Stars ready to put on a pre-Tokyo show in Stockholm
Just three days after Karsten Warholm’s world 400m hurdles record on home soil at the Oslo Bislett Games, Sweden’s Mondo Duplantis will have the chance to emulate the feat when he lines up as part of another strong pole vault field at the Bauhaus-Galan in Stockholm on Sunday (4).
It will be two Wanda Diamond League meetings in four days for Duplantis and a number of other stars as they continue on their road to Tokyo, via Sweden.
In Oslo, world record-holder Duplantis broke the meeting record with his seventh winning six metre-plus clearance of the year, including indoor performances, as he beat the USA’s two-time world champion Sam Kendricks and France’s former world record-holder Renaud Lavillenie.
That was their 21st three-way clash and the trio meet again in Stockholm, joined by Poland’s world bronze medallist Piotr Lisek, US Olympic Trials winner Chris Nilsen, Asian champion Ernest Obiena and Sweden’s 2019 European indoor bronze medallist Melker Svard Jacobsson.
After his first-time clearance of 6.01m in Oslo, which came as part of a perfect scorecard up to that point, Duplantis had three attempts at 6.19m, which would have added one centimetre to his own world record set indoors in Glasgow in February 2020. “I really think I can get that record soon,” he said afterwards. “It will come this season.”
The home support and iconic Olympic Stadium venue could well make the difference this time, with 3000 spectators permitted to attend.
Another field events star with experience of Stockholm who will also be keen to put on a show will be Cuba’s world indoor long jump champion Juan Miguel Echevarria, whose marginally wind-assisted 8.83m leap in 2018 forced organisers to have to extend the long jump pit.
This time he will compete against Jamaica’s world champion Tajay Gayle, whose national record mark of 8.69m is one centimetre further than Echevarria’s wind-legal best.
Gayle has jumped 8.27m this season, while Echevarria’s best so far this year is 8.38m. European indoor silver medallist Thobias Montler competes on home soil, with the field also featuring South Africa’s world bronze medallist Ruswahl Samaai.
Among those adding to the quality in the field events is New Zealand’s shot put great Valerie Adams, as the two-time Olympic, four-time world and five-time Diamond Trophy winner returns to Diamond League competition for the first time since 2018.
In February the 36-year-old threw 19.65m for her longest throw for five years and what she described at the time as a “post-two-babies PB” following the birth of her daughter in 2017 and son in 2019. Stockholm is the next step on her journey to her fifth Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Portugal’s European indoor champion Auriol Dongmo has thrown 19.75m this season and the pair will be joined by Maggie Ewen and Chase Ealey, who will be looking to prove a point after finishing fourth and fifth respectively at the US Olympic Trials to miss out on Tokyo.
Fresh from their matching 65.72m final round throws in Oslo and top battle in Kuortane, Sweden’s world champion Daniel Stahl and Slovenia’s European U23 champion Kristjan Ceh will again go head-to-head in the discus, with Simon Pettersson also throwing on home soil.
The women’s high jump features Ukraine’s Yaroslava Mahuchikh and Australia’s Oceania record-holder Nicola McDermott, who have both cleared 2.00m this season, while the women’s long jump includes many of the athletes to have competed in Oslo, including winner Malaika Mihambo, Germany’s world champion, and Serbia’s runner-up Ivana Spanovic.
Cheruiyot looks to bounce back
After a strong start to the season at the Doha Diamond League where he set the world 1500m lead of 3:30.48, world champion Timothy Cheruiyot could only finish fourth at the Kenya Olympic Games Trials.
He will be looking to bounce back from that as he returns to Stockholm after his wins there the past two years and takes on a field featuring Qatar’s Adam Ali Musab, who ran 3:32.41 earlier in the year in Doha, plus Kenya’s world indoor 3000m bronze medallist Bethwell Birgen and Spain’s Ignacio Fontes.
Kate Grace was also competing after Olympic Trials disappointment in Oslo and that fuel helped drive her to victory in a PB of 1:57.60. Cuba’s Rose Mary Almanza ran a PB of 1:56.42 in Ordizia last month for a performance which places her second on the world rankings, while Catriona Bisset broke the Oceania record with 1:58.09 in Chorzow before finishing fourth in Oslo.
Natoya Goule won the Jamaican title in 1:57.84 and British teenager Keely Hodgkinson ran 1:58.89 in Ostrava in May and races for the first time since her British title win in Manchester.
In the men’s 800m, Kenya’s world bronze medallist Ferguson Rotich lines up alongside world silver medallist Amel Tuka, Britain’s Jamie Webb and Elliot Giles and Sweden’s Andreas Kramer, while the women’s 3000m steeplechase includes 2015 world champion Hyvin Kiyeng and world record-holder Beatrice Chepkoech, who finished top two in Kenya’s Olympic trials, plus Germany’s two-time world medallist Gesa Felicitas Krause.
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