Thursday, 13 June 2013

IAAF Diamond League Arrives at Bislett Stadium – Event Preview


The ExxonMobil Bislett Games will take place on Thursday evening as the sixth stage of the 2013 IAAF Diamond League comes to the Oslo for the prestigious athletic event.

The Norwegian capital will welcome a host of world-class athletes to the Bislett Stadium and the star attraction is undoubtedly sprint superstar Usain Bolt of Jamaica.

The 26-year-old six-time Olympic and World champion is due to headline the meeting in contesting the 200m in the final event of the night, the same discipline he won back in 2011 with a time of 19.86.

Having won the 100m in a 9.79 meeting record here last year, Bolt will be making his seasonal debut over the half-lap distance and will be aiming to beat the 19.82 stadium record set by Nambia’s Frankie Fredericks in 1996.

His toughest competitor, meanwhile, is likely to be Norway’s Jaysuma Saidy Ndure, the European 100m bronze medallist.

Another competition sure to excite the crowds will be the women’s high jump, with Olympic and World champion Anna Chicherova taking on two-time World champion Blanca Vlasic.

Russian Chicherova, currently leads the world rankings by three centimetres with an impressive 2.02m clearance and comes into this competition fresh from victory in the Rome Diamond League
last week.

The winner here in 2006 and each year between 2008 and 2010 – Chicherova, 30, will have Vlasic to contend with, following her recent return to action after a long spell with an Achilles injury.

The 29-year-old Croatian took the honours at the New York Diamond League last month and currently leads the Diamond League standings so should put up a strong fight despite her modest 1.95m season’s best.

In the women’s 5,000m, Olympic 5,000m champion Meseret Defar will face her Ethiopian countrywoman Genzebe Dibaba as the latter hopes to replicate her victory from the Shanghai leg of the series over her 29-year-old rival.

The 22-year-old Dibaba currently leads the Diamond League standings and will be looking for more success in her transitional year up from the 1,500m event ahead of the World Championships in Moscow this August. 

Francine Niyonsaba looks a class apart in the 800m field, following her world-leading 1:56.72 victory in Eugene. The 20-year-old Burundi athlete leads the Diamond League standings and looks to be improving in both confidence and technique.

Determined to make amends for his disqualification in Eugene, Kenya’s two-time Olympic and world champion, Ezekiel Kemboi will start as the favourite to take the 3,000m steeplechase honours.

In the shortest event of the evening, Murielle Ahoure is the one to watch in the women’s 100m. The 25-year-old Ivory Coast sprinter won the 200m in Rome last week and the world indoor 60m silver medallist is in fine form.

One of the surprise stories of the season so far is 400m hurdler, Zuzana Hejenova. The 26-year-old Czech won in both Shanghai and Eugene and now the Olympic bronze medallist finds herself leading the Diamond League standings in what has been a breakthrough season.

Tero Pitkamaki threw a world-leading 87.60m in Shanghai and leads the Diamond League standings, but the 30-year-old 2007 world champion will face local hope Andreas Thorkildsen and Trinidad’s Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott in the javelin.

Two-time Olympic champion, Thorkildsen will be hoping the home-crowd support can lift him to an unexpected victory here.

In the 400m, 19-year-old Olympic runner-up Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic starts as the favourite, as does Ukrainian Olha Saladukha in the women’s triple jump.

The 30-year-old 2011 world champion and Olympic bronze-medallist is the current world-leader and will be hoping to go one better after two second-place finishes in Shanghai and Eugene.

Still on the in-field, Britain’s Shara Proctor could be the one to beat in the long jump, following the 24-year-old world indoor bronze medallist’s second place in New York and third in Rome, whilst
Brazilian world champion pole-vaulter, Fabiana Murer should take victory after earning the runner-up spot in New York.

Britain’s world indoor silver medallist, Tiffany Porter will be looking for the win in the 100m hurdles, as Kenya’s Bethwell Birgen starts as the favourite in the esteemed Dream Mile.   

Finally, in the men’s discus, Poland’s Piotr Malachowski will hope to impress following his world-leading 71.84m throw last weekend. The 30-year-old 2008 Olympic silver medallist also leads the Diamond League standings, whilst Germany’s European indoor champion Christina Schwanitz will be hoping to take the honours in the shot put following her win in Shanghai.

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