Eunice Sum wins the 800m (© AFP / Getty Images)
Organisers of the Meeting International Mohammed VI have confirmed that five more Diamond Race winners from last year will be in action at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rabat on 22 May.
Following last week’s announcement of the participation of Nijel Amos and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, it means seven of last year’s Diamond Race winners have now been confirmed for the newest meeting on the IAAF Diamond League circuit.
The women’s 800m contains three global champions as world indoor champion Francine Niyonsaba takes on world champion Marina Arzamasova and 2013 world champion and three-time Diamond Race winner Eunice Sum.
Including Arzamasova and Sum, the field contains six of the eight finalists from last year’s World Championships: Morocco’s Rababe Arafi, Britain’s Shelayna Oskan-Clarke, European bronze medallist Joanna Jozwik and last year’s Rabat winner Renelle Lamote. 2012 European champion Lynsey Sharp and world 1500m finalist Malika Akkaoui add further quality to the line-up.
Diamond Race steeplechase winner Jairus Birech returns to Rabat following his victory at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium last year. He will face meeting record-holder Paul Kipsiele Koech, world silver medallist Conseslus Kipruto and two-time Olympic silver medallist Mahiedine Mekhissi.
Zuzana Hejnova, twice a winner of the world title and the Diamond Race, leads a 400m hurdles field that includes five finalists from last year’s World Championships. The Czech star will be up against world bronze medallist Cassandra Tate, Jamaican champion Janieve Russell, Danish record-holder Sara Petersen, African champion Wenda Nel and world indoor 400m champion Kemi Adekoya.
In the men’s 110m hurdles, Diamond Race winner and 2013 world champion David Oliver takes on 2011 world champion Jason Richardson, 2015 US indoor champion Aleec Harris and 2014 world indoor bronze medallist Garfield Darien of France.
Panama’s 2015 Diamond Race winner Alonso Edward is part of a 200m field that includes world 100m bronze medallist Trayvon Bromell, 2013 world bronze medallist Curtis Mitchell, Asian record-holder Femi Ogunode and Moroccan record-holder Aziz Ouhadi, who won at this meeting in 2013.
Having won over 3000m in Rabat last year with an African all-comers’ record of 8:22.22, world champion Almaz Ayana will contest the 5000m in the Moroccan capital this year. The Ethiopian will line up against fix of the top six finishers from last year’s World Championships, including world silver medallist Senbere Teferi, 2013 world silver medallist Mercy Cherono, Kenya’s Viola Kibiwot and Commonwealth silver medallist Janet Kisa.
Two of the men in the 400m field joined the illustrious sub-44-second club last year. Botswana’s Isaac Makwala and Jamaican record-holder Rusheen McDonald, with respective PBs of 43.72 and 43.93, will join the likes of US champion David Verburg and Olympic 4x400m champion Chris Brown of The Bahamas in chasing the meeting record of 45.06.
2016 IAAF Diamond League calendar
6 May – Doha, QAT
14 May – Shanghai, CHN
22 May – Rabat, MAR
28 May – Eugene, USA
2 Jun – Rome, ITA
5 Jun – Birmingham, GBR
9 Jun – Oslo, NOR
16 Jun – Stockholm, SWE
15 Jul – Monaco, MON
22-23 Jul – London, GBR
25 Aug – Lausanne, SUI
27 Aug – Paris, FRA
1 Sep – Zurich, SUI
9 Sep – Brussels, BEL