June 17, 2015: The Diamond Race has reached its halfway point. The tables are beginning to take shape, and it looks set to be a nail-biting second half of the season. After seven meetings, only a handful of athletes have managed to establish a comfortable lead in their respective tables.
There are joint leaders in three of the 32 individual Diamond Races, with the women’s javelin and the men’s 200m looking particularly close. In both disciplines, three athletes are tied on four points and one win.
In the women’s javelin, Christina Obergföll, Lu Huihui and Maharyata Dorozhon lead the pack with four points and and one win each. Three time Diamond Race winner Barbara Spotáková is trailing with only one point in sixth place.
In the men’s 5000m, meanwhile, Ben True’s surprise victory in New York meant that Thomas Longosiwa was unable to pull clear of Ethiopian rival Hago Gebrhiwet in the points table, with both men now tied on five point and one win.
Even in those Diamond Races which have seen a single athlete take a lead at the top of the table, there are some agonizingly close points gaps going into the half time break. Perhaps most surprisingly in the men’s high jump. With Bohdan Bondarenko yet to claim a victory, one might expect Mutaz Essa Barshim to be soaring into the lead. Not so, thanks to Zhang Guowei, whose shock win at Oslo put him within two points of the Qatari.
Bondarenko will have his work cut out to catch either man in the second half of the season, with only two points to Barshim’s nine.
The men’s discus sees two well known faces in Piotr Malachowski and Robert Urbanek taking it to the wire with nine and eight points respectively. The men’s shot put is nearly as close, with David Storl establishing a two-point lead over Joe Kovacs, both with two wins under their belt. In the women’s pole vault, the enthralling New York clash between between Fabiana Murer and Nikoleta Kyriakoupolou was illustrative of a season long head to head. Murer currently has a two point lead over her Greek rival.
In the men’s long jump, meanwhile, Greg Rutherford’s victory at Oslo put him three points clear of two time Diamond Race winner Aleksandr Menkov, putting the Brit in a great position to claim his first ever Diamond Trophy.
Some of the most open ended Diamond Races, though, are to be found back on the track. It appears that both the women’s 110m hurdles and the men’s 400m hurdles will be decided by a three way fight, with Johnny Dutch and Jasmin Stowers both enjoying a narrow lead over two other athletes.
In the women’s 3000m Steeplechase, Hiwot Ayalew and Hyvin Kiyeng are joint second, with seven points to Virginia Nyambura’s ten.
There are, of course, a number of athletes who have succeeded in stamping their authority on the 2015 Diamond Race for whom the 2015 Diamond Trophy is now theirs to throw away. Sandra Perkovic has more Diamond Race points than anyone in this season, having won four out four meetings in the women’s discus. Elsewhere, Caterine Ibargüen has been predictably dominant in the women’s triple jump. The Cuban triple jumper Pedro Pablo Pichardo is in the form of his life, with a record 18.06m jump in Doha and a record winning margin of 81cm in Rome. Diamond Trophy holder Christian Taylor will do well to make up the six points which separate him from his pretender.
By his own standards, Renaud Lavillenie’s four point lead in the men’s pole vault is relatively small as he aims for a sixth consecutive Diamond Trophy. A four point lead should be enough to build on in the second half of the season, though. Likewise for 400m leader Francena McCorory, whose victory in New York was her third in this year’s Diamond Race.
In the vast majority of disciplines, it is truly too close to call. 2015 may yet see some of the closest Diamond Races ever. —- IAAF DL
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