The sprints will be hot in Birmingham
TRACK and field fans can expect some superb performances today as the 12th staging in the Diamond League series takes place in Birmingham, England.
This is the final meet before the grand finals scheduled for Zurich and Brussels and it will be the last chance for several top athletes to secure spots.
Eight Jamaicans, led by sprinter Shericka Jackson, will be in action today. The other Jamaicans down to compete are Ronald Levy, Tajay Gayle, Yanique Thompson, Yohan Blake, Danniel Thomas-Dodd and Janieve Russell.
Both the women's 200 metres and the men's 100 metres will be hot as several of the world's leading athletes will be in action.
Following her superb form at the recent European Championships in Berlin, where she ended with three gold medals, including wins in the 100 and 200m, all eyes will be on Britain's Dina Asher-Smith in the half-lap event. She is the world leader in the 200m following her splendid 21.89 seconds in Berlin.
The only sub-22-second athlete in the field this season, Asher-Smith will not have things her own way as she will come up against the likes of Shauna Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas, Americans Jenna Prandini and Gabrielle Thomas, Cote d'Ivoire's Josee Marie Ta Lou , Denmark's Dafne Schippers and Jamaica's Jackson.
Miller, with a season's best of 22.06, is the fastest in the field with a life time best of 21,88 and the Commonwealth Games champion will want to remain unbeaten in the half-lap event this season. Jackson is also having a great season in the 200m. She has a personal best of 22.05 and will be hoping for a big run today.
Eight men with times under 10 seconds are down to compete in the 100m, where there will be preliminary round action before the grand final. National champion Tyquendo Tracey, with a season's and personal best of 9.96 seconds, cannot advance to the Diamond League grand finals. Blake, with a best of 9.95, has a chance to do so, however, as he is sitting in eighth position on nine points. He will need a good placing here to guarantee a spot. His training partner, Zharnel Hughes, who is coming off a big win for Great Britain at the recent European Championships is in 10th position on seven points and could leapfrog Blake. Chijindu Ujah, also of Great Britain, is in ninth position on eight points.
The United States look set to dominate the event today as the likes of world leader, Noah Lyles, with a best of 9.88, and teammates Michael Rodgers (9.89) and Christian Coleman (9.98) are down to contest the event.
Following three defeats in a row, all to American Shamier Little, Jamaica's Janieve Russell will get a chance to exact revenge before the grand finals when both clash in the women's 400 metres hurdles.
After two close finishes in Diamond League contests, Little scored a comprehensive victory in Canada last week at the NACAC Championships and will be hoping for another big win here but Russell may have learnt a lot from that big defeat and could return to winning ways in Birmingham.