelmed their thoughts. Their form and technique appeared to be secondary. Their heads shook, arms flailed and facial expressions were anything but relaxed. But both achieved a sub-two-minute time to impress the Swiss crowd.

Sadly, the Swiss athletes could only manage fourth, fifth and seventh on home soil.

Always Aim for the Right Mark

The consequences of not counting the laps you’re racing is that you misjudge your effort and lose the race. That’s what happened to Ethiopia’s Hagos Gebrhiwet in the 5000m. He shot off halfway through the penultimate lap, only to celebrate and stop. By the time he reacted to his competitors continuing to race he had lost all momentum. He finished in tenth place. What was most shocking was that he is an experienced middle-distance athlete, having won multiple medals at World Championships and taken victories at multiple Diamond League meetings.

Meanwhile in the men’s 200m event Noah Lyles stormed to his second victory of the Diamond League season after his 100m triumph in Shanghai. The charismatic American was looking for a time closer to 19.4 seconds, which he and his coach had been working on. But by focusing on excellence he still managed to finish in 19.5 seconds, winning by almost half a second. He also recorded a new personal best and world leading time in the process. Not only that, he achieved a new meeting record, usurping none other than Usain Bolt’s previous mark.

Stanford Diamond League 2019 Overview

Instead of Oregon’s city Eugene playing host to the seventh Diamond League meeting of the season, Stanford University in California was the location for the (Steve) Prefontaine Classic. Notable athletes shone in the sun at the halfway stage of the annual elite series.

Top Honours for American Men

Unsurprisingly there was much anticipation for how those on home soil would perform. Christian Coleman stormed to 100m victory in 9.81 seconds. Michael Norman extended his unbeaten form in the 400m race, by maintaining his speed during the last 100m, with compatriots completing the top three. Paul Chelimo’s effort in the two-mile event was also impressive, storming to second place in the last 150m to almost take victory. 

But it was Raj Benjamin who made the most impact on the Cobb Track. His consistency over the hurdles and strength over the final bend and straight meant he won the single-lap event by almost two seconds. Interestingly, he spoke post-race about focusing on technique rather than speed. For him, he proved that both are intrinsically linked.

New Sprint Name Emerges

Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare surprised an astonishingly fast field to win the 200m women’s race, in a season’s best of 22.05 seconds. Dina Asher-Smith, Elaine Thompson and Dafne Schippers could only watch on. The former Commonwealth Games 100m and 200m champion maintained a strong upright posture, and, with a high knee lift, broke the tape in lane eight. 

However, it was not as shocking as first thought. Okagbare’s 100m victory two weeks previous in Rabat against another sprint legend Marie-Josée Ta Lou showed her capacity to beat the best. These performances only add more intrigue to the upcoming World Championships in Doha.

Semenya Proves Her Dominance Again

The famous South African Caster Semenya extended her four-year winning streak at 800m races. It was her 31st consecutive victory over the two-lap event. She accomplished it with apparent ease. She lead from the front and even overtook the pacemaker early in the second lap.

Despite the ongoing controversial legal case with the governing body of the sport her athletic performances have been outstanding. Her 1:55.70 was almost three seconds quicker than anyone else and was a new meeting record. Afterwards it appeared as if she hadn’t even exerted herself that much. She remains the gold standard at the distance and it will be a massive shame if she doesn’t compete at the 2019 World Championships.

Rome Diamond League 2019 Overview

The Italian capital Rome played host to the fourth Diamond League meeting of 2019, last Thursday. More British superstars were challenging themselves early in the season and testing their recent block of training. Unfortunately the Brits had to settle for second place as the opposition outclassed them on the night. It is a reminder that the 2019 World Championships will be hard fought.

Asher-Smith Frustrated but Realistic

Despite beating double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson in last week’s Stockholm 200m race, the Jamaican got revenge in the 100m. Asher-Smith flew out of the blocks and was leading through halfway, but in the last 20-30m Thompson stayed composed and relaxed to win by 0.05 seconds.

Post-race, Asher-Smith reflected that she always aims to win races but this was her best start to any track season. After all, she has only produced sub-11-second performances five times and knows that she can still improve over the closing stages of the race. 

Muir Admits she can Run Faster

Unlike in Stockholm where Muir dominated the entire race, the 1500m field was much larger and more frantic from the start. Within the first 150m Muir had to hold off the pace to save herself from falling. This meant it took her longer to get to the front of the pack. By halfway she was in touching distance of the pair of Ethiopians, Dibaba and Tsegay. With 200m to go Muir took second place from Tsegay but could not overtake the current world indoor champion and current world record holder for 1500m.

Dibaba won by 2-3m but Muir should be proud – she was only a second behind her personal best. Post-race Muir admitted that she could run faster and that her training didn’t produce the results she feels she can. The important aspect is that the Scot has time to improve.

Pozzi Returns to Form 

Andrew Pozzi also had to accept second place, achieving a season’s best of 13.29 in the 110m hurdles. More impressive though is Pozzi’s admission of his mental health issues and the recent life-changing decision to move to the southern Italian city of Formia with legendary sprint coach Santiago Antunez.

His pursuit of greater success has meant he has only just begun his journey to reinvent his technique and speed.


It was a night to remember for the second-place finishers as USA’s Noah Lyles, accustomed to winning sprints, couldn’t quite overtake his compatriot Michael Norman at the line. However, at this stage of the season coming second is vital, if only to spur athletes on to win gold when the time comes.

Stockholm Diamond League 2019 Overview

The Swedish capital of Stockholm hosted the third Diamond League meeting of 2019 last Thursday. The windy and chilly conditions made the racing more challenging. But the quality field still shone considering it is so early in the track season.

Asher-Smith Triumphs Again

After her 200m victory in Doha (the first Diamond League meeting of 2019) British superstar Dina Asher-Smith produced another superb performance against more accomplished opponents. Asher-Smith was almost half a second faster than double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson and over half a second faster than multiple world champion Dafne Schippers.

Although still early in the season, Asher-Smith’s confidence will be rising with that world-leading time. As she explained post-race she must be able to win come September at the World Championships, as “the rest of the world will be [in better shape]”. But, knowing she can beat her rivals, at any time of the season, could be the boost that she needs to continue her outstanding form.

Muir Returns with Style 

Despite her bronze medal at the Westminster Mile late in May, where she never dominated the race, Laura Muir reverted to her front-running in the 1500m race. She stayed patient behind the pacemaker for half the race. Then with one lap to go Muir accelerated and won comfortably by over four seconds.

Muir’s training at altitude in St. Moritz, Switzerland, has already pleased the Scot. But as she mentioned in a recent interview she will need to remain smart with how she selects her races leading up to the World Championships in Doha. After all, she aims to win her first world outdoor track medal of her already impressive career.

McColgan Races Hard Despite Personal Challenges

Eilish McColgan returned to racing at 5000m after “feeling healthy again” and “a runner”. She ran strong throughout the 12.5 laps of the Stockholm Olympic Stadium, maintaining a quick cadence until the line. She finished seventh and was the first Brit home, beating some notable names such as Yasemin Can, Alina Reh and Anna Emilie Møller.

Most impressive is that McColgan demonstrated professionalism and courage. This, all in the aftermath of the shocking burglary of her precious medals from her property in Manchester.