Fri | Sep 21, 2018

Russell set to shine at Diamond League finals

Published:Thursday | August 30, 2018 | 12:00 AMRaymond Graham/ Gleaner Writer
Janieve Russell

Four Jamaicans, led by Commonwealth Games 400 metres hurdles champion Janieve Russell, will be in action today in the first leg of the Diamond League Finals in Zurich. Also down to compete are triple jumpers Kimberly Williams and Shanieka Ricketts and 800 metres runner Natoya Goule. All four will be seeking their first ever Diamond Trophy.

Glorious opportunity

After topping the qualification in her event, Russell has a glorious opportunity to crown herself in glory today. However, she will have to be at her supreme best as her biggest challenge should come from American Shamier Little, who has defeated the Jamaican the last three times they have met this season.

Little was upstaged by European champion Switzerland's Lea Sprunger. The Swiss hurdler and Americans Georganne Moline and Dalilah Muhammad should make this an intriguing race.

Goule, the national 800m record holder, is expected to give a good account of herself in the event, which will include South African ace Caster Semenya and Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi.

Commonwealth Games and NACAC champion Williams and Ricketts will be hoping to put pressure on the favourite , Caterine Ibarg¸en of Colombia who has been unbeaten this season.

It could be a good day for Caribbean athletes. Bahamian Steven Gardiner (400m) and Kyron McMaster (400m hurdles) of the British Virgin Islands have great chances of going all the way in the absence of the Qatari pair of Abdalelah Haroun and Abderrahman Samba who topped their respective events with the most points.

The women's 100m should also attract a lot of attention. Joint world leaders Cote d'Ivoire's Marie-Josee Ta Lou and Great Britain's Dina Asher-Smith,with best times of 10.85, are expected to set the stadium on "fire". This late in the season a sub-10.8 run is possible.