Sha'Carri Richardson, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson and Dina Asher-Smith (© Getty Images)
The first Wanda Diamond League meeting of 2021 is set to take place in Gateshead on 23 May.
To mark the seven-day countdown to the first fixture in the series, we take a brief look at seven mouth-watering clashes that have been announced for the first three meetings of this season.
Women’s 100m – Gateshead, 23 May
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (JAM) 10.70
Elaine Thompson-Herah (JAM) 10.70
Sha’Carri Richardson (USA) 10.72
Dina Asher-Smith (GBR) 10.83
This sensational four-way clash is set to see Jamaica's multiple global gold medallist Fraser-Pryce and double Olympic champion Thompson-Herah take on Britain's world 200m champion Asher-Smith and USA's world leader Richardson for the first time, with the four athletes having never previously lined up against each other.
Fraser-Pryce, Thompson-Herah and Richardson occupy three of the top six places on the world all-time list, so if conditions in Gateshead are good, the meeting record of 10.93 could be broken.
Women’s long jump – Florence, 10 June
Malaika Mihambo (GER) 7.30m
Ivana Spanovic (SRB) 7.24m
Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk (UKR) 6.96m
Caterine Ibarguen (COL) 6.93m
Khaddi Sagnia (SWE) 6.92m
Larissa Iapichino (ITA) 6.91m
The world outdoor and indoor champions take on a handful of major championship medallists in what looks set to be the highest-quality long jump competition since the World Athletics Championships Doha 2019.
Malaika Mihambo, who won in Doha two years ago, will line up in Florence alongside world indoor champion Ivana Spanovic, world silver medallist and European indoor champion Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk, 2018 Diamond League champion and Olympic triple jump champion Caterine Ibarguen, European indoor bronze medallist Khaddi Sagnia and rising Italian star Larissa Iapichino, who earlier this year set a world U20 indoor record of 6.91m.
Women’s 3000m – Doha, 28 May
Letesenbet Gidey (ETH) 8:20.27
Hellen Obiri (KEN) 8:20.68
World champion meets world record-holder in this highly anticipated Doha duel.
Hellen Obiri, the world 5000m and cross-country champion, set an African 3000m record of 8:20.68 in Doha in 2014, which was then broken in 2019 by Gidey, who ran 8:20.27.
Although Obiri leads their career head-to-head record at 9-5, world 5000m record-holder Gidey has finished ahead of Obiri twice in Doha: at the 2018 Diamond League meeting and at the 2019 World Championships over 10,000m.
Men’s pole vault – Gateshead, 23 May
Mondo Duplantis (SWE) 6.18m
Sam Kendricks (USA) 6.06m
Piotr Lisek (POL) 6.02m
Harry Coppell (GBR) 5.85m
Charlie Myers (GBR) 5.71m
The three medallists from the World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 will be reunited in Gateshead on 23 May.
It will be Mondo Duplantis’s first competition in the UK since setting a world record of 6.18m in Glasgow during the 2020 indoor season. Since finishing second at the 2019 World Championships – behind Sam Kendricks and ahead of Piotr Lisek – the 21-year-old Swede has been undefeated since then, and in 2020 he earned the honour of Male World Athlete of the Year.
Women’s pole vault – Doha, 28 May
Sandi Morris (USA) 5.00m
Anzhelika Sidorova (ANA) 4.95m
Katerina Stefanidi (GRE) 4.91m
Holly Bradshaw (GBR) 4.87m
Alysha Newman (CAN) 4.82m
Angelica Moser (SUI) 4.75m
As will be the case with the men’s event in Gateshead, the women’s 2019 world pole vault medallists – Anzhelika Sidorova, Sandi Morris and Katerine Stefanidi – will be reunited in Doha.
While Sidorova won at the World Championships in Doha, and Morris triumphed at the 2018 World Indoor Championships, Stefanidi has performed best on the Diamond League circuit in recent years, having won the Diamond Trophy four times between 2016 and 2019.
Men’s shot put – Florence, 10 June
Tom Walsh (NZL) 22.90m
Michal Haratyk (POL) 22.32m
Konrad Bukowiecki (POL) 22.25m
Tomas Stanek (CZE) 22.17m
Leonardo Fabbri (ITA) 21.99m
New Zealand’s 2017 world champion and 2019 Diamond League winner Tom Walsh takes on the Czech Republic's European indoor champion Tomas Stanek, Poland’s European champion Michal Haratyk, Konrad Bukowiecki, who set the Golden Gala meeting record of 21.97m in 2019, and Italian indoor record-holder Leonardo Fabbri.
Given the quality of the line-up, Bukowiecki’s meeting record may not survive.
Men’s 1500m – Gateshead, 23 May
Jakob Ingebrigtsen (NOR) 3:28.68
Stewart McSweyn (AUS) 3:30.51
Ryan Gregson (AUS) 3:31.06
Oliver Hoare (AUS) 3:32.35
Matthew Ramsden (AUS) 3:34.83
Piers Copeland (GBR) 3:35.32
George Mills (GBR) 3:36.72
Elliot Giles (GBR) 3:36.90i
A competitive field of leading Australians and Britons will take on Norwegian star Jakob Ingebrigtsen over 1500m in Gateshead.
Building on his incredible performances in recent years, the 20-year-old set a European 1500m record of 3:28.68 last year in Monaco before going on to win in Brussels and Ostrava. Australia’s Stewart McSweyn, who finished close behind Ingebrigtsen in Stockholm, Ostrava and Rome last year, will be hoping to score his first victory over Ingebrigtsen in Gateshead, but compatriot Oliver Hoare and Britain’s 800m specialist Elliot Giles, both of whom enjoyed superb indoor seasons, will also be big threats.