Sprinter Yohan Blake returns to Diamond League action in Switzerland where a number of exciting head-to-head clashes are on the cards
A total of 17 Olympic and world champions are due to be among the athletes in Athletissima action on Thursday as the Diamond League stops in Lausanne for the seventh leg of the 2014 series.
Having spent time out injured in 2013, Yohan Blake will be keen to assert dominance over 200m as the second fastest-ever man over that distance runs a half lap of the track at a Diamond League meeting for the first time in nearly two years.
The 2011 world 100m champion set his 100m PB of 9.69 at this event two years ago and this year, over double the distance, he faces the likes of fellow Jamaican Nickel Ashmeade – winner of the 200m event in Doha in May – as well as Qatar’s world indoor 60m bronze medallist Femi Ogunode and France’s European 100m champion Christophe Lemaitre, who returns to competitive action following injury that ruled him out of last month’s Bislett Games and European Team Championships.
There is set to be an exciting head-to-head clash in the men’s 400m as Olympic champion Kirani James goes up against world champion LaShawn Merritt. The last time the pair met James pipped Merritt in a photo finish in Eugene to go one up on the American in their head-to-head record – six victories to Merritt’s five. Chris Brown, Kevin Borlee and Tony McQuay are also among those racing.
Also back in action is Genzebe Dibaba who will be looking to return to her winning ways over 3000m as the world indoor champion could only manage sixth over this distance in Doha in May after many dominant performances indoors including world records over 1500m, 3000m and two miles. It won’t be easy though, as the Ethiopian faces the likes of Mercy Cherono – the quickest of the field – plus Viola Kibiwot and Almaz Ayana who were among those to beat her in the Qatari capital.
Fresh from her 10.91 PB at the US Championships, Tori Bowie will face Michelle-Lee Ahye of Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell-Brown over 100m. The men’s event is not a Diamond League race but features Tyson Gay, who returns from a one-year doping ban, and Justin Gatlin. Britain’s sub-10 man James Dasaolu is due to make his outdoor season debut following injury in the ‘B’ race where he’ll have his sights set on the European qualification mark of 10.14.
Pascal Martinot-Lagarde, Orlando Ortega and Sergey Shubenkov all run the 110m hurdles, while Britain’s Rhys Williams goes up against the likes of Javier Culson and Felix Sanchez over 400m over the barriers. Following her victory at the British Championships in Birmingham, Lynsey Sharp faces world champion Eunice Sum over 800m.
Over in the men’s high jump and four men who have been over 2.40m or more outdoors – Mutaz Essa Barshim, Bohdan Bondarenko, Ivan Ukhov and Derek Drouin – do battle, with Bondarenko and Barshim both having cleared 2.42m in New York. Olympic champion Greg Rutherford is one of three men with season’s bests over 8.40m in the long jump, the Brit having leapt the furthest of those in the Lausanne field so far this summer.
Renaud Lavillenie and Valerie Adams will be looking to continue their dominance in the pole vault and shot put respectively, while Piotr Malachowski is among those to contest the discus and Barbora Spotakova the javelin.
Five-time world T54 champion Marcel Hug will be keen to impress in front of a home crowd as he races over 1500m. Britain’s Bobby Clay and Amy Griffiths are involved in a junior 1500m, while a GB women’s quartet is due to contest the 4x100m.
» Startlists can be found here, with action due to be televised live on the BBC Red Button from 17:00-19:00 for fans in the UK