Valerie Adams in action at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Lausanne (© Getty Images)
The 2015 IAAF Diamond League gets underway next week in Asia, Doha on 15 May and Shanghai on 17 May, as once again the world’s best athletes will battle all season long in the series which offers a total of USD$8 million in prize money.
Their goal is to win a USD$40,000 cash prize, a spectacular Diamond Race Trophy created by one of the world's oldest jewellers and the unchallenged honour of being their event’s world No.1.
Spread across Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the USA, the 14-meeting series began in 2010. Now in its sixth year, some of the world’s most successful athletes in the history of the IAAF Diamond League will be in action again in 2015.
Counting only disciplines that have been held as part of the Diamond Race, world and Olympic shot put champion Valerie Adams has the most victories of any athlete in the world. Her 24 wins have been spread across the past five seasons of the IAAF Diamond League, her first one coming at the Adidas Grand Prix in New York in June 2010.
Pole vault world record-holder Renaud Lavillenie is close behind with 23 wins in Diamond Race disciplines. The Olympic champion is also the only athlete to have won the Diamond Race in any event every single year since the IAAF Diamond League began in 2010.
Only three other athletes – Croatian discus thrower Sandra Perkovic, Jamaican 400m hurdler Kaliese Spencer and Kenyan steeplechaser Milcah Chemos – have more than 15 career wins in Diamond Race disciplines.
Adams, Chemos and Spencer have each won the Diamond Race in their respective events on four occasions, making them the most successful women.
It is also no surprise that Adams (126) and Lavillenie (114) have amassed more Diamond Race points over the past five years than any other athletes in the world. Only two other athletes – Spencer and Perkovic – have more than 100 points to their name.
Other consistently successful athletes include the likes of Kenyan middle-distance runner Asbel Kiprop, Brazilian pole vaulter Fabiana Murer and US sprinter Allyson Felix. Along with the likes of Lavillenie, Adams, Spencer and Perkovic, this trio of athletes have all accrued 25 top-three finishes in Diamond Race disciplines since 2010.
Kiprop has competed in 36 IAAF Diamond League meetings since the series began in 2010; a tally bettered only by Nigerian sprinter and long jumper Blessing Okagbare, who has featured in 38 meetings on the circuit.
It is quite rare that one athlete will win all seven of the competitions within the Diamond Race in their event in one season. It has been achieved by just three athletes: Adams in 2014, Perkovic in 2013 and high jumper Blanka Vlasic in 2010.
It’s just as unusual for one athlete to win the Diamond Race in two different events within one year. Felix managed this in 2010, winning the Diamond Race in both the 200m and 400m, then fellow sprinters Carmelita Jeter and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce went on to achieve the 100m-200m Diamond Race double in 2011 and 2013 respectively.
Two athletes are one step away from having recorded victories in every city on the IAAF Diamond League circuit. Adams has won at every meeting apart from Shanghai, while the only city missing from Perkovic’s record is London. But that could all change in 2015.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF