Evan Jager, Jenny Simpson Set For World Rematches In Brussels DL Final

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The final IAAF Diamond League meeting of 2017 is upon us, as the world's best athletes converge on Brussels, Belgium, for part two of the Diamond League finals this Friday. The first half of the Diamond League finals took place last Friday in Zurich, Switzerland, which you can read about here.

Winners of each event in Zurich and now Brussels receive the Diamond League trophy and a check for $50,000 USD. The full payout is as follows:

1st -- $50,000
2nd -- $20,000
3rd -- $10,000
4th -- $6000
5th -- $5000
6th -- $4000
7th -- $3000
8th -- $2000

Read on for more details about top events to follow and check back to FloTrack on Friday at 1:00 PM CT for live updates of the action.

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Men's 3K Steeplechase: Evan Jager Gets His Gold Medal Rematch With Conseslus Kipruto

Who:
Evan Jager, Conseslus Kipruto, Soufiane El Bakkali, Amos Kirui, Stanley Kebenei
When: 2:00 PM CT
Why: Despite rumors of injury, Kenya's Conseslus Kipruto overtook frontrunner American Evan Jager in London to win his first IAAF World Championships title, a pretty feat to match his Olympic gold in the steeplechase from Rio last summer. Jager will get his rematch at the Diamond League final in Brussels, with dreams of not only gold but of shattering his own American record, set two years ago in 8:00.45. The 28-year-old is certainly in form to do it, having raced a world lead of 8:01.29 in Monaco, also the site of his first ever Diamond League victory. The Olympic silver medalist will also have to overtake 21-year-old Soufiane El Bakkali of Morocco, who relegated the American to silver at the World Championships in London earlier this month.

The Brussels meeting one year ago saw Kipruto beat out Jager for the win, 8:03.74 to 8:04.01. El Bakkali was just ninth in that race.

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Women's 1500m: Can Faith Kipyegon Stay On Top In Worlds Redux?

Who: Faith Kipyegon, Jenny Simpson, Sifan Hassan, Dawit Seyaum
When: 2:23 PM CT
Why: Kenya's middle distance golden girl Faith Kipyegon has been nearly perfect over the last calendar year, capturing gold in both the Olympics and also the world championships in back-to-back years in the 1500m. Yet the field in Brussels is nearly as stacked as the London World Championships final, with just bronze medalist Caster Semenya, fourth-placer Laura Muir, and world record holder Genzebe Dibaba missing. In addition, Kipyegon's worst race in the past year was in Zurich for the final Diamond League event of the 2016 season, where she placed just seventh overall and four seconds behind American Shannon Rowbury.

Rowbury isn't entered in Brussels, but Jenny Simpson is. The U.S. champion surprised many when she earned silver in London -- the fourth global championship medal of her career -- by expertly timing her kick down the homestretch. Not many can say they've out-kicked Semenya, but Simpson can.

Hassan went too hard, too soon in the world final and could not sustain her pace in the final stretch. Has she learned from her tactical error? The Netherlands athlete and Nike Oregon Project disciple has run the top three fastest times in the world this year and is the only woman to defeat Kipyegon in 2017, thanks to an inspired race at the Paris Diamond League in July.


Ethiopia's Dawit Seyaum could be the surprise victor. The 21-year-old was not selected for the World Championships team due to injury, but is currently in form and running well. She won the Birmingham 1500m two weeks ago in 4:01.36 over many of the women entered here, including Simpson, who was just seventh.

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Women's 100m: Can Ta Lou Steal The Glory From Thompson Again?

Who: Elaine Thompson, Marie-Josée Ta Lou, Michelle-Lee Ahye, Morolake Akinosun
When: 2:45 PM CT
Why: Who would have guessed that Marie-Josée Ta Lou of Côte d'Ivoire would earn two individual medals at the IAAF World Championships this summer, while Rio's double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson of Jamaica would come away empty-handed? Thompson unfortunately took ill in London, but even so not many would have predicted the rise of the petite 28-year-old, who was twice a fourth-placer in Rio. But several weeks removed from worlds and Thompson looks to have resumed her prior form, defeating Ta Lou 10.93 to 10.97 in Birmingham.

If either of the favorites falters, beware Michelle-Lee Ahye of Trinidad and Tobago, who has now twice finished sixth in a global championship final and owns the second fastest time in the world this year at 10.82. Morolake Akinosun is the lone American here and looks to finish her season on a high note after aiding Team USA to world gold in the 4x100m relay.

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Women's Pole Vault: Can Sandi Morris Break Stefanidi's Reign?

Who:
Katerina Stefanidi, Sandi Morris, Yarisley Silva
When: 12:14 PM CT
Why: Three of the four medalists from the 2017 World Championships will compete against each other again in Brussels, though it's hard to imagine Sandi Morris of the U.S. or Yarisley Silva of Cuba taking down Katerina Stefanidi, the reigning world and Olympic champion who lost just once in 2017 -- back in February, to Morris, the consistent No. 2 vaulter in the world this year.

