The athletics tracks in Eugene, Oregon are red hot this weekend, once again, for the final of the Wanda Diamond League.
The heat and speed of the tracks were on display during last year’s World Athletics Championships and the greatest athletes in track and field showcase their trade again for two days in Eugene for two days at the Prefontaine Classic at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field, which crowns the Diamond League year.
The track and field stars have been crisscrossing the globe these five months, entertaining with world-class action across four continents, and the season finale is here on Saturday and Sunday September 16th and 17th 2023.
32 champions of the 2023 Wanda Diamond League will be crowned in the coming two days.
Just check the high-flying list of track and field champions – US sprint star Noah Lyles; Kenyan distance legend Faith Kipyegon; Norwegian ace Jakob Ingebrigtsen; Femke Bol of the Netherlands; pole vault champion Mondo Duplantis of Sweden; world female sprint champion Sha’Carri Richardson of the US. The field is loaded to the hilt and they are all gunning for the Diamond Trophy.
Majority of the athletes have qualified for the final by earning points at the 13 Diamond League meetings throughout the season, while some are there on national or global wild card.
So the world’s fastest female and male athletes, Sha’Carri Richardson and Noah Lyles, will take centre stage the first day, Saturday, September 16 to headline their respective 100-metre races, as announced by The Prefontaine Classic in their programme.
Richardson won gold at the 2023 World Athletics Championships Budapest23 last week in both the 100-metres and 4×100-metres relay, and bronze in the 200-metres and she is ready for the short sprint in Eugene.
On his part, Noah Lyles, after winning 3 gold medals 100-metres, 200-metres, and 4×100-metres relay in Budapest badly wants to add the Diamond League trophy.
And so from 7.30pm Nigerian time on Saturday and Sunday, you can be sure of watching the best in track and field to crown the athletics season.
The events are loaded. The 100m men should see a clash between reigning Diamond League champion Fred Kerley, South African Akani Simbine, Kenya’s Ferdinand Omanyala, Botswana’s Letsile Tebogo, World champion Noah Lyles, Jamaicans Kishane Thompson, Ackeem and Yohan Blake, USA’s Marvin Bracy-Williams and Christian Coleman, and Joshua Hartmann of Germany,
Ivorian star Marie-Josée Ta Lou who was very consistent in the circuit this year in the women’s 100m is up against Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson, world champion Sha’Carri Richardson, UK’s Dina Asher-Smith and Imani Lansiquot, Zoe Hobbs of New Zealand, Natasha Morrison of Jamaica, USA’s Twanisha Terry and Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica.
Nigeria’s interest lies in the women’s 100m hurdles and long jump. Reigning world high hurdles champion Tobi Amusan did not successfully defend her world title in Budapest, what with her suspension by the Athletics Intelligence Unit weeks before the games which may have hampered her preparations because she was only free to compete just days before the championship began. But she must surely have something to say in Eugene and will not let newly crowned world champion Danielle Williams and Puerto Rico’s Jasmine Camacho-Quinn take victory for granted. After all, her world record was set on the same track last year. Amusan’s compatriot Ese Brume qualified at the last minute for Prefontaine and should not let Budapest 2023 repeat itself where she was pushed off the medals list. But she has to contend with a top field lead by Serbia’s Ivana Vuleta.
Other stars on the bill include Norwegian Karsten Warholm in the men’s 400m hurdles, Netherlands’ middle- and long-distance runner Sifan Hassan, Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela in the women’s triple jump and the US’s Ryan Crouser in the Shot Put and a host of others.