‘TOP 5 Male Performances’ at 2019 Diamond League Shanghai
The Shanghai Stadium in Shanghai, China was set ablaze on fire on the 18th of May 2019 for the second meet of 2019 Diamond League. It was the 10th edition of the annual IAAF Diamond League, fought fiercely and competitively by the top-class athletes from all over the world. It also marks the 3rd edition to feature the new Championship-style System.
The one-day meet witnessed 8 male and 7 female events being conducted on the 18th of May 2019 to a packed Shanghai Stadium. The competition saw some of the most scintillating races during the second outing of the IAAF Diamond League. 12 days later, the third meet will be held in Stockholm on the 30th of May 2019.
Johnny D picks ‘Top 5 Male Performances’ at the 2019 IAAF Diamond League Shanghai meet:
Noah LYLES: 100m
The 100m sprint is the cynosure in the world of athletics. Every eye is on the lookout for the fastest man on the earth. The line-up of Americans Christian Coleman and Noah Lyles, South African Akani Simbine, Britain’s Reece Prescod, China’s Bingtian Su and others was eagerly anticipated.
The race witnessed the magnificence of Noah Lyles beating arch-rival Christian Coleman in one of the most thrilling 100m dash in recent times. Coleman was leading till the 70m-mark, when all of a sudden Lyles switched gears to move shoulder-to-shoulder to Coleman. Coleman couldn’t sustain his pace as Lyles accelerated to dip ahead of him and win the race. Both of them were given the time of 9.86s. Akani Simbine finished third clocking 9.95s followed by Reece Prescod in 9.97s. Local lad Bingtian Su finished 5th in 10.05s.
After the race, Noah Lyles enthused, “This was a message to self. The 100 has never been my dominant thing, so I wanted to make sure this year that everybody knew I was a 100m and 200m runner, and not just a 200m runner kind of running the 100m. It is going to take more repetition, more learning. This is my third year being pro and really my second just starting to run the 100m consistently, so I think the more races I have, and also just growing up. I am 21 and getting into those later years in my life and gaining more muscle. And, really just fine-tuning those things and getting out of the blocks, that is probably what it is going to take.”
Fred KERLEY: 400m
American Fred Kerley, the 2018 IAAF Diamond League Champion did not lose one bit of his master touch in the 400m sprint. He won the race comfortably clocking 44.81s to beat compatriots Michael Cherry and Nathan Strother. Cherry clocked 45.48s to claim the second spot, followed by Strother in 45.52 to make 1-2-3 for America. Kerley dominated from the 100m-mark and kept gaining his momentum throughout the race. He did not give any chance to anyone.
Fredrick "Fred" Lee Kerley was born in Taylor, Texas on the 7th of May 1995. In the year 2017, he recorded the eighth-fastest time in the history of 400m clocking 43.70s at the NCAA Division I West Preliminary in Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas on the 26th of May. He broke the 25-year-old record held by Olympic Champion Quincy Watts, who had clocked 44.00s.
Fred Kerley had clocked 44.09s at the SEC Championships in Columbia, South Carolina in 2017 to win the 400m title. At the 2017 USA Championships, Kerley clocked 44.03s to win the event. He qualified to represent the United States and was part of the 2x400m relay team at the World Championships in Athletics. In the year 2018, Fred Kerley bounced back from his injury to win the Diamond League Trophy in the men’s 400m.
Yomif KEJELCHA: 5000m
The 5000m race at the 2019 IAAF Diamond League in Shanghai was fought between the three fastest distance runners ever – Ethiopians Yomif Kejelcha, Selemon Barega and Hagos Gebrhiwet. The race was well-judged by Kejelcha, who ran a superb tactical race. He switched his gears as the bell rang and gave no room to Barega to win the event with a world lead time of 13:04.16.
Barega just could not match Kejelcha’s speed in the last lap, in spite of his best efforts. He clocked 13:04.71, his season best timing followed by Gebrhiwet in 13:04.83. The race was fought by many at different stages. As many as 17 runners clocked their personal best and season best timings.
Kejelcha has been training with Alberto Salazar at the Nike Oregon Project to build his confidence and tactics. After the race, Kejelcha enthused, “I am amazed by my performance today. I felt very relaxed throughout the race and my power is so much better at the end of the race. I am very confident now!”
