2023 Diamond League: Brussels

World Records On Alert At Diamond League Memorial Van Damme In Brussels

World Records On Alert At Diamond League Memorial Van Damme In Brussels

With one meet to go before the finale, the sport is officially on world record watch in three events at the Diamond League Memorial van Damme on Friday.

Sep 5, 2023 by Joe Battaglia
World Records On Alert At Diamond League Memorial Van Damme In Brussels

With one meet to go before the Diamond League finale, the sport is officially on world record watch in multiple events as the premier tour stops in Brussels for the Allianz Memorial van Damme meeting on Friday.

The 47th edition of this event will have no shortage of star power as 13 champions, 17 silver medalists and 10 bronze medalists from the recently concluded World Championships in Budapest will feature on the start lists.

Among those, all eyes will be on Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway, Shericka Jackson of Jamaica, and Mondo Duplantis of Sweden, who will all be looking to write their names at the top of the record books.

For Ingebrigtsen, that record attempt will come at the rarely contested 2000m distance, which seemingly falls squarely in the wheelhouse of the two-time 5000m world champion and Olympic 1500m gold medalist. The mark of 4:44.79 was set by Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco in 1999, a year before Ingebrigtsen was even born.

Worlds has not been kind to the brash 22-year-old in the 1500m, as he was upset in Budapest by Great Britain’s Josh Kerr a year after suffering the same fate against Great Britain’s Jake Wightman in Eugene. After the race, Ingebrigtsen revealed that he was felled by a virus in between the semifinal and final rounds. Although he later recovered enough to kick to a come-from-behind win to retain his 5000m crown, the shelf life of this 2000m world best may depend on whether Ingebrigtsen is indeed physically all the way back to his confident self.

According to Athletics Weekly, in establishing the world mark El Guerrouj clocked splits of 57.9, 1:55.4,2:52.4 and 3:49.6 with estimated 1500m and mile times of 3:35.3 and 3:50.9. Top competition in the field for Ingebrigtsen, who holds the European record of 4:50.01, figures to come from Abel Kipsang of Kenya, Elliot Giles of Great Britain, Niels Laros of the Netherlands, and Worlds 1500m bronze medalist Narve Gilje Nordas of Norway.

Shifting to the women’s sprints, another of the highlights from the World Championships was Jackson’s blistering victory in the 200m in 21.41, which trails only Florence Griffith-Joyner’s world record of 21.34 set at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. 

Could the fast track and electric atmosphere of King Baudouin Stadium provide Jackson, who won the 200m in Zurich last week easily in 21.82, with the spark that adds up to the seven-hundredths of a second between her PB and history? 

Past performances by other Jamaicans indicate that it’s not out of the realm of possibility. Yohan Blake ran 19.26, second only to Usain’s Bolt’s world record of 19.19 all time, for 200m at this meet in 2011. Merlene Ottey’s meet record of 21.64 from 1991 is still on the books. Her top competition figures to come from American Jenna Prandini, who has a PB of 21.89, and Daryll Neita, who ran on Great Britain’s bronze-medal-winning 4x100m. An interesting late addition to the field is hurdler Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of the Puerto Rico.

Moving over to the jumping apron, the men’s pole vault world record is never safe when Duplantis is on the runway. The 23-year-old Louisiana-born Swede, who has cleared the six-meter mark 50 times, has raised the mark six times and 2¼ inches over the last three seasons to its current standing of 6.22m/20-4¾. After securing his second Worlds gold, Duplantis took three attempts at 6.23m, just skimming the bar off on his final two attempts.

Duplantis, who owns the meet record of 6.05m/19-10, will be challenged by some familiar faces from the final in Budapest, including silver medalist and 2022 Brussels winner Ernest John Obiena of the Philippines, and bronze medalists Chris Nilsen of the U.S. and Kurtis Marschall of Australia. 

While world records in the remaining events appear to be secure, many of the sport’s other stars will be looking to take a step closer to winning Diamond League titles in their respective disciplines in Brussels, which is the last meeting before the season series finale moves to the U.S. for the first time at the Prefontaine Classic September 16-17. 

In the men’s 200m, 19-year-old American Erriyon Knighton will be looking to add to his Diamond League leading points total and repeat as Brussels winner against a strong field that includes World Championships finalists Zharnel Hughes of Great Britain, Kenny Bednarek of the U.S., Olympic champion Andre DeGrasse of Canada and former University of Florida star Joseph Fahnbulleh of Liberia.

Worlds silver medalists Matthew Hudson-Smith of Great Britain appears on paper to be the overwhelming favorite in the men’s 400m, another event where the Diamond League title is very much up for grabs. His top challengers will be former NCAA champion Quincy Hall, a member of the U.S. gold-medal-winning 4x400m in Budapest, and 20-year-old Havard Bentdal Ingvarsen of Norway, who finished sixth at Worlds.

The women’s 400m hurdles will be a World Championships rerun of sorts with gold medalist Femke Bol of the Netherlands toeing the line against Jamaica’s Rushell Clayton, who won bronze in Budapest. Three other Worlds finalists – Anna Cockrell of the U.S. and Janieve Russell and Andrenette Knight – are also in the field here.

The women’s field events will feature high-quality matchups between World champions and runners up. Yaroslava Mahuchikh of Ukraine will take on Eleanor Patterson of Australia in the high jump; American Chase Ealey will throw down against Canada’s Sarah Mitton in the shot put; and Haruka Kitaguchi of Japan will square off against Flor Ruiz Hurtado of Colombia in the javelin.

Other Worlds medalists to look out for include Kenyan 800m gold medalist Mary Moraa versus American 400m hurdles silver medalist Shamier Little and 400m bronze medalist Sada Williams of Barbados in the wonen’s 400m; silver medalist Daniel Ebenyo of Kenya in the men’s 10,000m; silver medalist Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk of Ukraine in the women’s triple jump; and bronze medalist Ben Pattison of Great Britain in the men’s 800m.

The women’s 100m never disappoints, especially with a start list that includes Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah, Sashalee Forbes and Natasha Morrison, as well as Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith, American Tamara Clark, and Zoe Hobbs of New Zealand, all of whom have broken 11 seconds this season.

Notable American competing include Worlds finalists Bryce Hoppel in the men’s 800m and Elise Cranny in the women’s 5000m, Tori Franklin in the women’s triple jump, and Taliyah Brooks in the women’s long jump.