Tue | Nov 20, 2018

Diamond mining - Russell, Williams, Ricketts, Goule seek glory in Zurich

Published:Monday | August 27, 2018 | 12:00 AMRaymond Graham/ Gleaner Writer

It will be to crunch time this Thursday and Friday as top athletes who qualified for the IAAF Diamond League finals will be hunting trophies and lucrative cash prizes in Zurich and Brussels, with the first of these finals set for Thursday in Zurich.

Four Jamaicans, all females, will be hoping for their first diamond and also a wild-card entry to next year's IAAF World Championships when they compete on Thursday. The list comprises Commonwealth Games gold medallist Janieve Russell, Kimberly Williams, Natoya Goule and Shanieka Ricketts.

Of the four Jamaicans down to compete, Russell has the best chance of coming out on top. After scoring the most points coming into the finals of the women's 400m hurdles, Russell, who was surprised in her last Diamond League race in Birmingham by European champion Lea Sprunger, will be hoping to bounce back in style. With a personal best of 53.46 seconds, she is the second-ranked athlete in the event in the line-up, behind the United States' Shamier Little, her biggest threat, who has a season's best of 53.32 seconds and has beaten her three times in a row this season.

Russell will also have US duo Dalilah Muhammad and Georganne Moline to contend with. Russell could be forced to change her racing tactics if she hopes to win the big prize as she tends to stay too far off the pace in the early stages. But with much at stake now, she could strike when it matters most .

With a season's best of 14.64m, Commonwealth Games triple jump champion, Williams will be hoping to surprise Caterine Ibarguen of Colombia, the world leader with 14.96m, in the women's triple jump. NACAC champion Ricketts will be hoping to better her season's best of 14.61m in a bid for the big prize.

Goule has been in her best form ever this year, and with her recent national record of 1:56.15 minutes in the 800m, she will be hoping to better that time against South Africa's Caster Semenya and Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi.

Added action on Thursday will see the clash of five 4x100m female relay teams, including Jamaica, for the Zurich trophy. The other four teams in the line-up are Great Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland.