U.S. And NCAA Champs Galore To Duel At Mo Farah's Last Ever London DL

U.S. And NCAA Champs Galore To Duel At Mo Farah's Last Ever London DL
Photo: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The 2017 London Anniversary Games this Sunday will be many athletes' last chance to compete in London before the World Championships in August, and we'll be seeing tons of "Worlds preview" races with U.S. and NCAA stars galore. Here's what's about to go down.

Women's 800m: Lipsey is back and favored for the win


8:40 AM ET (13:40 local)

After running a stunning 1:57.38 in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Thursday to become the sixth-fastest American ever, Charlene Lipsey is returning to the track to face three other Americans and the host country's best in Rio sixth-placer Lynsey Sharp. Unlike in Lausanne, however, Lipsey will have the fastest PR in the field here, and she won't be joined by any of the Rio Olympic medalists (who haven't lost to anybody but themselves since the start of 2016).

Many of the other Americans in the field will be looking to run fast, and after just running a season-best 2:00.37 at the TrackTown final in New York on Thursday, 2016 Olympian Chrishuna Williams will have the best chance to challenge. Kendra Chambers will look to rebound after taking last in that same TrackTown final, and Laura Roesler still has the second-best time in the field this season with her 1:59.54 back in April, which she'll be looking to improve upon.

Men's 1500m: Blankenship faces strong Kenyan and British challengers


8:50 AM ET (13:50 local)

On the top end, this race lacks the world-beaters such as Kiprop (who will be running the 800m) or Manangoi, but still holds some top Kenyan talent in Bethwell Birgen and Vincent Kibet, who went 3-4 at Doha--both running 3:32, a pretty darn good time for early May. 

In a reminder of how inconsistent and unpredictable pro 1500s can be, the top American in this race, Ben Blankenship, has gone from 12th at the U.S. Championships in Sacramento, CA, to first at the Portland Summer Series to third at the NY TrackTown final, all against very similar top domestic fields. In London, he'll face a much tougher field than all three of those races. Charlie Grice, who ran 3:57 as an 18-year-old, finished just fifth in the British Championships, but he'll get a rematch with the 2017 British victor Chris O'Hare on Sunday.

Men's 400m Hurdles: Two-thirds of your Team USA, the reigning Olympic champ, and the world leader will convene for about 48 seconds


9:03 AM ET (14:03 local)

Rio Olympic champ Kerron Clement hasn't quite been himself since that gold medal moment, not having won a single race this year and finishing progressively worse in his three Diamond League outings. He will look to turn things around against Turkey's Yasmani Copello, who was second and third in his two previous DLs this year, and complete that podium set with a win in London.

Meanwhile, Eric Futch and Michael Stigler--1-2 finishers at the U.S. Championships, respectively--are both making their Diamond League debuts at this meet, and what better place to do it than where they will race at Worlds in just a month. Both have a decent shot to win, but they'll first have to beat the British Virgin Islands' Kyron McMaster, who ran a blazing 47.80 world lead in Kingston, Jamaica.

Men's 200m: The U.S. 400m champ challenges the U.S. 200m champ and seven sub-20 men


9:13 AM ET (14:13 local)

Ameer Webb upset Christian Coleman at the U.S. Championships to take the 200m crown, and Webb will have to prove himself again in London as he'll face a slew of sub-20 men and the U.S. and NCAA 400m champ in Fred Kerley. This will be Kerley's first 200m since April, and though his PB is "only" 20.45, look for him to take that down considerably against strong international competition in London, in what will be his first race as a professional.

France's Christophe LeMaitre, Churandy Martina of the Netherlands, and Jamaica's Rasheed Dwyer all have PRs of 19.81 or better and will look to be front-runners in this race.

Women's 100m: Thompson vs. Schippers could be the matchup of the night


Heats 7:35 AM ET (12:35 local), Final 9:40 AM ET (14:40 local)

Jamaica's Elaine Thompson has been on a complete tear, going undefeated and sub-11 in all of her six 100m races (including heats!) this year. The only person possibly capable of putting that streak to an end would be the Netherland's Dafne Schippers, who won 200m gold at the last World Championships and is also undefeated at 100m this year, despite getting off to a slower start in her 200m races.

Several Americans will also headline the field should they make it to the final, including 200m world team member Kimberlyn Duncan and Morolake Akinosun, who will look to avenge her devastating fourth-place finish at USAs in the 100m. Past Worlds silver medalists Jenna Prandini (in the 4x100m, 2015) and Murielle Ahouré (in the 100m and 200m, 2013) will also have a shot to mingle with fast times up front.

Women's 400m: Allyson Felix makes her DL 400m debut


9:49 AM ET (14:49 local)

Allyson Felix headlines this event against several American compatriots and Jamaicans. Felix didn't run the 400 at USAs due to having a wild-card entry to Worlds, so she's actually only run one 400 this year, a 50.52 win in Jamaica. With five sub-50 women on the start list, there's a good chance it'll take faster than that to win on Sunday. One of the contenders looking for a PR is Shamier Little, whose flat PR of 51.06 dates back to 2014. However, she's coming off a fantastic No. 9 all-time performance in the 400 hurdles at USAs. Former NCAA champs Courtney Okolo and Natasha Hastings also have a chance to compete against the Jamaican sub-50 duo of Shericka Jackson and Novlene Williams-Mills, who was recently the only track and field athlete to be featured in ESPN's Body Issue.

Men's 800m: Two national champions, who also won NCAAs and who both ran 1:43 as well, duel against Kiprop and Amos


9:58 AM ET (14:58 local)

This may be the race of the meet for fans of the NCAA, as just on Thursday it was announced that 2017 NCAA champ Emmanuel Korir of Kenya will finally race against 2016 champ Donavan Brazier. The similarities between Brazier and Korir are immense, having both run 1:43 and won NCAAs in their freshman years of college and both being fresh off winning their respective national championships. They'll be joined by American Erik Sowinski, who ran just a 0.1 of a second off his lifetime PR at the NY Summer Series on Thursday with a 1:44.6.

Though the head-to-head race between them will be intense, the battle for the win may be even more so, with miler Asbel Kiprop stepping down in distance to contest Poland's Adam Kszczot and Botswana's Nijel Amos, who looks to finally be returning to something close to his 1:41 form after a win at the Paris DL. Britain's Jake Wightman is in the field as well with a 1:45.8 SB, and coming off a shocker 1500 DL win at Oslo earlier his year, he will look to do the impossible and attempt a repeat win for his home crowd.

Women's 100m Hurdles: Keni goes for the WR as a very deep American field will duke it out once again


Heats 8:24 AM ET (13:24 local), Final 10:17am ET (15:17 local)

This very well could be the race of the meet, as two of the three Rio Olympic medalists plus the world-record holder, plus all of the top three at this year's U.S. Championships, could all be in the same final. Despite not making the Olympics last year, WR holder and 2017 U.S. champ Keni Harrison is the one to watch, as she's coming off a very fast (we're talking top 10 all-time fast) 12.28 at her last race in Hungary. She's said repeatedly that she thinks she can go faster than her own world record of 12.20, and if conditions allow it, this could be the perfect meet to break that time. The rest of the American contingent, save Bri Rollins who is still suspended from competition, will all be in London, including Nia Ali, Kristi Castlin, Christina Manning, and Shakira Nelvis, who is coming off a nice win in Lausanne.

Men's 110m Hurdles: Your complete Team USA is here and ready to roll


Heats 9:22 AM ET (14:22 local), Final 10:28am ET (15:28 local)

Devon Allen traveled all the way to Paris last week only to be disqualified for a false start. He will look to rectify that performance with a nice time in London against reigning U.S. champ Aleec Harris and world-record holder Aries Merritt, who's been on a long journey back to form since his kidney transplant. However, it looks like this could be the year Merritt returns to the top of the world, as he finished second at the U.S. champs and took a nice win at the Rome Diamond League. Harris got a win over some big names at the U.S. Championships, and he'll be facing most of them (5 of 8, to be precise) again in London.

The top international contenders are Britain's Andrew Pozzi and France's Garfield Darien, who is coming off a 13.09 PB and win at Ostrava.

Women's Mile: Laura Muir is back, but she'll be truly tested in this one


10:38 AM ET (15:38 local)

British sensation Laura Muir is running her first 1500m/mile post-injury here, and with Brit Jenny Meadows on the pacing duties and Pre runnner-up Hellen Obiri to challenge, Muir will be truly tested in her main event for her home crowd. She's clearly fit coming off a 1:58 800 PR in Lausanne, and though a win against this field would be less shocking than her DL wins last year, it would still be an incredible feat. Muir currently holds the second-fastest British mile of all time with a 4:19.82, and she'll need a 4:17.57 or better to break Zola Pieterse's 32-year-old national record.

Kenya's Winny Chebet went 3:59 for 1500 to take second in Rome which should give her the best 1500/mile SB of the field. The U.S. Championships' 1-2 of Jenny Simpson and Kate Grace have a shot to rematch and face the world's best -- if either of them break 4:20, they're already in U.S. all-time No. 2 territory. Steph Garcia is coming off a successful string of domestic races following fourth-place disappointment at USAs, and she will look to PR just behind. 

Men's 3000m: Mo Farah runs (and most likely, wins) his last ever London DL


10:48 AM ET (15:48 local)

Though it isn't a Diamond League event, the men's 3000m will close off the meeting for the night, and it has the potential to be great for the five Americans on the start lists. Perhaps by design, there is no prohibitive East African favorite in the field, meaning four-time Olympic champ Mo Farah has a very good chance to end his last London DL appearance with a win. But behind him, America's Ryan Hill, Eric Jenkins, Hassan Mead, Andy Bayer, and Riley Masters will all be looking to run fast. It's unlikely that the pace will allow Ryan Hill to break his super-fast 7:30.93 PB from the Paris DL last year, but a time in the low-7:30s range is certainly possible if the Kenyan pacers execute correctly. This race could serve as redemption for Bayer after a devastating third consecutive fourth-place finish at the USAs steeplechase.
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