The first 16 Diamond League Champions of 2023 were crowned last night in what was a spectacular and classic athletics day, full of upsets but fulfilling its promise of providing top excitement for fans at the Hayward Field in the University of Oregon in Eugene, as well as the worldwide TV and media audience.
This final Diamond League of the year – the Prefontaine Classic – was all it was billed to be and more, and the hype was not misplaced, with surprises in winners and losers.
It is a winner-takes-all format, and the victor in each of the 32 events (16 for men and 16 for women) takes home the bragging rights as Diamond League 2023 Champion, with little or no recognition for second or third place.
The Wanda Diamond League Final winners take home diamond trophies and prize money of $30,000 in each of the 32 finals.
The current fastest woman and man in the world, who were expected to crown the year with titles, surprisingly lost last night.
It was joy for Shericka Jackson of Jamaica as she won the 100 metres women in 10.70 seconds, ahead of Cote d’Ivoire’s Marie Jose Ta Lou who came second, while another Jamaican, Elaine Thompson-Herah was third. World Champion Sha’Carri Richardson was a distant 5th. Jackson is the world 200 metres champion from Budapest and there are already questions if she can do the double in the 200m today.
The Men’s 100m was very hot too! Very!! It was won by American Christian Coleman in a world leading 9.83 secs, with world champion Noah Lyles doing 9.85 for second place, while Kenya’s Ferdinand Omanyala, who also had 9.85 seconds was given third. It is a second Diamond League title for Coleman.
Kirani James won his fourth Diamond League title in the 400m with a season’s best and world lead of 44.30. He had won the crown in 2011, 2015 and 2022.
Women’s Javelin did not disappoint, with Japan’s Haruka Kitaguchi throwing 63.78m for the win. Tori Peeters of New Zealand had 61.30m for second while Mackenzie Little of Australia threw 61.24m for third. Kitaguchi is the first Diamond League Champion from Japan and she caps an amazing year with the win.
It was also honeyed victory for men’s high jumper Sanghyeok Woo who became the first ever Korean Diamond League Champion. He won with 2.35m, to beat Norbert Kobielski with 2.33m and JuVaughn Harrison who also jumped 2.33m. The wining height is a Korean record for Sanghyeok Woo as it equals his Personal Best.
Men’s triple jump went to Italy’s Andy Díaz Hernández in 17.43m, with Hugues Fabrice Zango of Burkina Faso jumping 17.25m for second and
Donald Scott of USA came third with 16.84m. It is Diaz’s second successive Diamond trophy.
USA’s Rai Benjamin ran a world lead and Diamond League Record of 46.39s to win his first Diamond League trophy in the 400m hurdles men. He beat pacesetter Karsten Warholm of Norway who ran 46.53s.
Winfred Mutile Yavi of Bahrain won the women 3000m steeplechase in a spectacular time 8 minutes, 50.66secs which is an Area Record, Meet Record, World Lead and Personal Best as well as the second fastest time ever for the event! Kenya’s Simon Kiprop Koech took the title in the men’s 3000m steeplechase.
Another Kenyan, Faith Kipyegon is now a four-time champion, winning the 1500m women in another dominant race and meeting record of 3 minutes, 50.72secs, with Diribe Welteji of Ethiopia coming second and Laura Muir of Great Britain, third.
Czech Jakub Vadlejch delivered at another final, winning his third series title with 84.24m in the men’s javelin. India’s Neeraj Chopra threw 83.80m for second place and Oliver Helander of Finland came third with 83.74m.
There was a new world lead and meeting record by Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela in the Women’s Triple Jump to finish the season, jumping 15.35m, while Jamaicans Shanieka Ricketts had 15.03m PB in second, and Kimberly Williams jumped 14.61m (SB) for third.
American Chase Ealey threw a new women’s Shot Put national record to win her event.
Women’s Pole Vault soared to new heights as US’s Katie Moon jumped 4.86m to win with a meet record. Tina Sutej of Slovakia came second and Sandi Morris of the US was third.
Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen successfully defended his Diamond League title and set a new series record with a stunning 3:43.73 in the Bowerman Mile. That was the last event for Day 1.
Today, Sunday 17th September is the second and last day of the Diamond League Final at Eugene and the events include the women’s 100m Hurdles and Long Jump where Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan and Ese Brume respectively, will carry all the country’s hope for a winner.
The 16 events for today include Men’s discus, Men’s long jump, Men’s 800m, Women’s 5000m, Men’s pole vault, Women’s 400m hurdles, Women’s discus, Men’s 3000m and Women’s 400m. Others are Women’s long jump, Men’s 110m hurdles, Women’s 100m hurdles, Men’s shot put, Women’s 800m, Men’s 200m and Women’s 200m, which will be the last event.
IMAGE CREDIT: world-track.org, diamondleague.com