In addition to her pristine record, Stefanidi's world lead of 4.91m sets her quite a world away from the rest of the field.

After earning silver in London, American Morris was just fourth in Birmingham but then enjoyed an exciting comeback in Zurich, where she nearly pushed Stefanidi out of the leader's spot. Both women cleared a day's best of 4.87m, but Stefanidi would take the win with fewer misses. Can Morris break her rival's streak in the final Diamond League meeting of the season?

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Women's 400m Hurdles: Can Olympic Champion Dalilah Muhammad Outrun Zuzana Hejnová's Momentum?

Who:
Dalilah Muhammad, Zuzana Hejnová, Ashley Spencer
When: 1:03 PM CT
Why: Reigning Olympic champion and world silver medalist Dalilah Muhammad of the United States headlines this field with her 52.64 season-best, but worlds fourth-placer Zuzana Hejnová actually has the best momentum heading into Brussels after impressive wins in Birmingham and Zurich, the former of which was over Muhammad.

The 30-year-old veteran from the Czech Republic won world titles in 2013 and 2015 and has run 54.13 this year, though her national record stands at 52.83 (2013).

Watch out for wildcard Ashley Spencer of the United States, who has not raced since Monaco in July but won Diamond League titles at Prefontaine and Lausanne this year and earned bronze at the Rio Olympic Games. Her 53.11 PB at USAs was the fastest fourth-place finish in championship history, small consolation for failing to make the world team.


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Women's 5K: Queen Hellen Obiri To Finish 2017 Reign Undefeated Over 5K

Who:
Hellen Obiri, Lilian Rengeruk, Senber Teferi, Agnes Tirop, Letbetbet Gidey, Margaret Kipkemboi, Sofia Assefa
When: 1:18 PM CT
Why: After Hellen Obiri put seven seconds on 10K world record holder Almaz Ayana in the last 300m of the world 5K final in London to win her second consecutive global title at the distance, her path to a payday in Brussels has to be considered the easiest.

Still, she's not bulletproof. The reigning Olympic champion was just fourth at the 3K in Birmingham behind the likes of middle distance standouts Sifan Hassan and Konstanze Klosterhalfen, both of whom have run under 3:59 for 1500m this year, but neither of those women are entered here. Her biggest competition in Brussels could come from the woman who was third in that race -- fellow Kenyan Margaret Kipkemboi. The 24-year-old finished fifth at the World Championships 5K, her first major championship event.

But Kipkemboi's best is 14:43, well behind Obiri's national record of 14:18.37, so we think the queen retains her crown.

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Men's 200m: The Return Of Noah Lyles

Who:
Ramil Guliyev, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, Noah Lyles, Ameer Webb
When: 2:16 PM CT
Why: U.S. track fans are in for a treat with the return of Noah Lyles, the 19-year-old sprint phenom who at one point led the world this year in the 200m thanks to a 19.90 win in Shanghai before withdrawing from the USATF Championships due to injury. He'll face newly crowned world champion Ramil Guliyev of Turkey, U.S. champion Ameer Webb and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake of Great Britain, who NCAA fans will know from sporting an LSU Tigers kit over the past four years. Mitchell-Blake anchored Great Britain's 4x100m relay at worlds to a shocking victory over the United States and was fourth individually in the 200m.

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Women's 400m: Will Shaunae Miller-Uibo Be Defeated By A Teen Again?

Who:
Shaunae Miller-Uibo, Salwa Eid Naser, Natasha Hastings, Courtney Okolo
When: 1:52 PM CT
Why: When reigning Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo stumbled in the final meters of the world 400m final in London and failed to medal, the moment stood as one of the biggest shocks of the athletics championship. Salwa Eid Naser, a 19-year-old from Bahrain, surprised the world for silver in between the two Americans -- Phyllis Francis and Allyson Felix -- and is the only medalist from London who will compete here. Can Miller-Uibo get her mojo back, or will youngster Eid Naser put her in her place again?

The teen is on a roll after capturing the win in Birmingham ahead of both Francis and Felix, while Miller-Uibo has not raced the 400m since her London disappointment.


It must be noted, though, that the Bahamian has performed very well over 200m in the meantime, picking up bronze in the world 200m final before winning last week's Zurich Diamond League final with a new national record of 21.88 over Olympic champion Elaine Thompson, as well as world gold and silver medalists Dafne Schippers and Marie Josée Ta Lou.

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Men's 110m Hurdles: Aries Merritt Gets One Last Chance For Redemption

Who:
Sergey Shubenkov, Garfield Darien, Aries Merritt, Orlando Ortega, Shane Brathwaite, Devon Allen
When: 1:44 PM CT
Why: Sergey Shubenkov of Russia is the only 2017 world medalist to compete in the Diamond League final but that doesn't mean victory is guaranteed. The 2017 silver medalist and 2015 world champion lost to Aries Merritt of the United States in Birmingham. The world record holder Merritt was just fifth in the London final, though he has won several top events this year at the Rome and London Diamond League meetings in addition to Birmingham.