Yomif Kejelcha Atomsa was born in Oromia, Ethiopia on the 1st of August 1997. Kejelcha started the season clocking 3:47.01 to break the Indoor Mile Record on the 3rd of March 2019. He bettered his own previous time of 3:48.46. Incidentally, he missed the 1500m Indoor World Record clocking 3:31.25. Kejelcha is the 9th-fastest man ‘Indoors’ or ‘Outdoors’ behind Alan Webb.
Omar MCLEOD: 110m Hurdles
Omar McLeod received an awful message of his aunt’s demise just 24-hours before the race. Heartbroken, the Jamaican high hurdler was not in the right mental state and even wanted to opt out of the race. Destiny prevailed and McLeod was at the starting line-up. It was an emotional race for McLeod, as he crossed the finish line clocking 13.12s followed by China’s Wenjun Xie in 13.17s and Sergey Shubenkov 13.28s.
McLeod was in tears after the race. He revealed after the race, “It was difficult for me mentally to compete today. My aunty Tracey died yesterday, but then I asked myself what would she want? And she would want me to race. It was hard today, I just wanted to finish, win and get the job done. When I crossed the line, I started crying. I dedicate my win tonight in her memory.”
Omar McLeod was born in Clarendon, Jamaica on the 25th of April 1994. McLeod holds the 110m hurdles Olympic and World Championships’ titles. He is ranked the 5th on the world all-time list with a time of 12.90s. At the Rio Olympics, McLeod won the 110m hurdles Gold medal.
In the year 2017, his outstanding performance earned him the prestigious ‘Jamaica’s 2017 Sportsman of the Year’ award. In 2017, he won 6 of the 7 races McLeod competed in, which also includes the World Championships 110m hurdles in London.
Abderrahman SAMBA: 400m Hurdles
True to his surname ‘Samba’, Abderrahman loves to celebrate his win with a piece of dancing in sheer joy. At the second outing of the 2019 IAAF Diamond League at Shanghai Stadium, Samba did not disappoint the crowd in the 400m hurdles. Qatar’s Abderrahman Samba and American Rai Benjamin are the two of the four fastest men of all-time in the 400m hurdles.
The anticipation of the showdown was inevitable. The two have never raced together since the last one year. The build-up was high and every eye was keen to see the most-awaited race of their life. In the year 2018, Abderrahman Samba broke the Asian record clocking 46.98s to become the second-fastest man over the 400m hurdles. Rai Benjamin clocked 47.02s to tie all-time legendary hurdler Edwin Moses in the No. 3 spot.
The race began with Benjamin taking the initial lead. Samba likes to run his race steadily, while keeping a watchful eye on his competitor Benjamin. By the 200m-mark, Benjamin led the field as Samba switched his gears to run shoulder-to-shoulder. He gained momentum around the last bend with 100m to go. By the second last hurdle, Benjamin was still ahead of Samba.
However, Benjamin paid the price for accelerating too early in the race unlike Samba. Just before the last hurdle, Samba’s magic move saw Benjamin fading away to the second spot. Samba’s smiling face said it all as he kissed the ground to celebrate his win. And soon he broke to his ritual dancing to please the crowd.
Abderrahman Samba was born 5th of September 1995 in a Mauritanian family. He grew up in Saudi Arabia. Unlike his family’s passion for football, young Abderrahman took to athletics. In the year 2015, Abderrahman Samba switched his allegiance to Qatar. Two years later in 2017, Samba arrived in the international stage beating the two-time Olympic Champion Kerron Clement at the 2017 Diamond League meet in Doha. His victory over Clement was Samba’s first recorded 400m hurdles race after switching from 200m and 400m sprint.
Abderrahman Samba is the second-fastest 400m hurdler behind American Kevin Young. The American holds the 400m hurdles World Record, who clocked 46.78s at the Barcelona Olympics on the 6th of August 1992. Samba had run the 400m hurdles clocking 46.98s at Meeting de Paris on the 30th of June 2018. In April 2019, Abderrahman Samba won the Asian title clocking 47.51s.