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World and Olympic champions on parade for Diamond League

World and Olympic champions on parade for  Diamond League
Ackeem Blake

Another thrilling night of athletics is expected as the second stop in the Diamond League series takes place in Suzhou, China, on Saturday, 27 April 2024. How to watch the Shanghai/Suzhou Diamond League 2024 Live Stream. You May have to use a VPN at this link – Diamond League YouTube page

Men’s 100m
The men’s 100m is expected to be a close affair. Despite winning last week in Xiamen, American Christian Coleman was unsatisfied with his execution and has another opportunity to make it right. His compatriot Fred Kerley has expressed his need for speed, having done a lot of work in the gym over the past few months. Coleman and Kerley have each won two out of their four head-to-head matchups.

Jamaica’s Yohan Blake, the 2011 world champion, deserves the utmost respect for his resilience and longevity, especially rebounding from a career-threatening injury over a decade ago. Unfortunately, Blake, who announced the Paris Olympics would be his last hurrah, withdrew from this event at the last minute. Last week in Xiamen, Blake complained about feeling discomfort in his hamstring.

While not yet the finished product, Ackeem Blake, Yohan’s namesake, has shown great potential. Having recently taken his first world medal, 60m bronze behind Coleman in Glasgow, Scotland, his hunger for success has tripled. Ackeem will be hoping for a better showing than last week. South Africa’s Akani Simbine is also in the field.

Men’s pole vault
Armand ‘Mondo’ Duplantis’s world record of 6.24m in the pole vault last week in Xiamen is still fresh. Believe it or not, the Swedish superstar is confident he can go higher, giving the true definition of the term –‘the sky is the limit’. With the slow handclaps adding to the excitement, an expectant crowd awaits another jaw-dropping performance from the athlete, who has cleared 6m on over 50 occasions.

Men’s 110m hurdles
The men’s 110m hurdles, the marquee event, will bring the curtains down. Four finalists from the Budapest World Championships, including Olympic champion Hansle Parchment, will face the starter. Parchment looked sluggish while finishing a disappointing sixth in Xiamen in his season opener. His form generally improves with each race, and an improvement could be on the cards. Daniel Roberts looked smooth en route to victory in Xiamen; another clinical display could be in store. His compatriots Cordell Tinch and Freddie Crittenden, as well as Japan’s Shunsuke Izumiya, will make it a close encounter.

Women’s 100m hurdles
It will be an instant replay in the women’s 100m hurdles as the same stellar cast from the week before in Xiamen has been reassembled here in Shanghai. Nonetheless, reigning world champion Danielle Williams will be pushing for a higher place this time. So too would Tobi Amusan, the world record holder, who finished fifth in Xiamen. Olympic champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, who admitted she is getting back to her Tokyo form, will be looking to maintain her winning streak. World indoor 60m hurdles champion Devynne Charlton, who started like a freight train last time, will aim for a gun-to-tape performance. With Olympic bronze medallist Megan Tapper and world finalist Ditaji Kambundji also present, a cracking event is in store.

Women’s 200m
The withdrawal of world champion Shericka Jackson has robbed this event of its star quality. Nevertheless, Sha’Carri Richardson, the 100m world champion, will have another opportunity to work on her endurance. Great Britain’s Daryll Neita, Twanisha Terry, Tamara Clark and Anavia Battle will ensure Richardson’s biggest competition does not come from the evening breeze.

Women’s 400m
Reigning world and Diamond League champion Marileidy Paulino looked commanding on her way to victory in Xiamen last week. She hinted at having the world record (47.60) in her crosshairs this year and will take on world indoor and outdoor bronze medallists Alexis Holmes and Sada Williams, respectively, in that quest. Paulino is one of only 13 women in history to have broken the 49-second barrier and successfully defended her Diamond League crown in Eugene last September. Barbadian Williams, who looked sluggish last week, will aim for a better showing. Jamaica’s Stephenie-Ann McPherson makes her long-awaited season debut.

Men’s high jump
Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim is a high jump icon. With more world titles than anyone else in history, including three world outdoor titles and the Olympic crown in Tokyo, he is box office material. Barshim, a three-time Diamond League overall winner, could not compete in the indoor season due to hip and back injuries. Now healthy again, he will face America’s Shelby McEwen, who defeated him in Xiamen on countback and newly crowned world indoor champion Hamish Kerr. Jamaica’s Christoff Bryan gets another opportunity to experience high-class competition to aid in his development.

Men’s long jump
The men’s long jump is shaping up to be an electrifying event. Only one participant, Marquis Dendy, has achieved 8m this season. However, the 2016 World Indoor champion will not have things his way. Hometown favourite Jianan Wang will have the entire stadium cheering for him. The 2022 world champion will have to contend with 2019 champion Tajay Gayle, from Jamaica, and the silver and bronze medallists from this year’s World Indoor Championships in Mattia Furlani and Carey McLeod. Jarrion Lawson, who won a silver medal in the 2017 World Championships, will also feature.

Women’s long jump
In a mouthwatering women’s long jump contest, a galaxy of stars will take the runway in what could be a dress rehearsal for the Paris Olympic final. Ivana Španović, a six-time Diamond League final winner and reigning world champion, will face off with the podium cast from Budapest and a host of global medalists. American Tara Davis-Woodhall, the newly minted world indoor champion and silver medallist from Budapest, and bronze medallist Alina Rotaru-Kottmann could provide Španović with the stiffest challenge. The line-up includes Fátima Diame, who won the World Indoor bronze medal, and Ese Brume, who has won multiple world medals.

Women’s shot put
The decibel level inside the stadium should go up several notches during the women’s shot put as home favourite and Olympic champion Lijiao Gong takes on all but one of last year’s top eight in the Budapest World Championships, led, of course, by two-time world champion Chase Jackson. The contest is expected to be fierce between the two. Jackson has won the last three Diamond League finals and successfully defended her world crown in Hungary. However, the in-form Sarah Mitton, the 2023 world silver medallist, who took world indoor gold in Glasgow, beating Yemisi Ogunleye and Jackson to the title, will be taking no prisoners in Suzhou and will be looking for an important victory.

With 2019 world bronze medallist Danniel Thomas-Dodd, 2021 Diamond League champion Maggie Ewen, and 2023 world bronze medallist Jessica Schilder also in the field, an enthralling contest looms.

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