Garfield Darien of France was fourth in the world final, Shane Brathwaite of Barbados was sixth and Orlando Ortega of Spain, the Rio Olympic silver medalist, was seventh.

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Men's 800m: With Worlds Pressure Off, Nijel Amos Will Probably Win Again

Who:
Nijel Amos, Kipyegon Bett, Ferguson Rotich, Asbel Kiprop, Adam Kszczot
When: 2:35 PM CT
Why: Though 2017 world champion Pierre-Ambroise Bosse of France will not compete here, silver medalist Adam Kszczot of Poland and bronze medalist Kipyegon Bett of Kenya have made the Diamond League final. Worlds fifth-place finisher Nijel Amos of Botswana, though, seems the best pick for the win as his resume this season is nearly unblemished save for the disappointing result at worlds. He's won Diamond League races in Paris, London, Rabat, and most recently Birmingham, where he defeated Kszczot by a significant margin, 1:44.5 to 1:45.28.

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Women's Long Jump: World Medalists Meet Again

Who:
Brittney Reese, Darya Klishna, Tianna Bartoletta
When: 11:45 AM CT
Why: All three medalists from the 2017 IAAF World Championships will compete for the Diamond League title, led by American Brittney Reese, whose gold in London marked her eighth global championship victory. But perhaps the fan favorite will be 2016 Olympic champion and 2017 bronze medalist Tianna Bartoletta of the United States, who revealed after an emotional medal ceremony that she trained while homeless this year after fleeing an abusive relationship with her husband of five years.

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Men's Triple Jump: Christian Taylor Chases World Record

Who: Christian Taylor, Will Claye, Pedro Pablo Pichardo
When: 1:46 PM CT
Why: Despite winning his third world title this summer, American Christian Taylor has some unfinished business this season that he hopes to wrap up at in Brussels: the triple jump world record of 18.29m. The Diamond League final should be a fantastic atmosphere to get it done, especially since the field features the only two men in the world to defeat him this year: Pedro Pablo Pichardo, a Cuban athlete who defected to Spain this summer and so was not allowed to compete at the World Championships but defeated Taylor in Lausanne, and also countryman Will Claye, who defeated the two-time Olympic champion in France this month.

Confidence Is Key For Aly Conyers Ahead Of The AAU JO Games

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With less than one week until the AAU Junior Olympic Games, Heathwood Hall's (SC) Aly Conyers is ready to see the results of her season's -- or to some, pandemic -- training finally pay off.

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AAU Junior Olympic Games Performance Lists

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Valarie Allman Breaks Discus American Record

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On Saturday, Valarie Allman improved her personal best by three meters in the discus, breaking the American record in the process. Allman’s first round toss of 70.15m in Rathdrum, Idaho bettered Gia Lewis-Smallwood’s 69.17m throw from 2014. 

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Big Friendly 3 Recap: Donavan Brazier Cracks 1:43 Opener

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The third edition of the Big Friendly, dubbed “The Big Friendly 3: Revenge of the Friendly,” went down on Friday night in Portland, Oregon, although the word revenge was not quite fitting as the stars from previous friendlies once again shined.

Flagstaff Community Rallies To Support Tommy River Puzey

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Two months ago a local Flagstaff runner, Tommy River Puzey was admitted to the ICU with respiratory issues. After several weeks of testing and a lung biopsy, doctors discovered the presence of a very rare and aggressive form of Lymphoma.

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Organizers of next year's World Athletics Cross Country Championships, scheduled for March 20, in Bathurst, Australia in New South Wales, are recommending that these championships be postponed due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.  The board of the local organizing committee has made the recommendation to the World Athletics Council as "a result of biosecurity measures and travel restrictions currently in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Australia," according to an official statement released today.  Australian borders are currently closed to foreign visitors to prevent the spread of the virus.

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Olympic Qualification Window Reopens For Road Athletes September 1

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Five Best From The Weekend: Miller-Uibo Shows Range, Bromell Beats Lyles

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Until the Diamond League formally returns on Aug. 14 in Monaco, finding track results is an exercise in internet sleuthing and social media stalking. Grassroots meets that are humble in appearance have been heavy on star power as the pandemic has forced athletes to compete at venues that don’t typically house a cast of world and Olympic champions. So bootleg race videos and wind-assisted marks have become the norm in a season that certainly has no precedent.

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Elijah Manangoi Suspended For Whereabouts Violations

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Kenyan 1500m runner Elijah Manangoi has been provisionally suspended, according to the Athletics Integrity Unit. Manangoi, the 1500m world champion, has a personal best of 3:28.80 in the event. He made one appearance this year, running a 2000m race in Nairobi as part of the Impossible Games.

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Canadian Record Holder Debues-Stafford Joins Bowerman

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The rich keep getting richer as yet another distance star is set to join Nike’s Bowerman Track Club: Canadian Gabriela Debues-Stafford—sixth last fall in the 1500m at the World Championships— will transition her training to Portland, Oregon, as she joins Jerry Schumacher’s world class group in the fall.

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