Jamaica's Nickel Ashmeade wins the 200m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene (© Kirby Lee)
The men’s 200m at the Prefontaine Classic on 30 May, the next leg of the IAAF Diamond League, will feature five men with PBs faster than 20 seconds.
Alonso Edward is the reigning Diamond Race winner in this event. The Panamanian is undefeated so far this year, his most recent victory coming over 200m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Shanghai last weekend. His personal best of 19.81, set when winning the 2009 world silver medal, is the fastest time in history by a teenager.
Justin Gatlin, last year’s Diamond Race 100m winner, will be making his first appearance in the 200m at the Prefontaine Classic. He set his PB of 19.68 in Monaco last year.
Nickel Ashmeade returns to defend his Prefontaine Classic 200m title, having won the event in 2013 when it was last contested in Eugene. The Jamaican is the only man in the world to have run faster than 10 seconds for 100m and 20 seconds for 200m in each of the past four seasons. As well as being the world 4x100m champion, Ashmeade was also the Diamond Race 200m winner in 2012.
Rasheed Dwyer won the 200m at both the Jamaican Championships and Commonwealth Games last year. He finished second to Edward at the IAAF Continental Cup in 19.98, making him the ninth Jamaican to run faster than 20 seconds for the distance. The 2011 World University Games champion will be making his Prefontaine Classic debut.
USA’s Curtis Mitchell will also be competing at the Prefontaine Classic for the first time. The 26-year-old set his personal best of 19.97 in the semi-finals of the 2013 World Championships before taking the bronze medal in the final.
Qatar’s Femi Ogunode won Asian Games sprint doubles in 2010, winning the 200m and 400m, and in 2014, winning the 100m and 200m. He set a national record of 20.06 last year before going on to break the Asian 100m record with 9.93. This year’s Prefontaine Classic will be his first 200m race on US soil.
Jamaica’s Julian Forte has already been in PB form this year, clocking a best of 20.19 in Kingston last month. He then produced his second-fastest time ever of 20.36 to finish runner-up to Edward at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Shanghai.
South Africa’s world and Olympic finalist Anaso Jobodwana is not officially one of the sub-20-second men in the field for the Prefontaine Classic 200m, but it is surely just a matter of time before he joins the club. He clocked a wind-assisted 20.00 to win the 2013 World University Games title and then opened this year with a wind-assisted 19.87 in Texas before going on to set a national record of 20.06 in George Town.
Organisers for the IAAF
2015 IAAF Diamond League calendar
Doha, QAT – 15 May
Shanghai, CHN – 17 May
Eugene, USA – 30 May
Rome, ITA – 4 June
Birmingham, GBR – 7 June
Oslo, NOR – 11 June
New York, USA – 13 June
Paris, FRA – 4 July
Lausanne, SUI – 9 July
Monaco, MON – 17 July
London, GBR – 24-25 July
Stockholm, SWE – 30 July
Zurich, SUI – 3 September
Brussels, BEL – 11 September