Wednesday 28 October, 2020

Fraser-Pryce, Williams among 7 Jamaicans chasing diamonds on Friday

Two-time Olympic gold medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

Two-time Olympic gold medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

Red-hot Danielle Williams and two-time Olympic gold medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce are among seven Jamaicans down to compete at the Memorial Van Damme, the second of two 2019 IAAF Diamond League finals, in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.

The Memorial Van Damme will see another 16 diamond winners crowned.

The first 16 champions were crowned in Zurich last week and among that lot was Jamaican Shanieka Ricketts, who produced a thrilling upset win over world champion Yulimar Rojas in the women's triple jump to win her first IAAF Diamond League title 

With the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 starting on September 27, this year is the first in which the IAAF Diamond League has concluded ahead of a major global championships. It has slightly changed the dynamic of the season; whereas before the IAAF Diamond League finals have been an opportunity for athletes to either gain revenge on their rivals or prove their form following a major championships, this year athletes are using Zurich and Brussels to provide a glimpse of what to expect in Doha in three weeks’ time.

Not forgetting, of course, that each winner in Zurich and Brussels will pocket $50,000, a Diamond trophy and a wild card entry for the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019.

The action in the Belgian capital kicks off in the city centre on the eve of the main competition on Thursday when the men’s shot put takes place in Place de Brouckere.

The remaining Diamond League finals are scheduled for Friday.

Jamaica’s multiple world and Olympic gold medallist Fraser-Pryce is the big favourite to win the women's 100m. She has looked untouchable in almost all of her IAAF Diamond League 100m appearances this year. Another win in Brussels would land her with her first Diamond League trophy since 2015.

European champion Dina Asher-Smith once again looks to be her toughest opponent. The Briton finished second in the 200m in Zurich last week and beat Fraser-Pryce at that distance in Birmingham a few weeks ago. Blessing Okagbare can never be discounted. Marie-Josee Ta Lou is also in the field but looked to have picked up an injury at the recent African Games.

Jamaica's 2015 world champion Danielle Williams.

Williams ended Kendra Harrison’s 2019 winning streak in the 100m hurdles at the recent IAAF Diamond League meeting in Birmingham, so the world record-holder will be out for revenge in Brussels when she lines up against the 2015 world champion.

Tobi Amusan finished third behind Williams and Harrison in Birmingham, then went on to win at the African Games and the ISTAF meeting in Berlin. Two-time world indoor champion Nia Ali has similarly produced consistently good results in recent weeks, so will also be a factor.

The other Jamaicans chasing diamond trophies are Nathon Allen and Akeem Bloomfield in the men's 400m, Fedrick Dacres in the men's discus, Ronald Levy in the men's 110m hurdles and Natoya Goule in the women's 800m.

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