Previews31 May 2024

Bol, Duplantis and Alekna look to continue winning ways in Stockholm


Mondo Duplantis, Femke Bol and Mykolas Alekna in Stockholm (© AFP / Getty Images)

World record-holders Femke Bol, Mondo Duplantis and Mykolas Alekna are aiming to extend their winning streak when the Wanda Diamond League arrives in Stockholm for the Bauhaus Galan on Sunday (2).

Bol, who has been undefeated in the 400m hurdles since August 2022, will be contesting her first race of the year in her specialist event. Already in 2024, though, the Dutch athlete has twice broken her own world indoor 400m record en route to winning the world indoor title in Glasgow.

With 49.17 400m speed in her legs, it will be interesting to see how fast Bol goes on Sunday on a track that holds many fond memories for the Olympic silver medallist. Stockholm is where Bol achieved her first Diamond League win back in 2020, and she returned there in 2021 and smashed through the 53-second barrier for the first time, clocking 52.37. Twelve months later, she went even quicker and won in Stockholm with a Diamond League record of 52.27.

The three women who secured a Jamaican 1-2-3 at the Diamond League meeting in Oslo earlier this week will also be in Stockholm, led by the winner of that race, world bronze medallist Rushell Clayton. She’ll be joined by Andrenette Knight and Janieve Russell.

Like Bol, Alison Dos Santos is also undefeated in the 400m hurdles in Stockholm. The 23-year-old from Brazil achieved his first Diamond League win in the Swedish city back in 2021, then he returned there in 2022 to set a meeting record of 46.80.

The 2022 world champion has won both of his races on the Diamond League circuit this year, starting with 46.86 in Doha and more recently clocking 46.63 to defeat world record-holder Karsten Warholm in Oslo.

In Stockholm, world silver medallist Kyron McMaster could be Dos Santos’s toughest rival, but also keep an eye out for 2019 world bronze medallist Abderrahman Alsaleck – part of the event’s elite sub-47-second club – who’ll be contesting his first 400m hurdles race of the year.

Many of the fans in Stockholm’s Olympic Stadium, however, will be there to see home favourite Mondo Duplantis in action.

The Swedish pole vault superstar has already won a global title and broken a world record within the first five months of the year. He opened his outdoor campaign with a world record of 6.24m in Xiamen, then followed it with 6.00m victories in Suzhou and Ostrava.

At the very least, the world and Olympic champion will want to maintain his winning streak in front of his home crowd. He’ll also be keen to vault over six metres again, no doubt, and maybe even take aim at his own meeting record of 6.16m. And if the conditions are good, who knows how high he can go?

Two of the men who joined him on the podium at last year’s World Championships – Ernest John Obiena and Chris Nilsen – will also be in Stockholm, as will fellow six-metre vaulters KC Lightfoot and Sam Kendricks.

The men’s discus is another field full of big hitters, led by a world record-holder who’s undefeated this year.

Mykolas Alekna threw 74.35m at the end of April, breaking a discus world record that had stood for 38 years. Although it was a three-metre improvement on his PB, he has backed up that mark with three other competitions beyond 70 metres this year, most recently with a meeting record of 70.91m in Oslo earlier this week.

But on Sunday he’ll be up against world and Olympic champion Daniel Stahl, who’ll be boosted by the support of the home crowd, as will Olympic silver medallist Simon Petersson. In-form Australian Matt Denny, 2017 world champion Andrius Gudzius, Olympic bronze medallist Lukas Wiesshaidinger and 2019 world silver medallist Fedrick Dacres are also in the loaded line-up.

Rising stars Haylom and Griffith clash over 1500m

Young Ethiopian Birke Haylom has started the outdoor season in incredible form, clocking PBs of 3:53.22 for 1500m and 14:23.71 for 5000m. This Sunday she’ll contest the shorter of those two events, but will be up against Georgia Griffith, the Australian who won over 3000m in Oslo on Thursday in a world-leading Oceanian record of 8:24.20.

That’s not all, though, as Olympic silver medallist Laura Muir, who ran 3:56.35 in Eugene last week, is also in the field, as is Ethiopia’s Worknesh Mesele and Australia’s Sarah Billings, both of whom have broken four minutes for the distance this year.

The men’s 3000m field includes four men who set sub-13-minute national records in the 5000m in Oslo on Thursday: Guatemala’s Luis Grijalva, Switzerland’s Dominic Lokinyomo Lobalu, Sweden’s Andreas Almgren and South Africa’s Adriaan Wildschutt.

Each of them will fancy their chances of winning in a race that also includes world 1500m bronze medallist Narve Gilje Nordas, 2017 European indoor champion Adel Mechaal and Oceanian record-holder Stewart McSweyn.

World indoor 1500m champion Geordie Beamish will contest his first steeplechase race of the year. So far in 2014, the 27-year-old from New Zealand has set a PB in every competition he has participated in, indoors and out.

Having only switched to the steeplechase last year, there’s likely room for improvement on the 8:13.26 national record he set last summer. And with opponents such as Ethiopian duo Getnet Wale and Samuel Firewu, this Sunday’s race should be a good one.

The men’s 800m looks similarly competitive. World indoor champion Bryce Hoppel renews his rivalry with world indoor silver medallist Andreas Kramer, but world leader Djamel Sedjati will be tough to beat, as will fellow Algerian Slimane Moula and Botswana’s Tshepiso Masalela.

Jake Wightman, the 2022 world champion, is also in the field along with fellow Brits Elliot Giles and Ben Pattison, the world bronze medallist.

Clash of global gold medallists in high jump

World high jump champion Yaroslava Mahuchikh will make her outdoor season debut on Sunday and will take on two other women who’ve won world titles in recent years.

The Ukrainian started her year in impressive fashion, clearing 2.04m in Cottbus. But she suffered a surprise defeat at the World Indoor Championships, where Australia’s Nicola Olyslagers came away with victory. The duo will renew their rivalry this weekend, alongside Olyslagers’ compatriot Eleanor Patterson, the 2022 world champion.

In the women’s shot put, two-time world champion Chase Jackson faces world indoor champion and world leader Sarah Mitton of Canada. Three other women with PBs in excess of 20 metres – Jessica Schilder, Maggie Ewen and Song Jiayuan – are also in the line-up.

The women’s triple jump, meanwhile, looks set to be a clash between world indoor champion Thea Lafond, two-time world silver medallist Shanieka Ricketts and world indoor silver medallist Leyanis Perez Hernandez.

In Oslo earlier this week, USA’s Brittany Brown ended Shericka Jackson’s two-year 200m winning streak, and the duo will square off again in Stockholm on Sunday. Earlier in the programme, Brown will contest the 100m, where she’ll face Marie Josee Ta Lou-Smith, Gina Bass and Zaynab Dosso.

Japan’s Hakim Sani Brown, runner-up in Oslo on Thursday, will take on Cameroon’s Emmanuel Eseme in the men’s 100m.