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Sydney McLaughlin makes her first foray into a Diamond League hurdle race, Christian Coleman looks to get a 100m win and Mondo Duplantis makes his pro debut. The Oslo Diamond League is full of storylines.
Here are six events to watch:
Women’s 400m Hurdles
This race will have most of the contenders for the title at July’s US Championships. Sydney McLaughlin will make her Diamond League debut in this event. She’s already gotten her feet wet in an open 400m (she ran 50.78 to get second in Shanghai), but this is a different scenario entirely.
Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad owns the world lead this year and is undefeated in her three appearances at the event. She set her season-best in Doha in May, running 53.61. Last week, she won in Rome with a 53.67. Shamier Little was second in that race in her season best of 54.40, while reigning world champion Kori Carter placed fourth. Carter has yet to crack 55 seconds on the year. But with such a long season ahead, and with a bye to World Champs, she’s got plenty of time to get sharp.
McLaughlin has raced all these women before. At the ridiculously deep 2017 US Championships, three women broke 53 seconds and six went under 54. Muhammad, Carter and Little’s personal bests all came from that race. McLaughlin was sixth that day in a world junior record of 53.82. She’s since dropped her time to 52.75, putting her right in line with the other three.
Christian Coleman’s first race of the year (a 100m in Shanghai) became known for the Noah Lyles comeback, and subsequent back-and-forth on Twitter. But it was still a good performance for Coleman. Opening with a 9.86, even in a loss, is a promising sign. Remember, he had early season defeat in 2018 to Ronnie Baker at Pre and he ended the year as the fastest man in the world.
He will be the big favorite in this race. Reece Prescod of Great Britain is the only other man in the field who has broken 10 seconds this year. Prescod ran 9.97 for fourth in that same Shanghai race.
Men’s Pole Vault
Last Wednesday, Mondo Duplantis lost for the first time in an NCAA competition. A week later, he’s in a different continent with a Puma contract in hand, ready to begin his professional career. Though this will be his pro debut, he’s already had plenty of experience on the big stage. In Oslo, he will get pushed by Sam Kendricks, Piotr Lisek and Pawel Wojciechowski. Duplantis the only man to jump six meters this year, but will be more concerned with getting back to his winning ways.
Three of the first four from last week’s parade of sub-13s in Rome will race the men’s 3000m. Selemon Barega (12:53), Hagos Gebrhiwet (12:54) and Birhanu Balew (12:56) all look read to run fast over 3000m after their performances in Italy.
But this field goes beyond the top three. Joshua Cheptegei, the 2019 World XC champion, is on the start list along with 2017 world 5000m champion, Muktar Edris. Edris hasn’t raced a 5000m this year, in fact, he’s only finished one race in 2019, but has a 12:54 5000m personal best. Ben True leads the U.S. entrants. He had a good run in Rome, running 13:09--the sixth best time in his career. Drew Hunter, who has made a point of testing his range this season, will run his first truly fast outdoor 3000m.
Women’s 3000m Steeplechase
Emma Coburn will run her first steeplechase of 2019 and she will do it against a stacked field. Coburn looked good in her last race, a 4:05 1500m at the Music City Distance Carnival on June 1st. As the reigning world champion, she has a bye into the 2019 World Championships, which are still more than three months away. Anything she does at this point in her season is a bonus.
The top entrant is world record holder Beatrice Chepkoech. She won the Shanghai Diamond League by more than six seconds and continues to rule the event. Celliphine Chespol, second to Chepkoech in Shanghai, is also entered. Hyvin Kiyeng is making her season debut, but has a lifetime best of 9:00.01.
The Americans will be represented in this field by Clayton Murphy and Johnny Gregorek. Murphy ran 3:37 for 1500m at Payton Jordan and took fifth in the Rome 800m last week in 1:44.59. Gregorek opened up his 1500m/mile season last week in Lahti where he ran 3:36. After he ran 3:49.98 indoors in Boston, expectations are high for Gregorek this season.
The pre-race favorite is Ayanleh Souleiman of Djibouti. He has a 3:47 lifetime best and took second in Stockholm in a herky-jerky race that never settled into a sensible rhythm. Jakob Ingebrigtsen was third in that race and will be racing this meet in front of his home fans. He laid off the pace in the early laps (a smart decision in retrospect) and made up significant ground on the last lap, almost catching Souleiman. Jakob’s brother Filip will be looking to put up a good 1500m mark. He scratched the 1500m at Stockholm and then took 14th in the 5000m at Rome last week. Bethwell Birgen and Vincent Kibet took third and fourth in the Doha 1500m and are capable of taking this race as well.