Alonso Edward winning the 200m at the 2015 IAAF Diamond League meeting in Stockholm (© Deca Text&Bild)
The IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 is over. But the show goes on. There is more top-level athletics to be enjoyed over the next two weeks with the IAAF Diamond League finals in Zurich and Brussels.
All season long, the world's top track and field stars have vied for valuable Diamond Race points in the first 12 IAAF Diamond League meetings. Even with just the two finals to go, however, much could still change. Double points are on offer in the finals, meaning only an eight-point lead at this stage guarantees overall victory in the Diamond Race.
The finals are the perfect conclusion to the 2015 season. They are a chance for the victors of Beijing to garner yet more success. A chance for those who were disappointed to claim redemption. A chance for all athletes to get their hands on a $40,000 cash prize and the spectacular Diamond Trophy.
New Diamond Race champions to be crowned
The first of the two finals takes place on Thursday 3 September in Zurich. At the Weltklasse meeting, 16 different Diamond Races will reach their ultimate conclusion, and the first 16 Diamond Race champions of 2015 will be crowned.
Among them will almost certainly be Christina Schwanitz, Tianna Bartoletta and Eunice Sum, who have all been imperious in this season's Diamond Race.
Both shot putter Schwanitz and 800m runner Sum have won four out of six Diamond League clashes this season, while long jumper Bartoletta has three wins to her name, her points tally bolstered by second-place finishes in New York and Monaco.
All three athletes now have a lead of eight points or more, meaning that they only need to compete in Zurich in order to claim the Diamond Trophy.
But in many of the disciplines which will conclude in Zurich, there is barely a hair's breadth between those still in the running for the Diamond Trophy.
In the men's 200m, there have been four different victors over the six races so far, leading to a field so open that it is led by a man who hasn't a single victory to his name. Anaso Jobodwana has finished second four times this year. He is now on nine points, just a whisker ahead of Alonso Edward and Zharnel Hughes.
The men's 400m is nearly as close. The first half of the season was dominated by Diamond Trophy holder Kirani James, but after his shock defeat in Paris to Wayde van Niekerk, the Olympic champion has seen his lead shortened dramatically. He is now just two points ahead of the young South African.
Two other world champions who will be gunning for the Diamond Trophy in Zurich are Asbel Kiprop and Zuzana Hejnova. Kiprop is third in the men's 1500m Diamond Race, having been outgunned so far by Ayanleh Souleiman and Silas Kiplagat. With only a two-point gap between him and the top, though, the newly re-crowned world champion will be confident of winning the Diamond Trophy.
Hejnova, meanwhile, overturned Kaliese Spencer's 10-point lead with three straight wins since Paris. She is now two points ahead of Spencer, and the battle between the two of them is one to look forward to in Zurich.
Favourites can still fall
There is a wealth of athletes who remain agonisingly close to Diamond Race glory. Steeplechaser Jairus Birech and pole vaulter Nikoleta Kyriakopoulou have leads of seven and six points in their respective Diamond Races. Despite both failing to win gold in Beijing, they are both expected to take the Diamond Trophy. Piotr Malachowski, who is six points ahead in the men's discus, is in a similar position.
Others are less certain of success. Greg Rutherford has had to fight at times this season, but the new world champion has come out on top with a five-point lead in the men's long jump. The same goes for Mutaz Essa Barshim, whose disappointment in Beijing mirrored his travails in the Diamond Race since Oslo after an early period of dominance.
Genzebe Dibaba and Barbara Spotakova may also have expected to be sitting more comfortably in their Diamond Races by this stage. Dibaba only has a six-point lead in the women's 5000m to show for her excellent season, while three-time Diamond Race winner Spotakova has been challenged by an open field, and holds a lead of only four points.
Leads of four, five, six or seven points are perhaps the best illustrations of the excitement of the Diamond Race. Those holding them have had to work all season to establish their advantage, yet one bad performance in Zurich could see them blown away in an instant.