Xiamen Diamond League: Five takeaways from the electrifying 2024 season opener

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Xiamen Diamond League: Five takeaways from the electrifying 2024 season opener

Festus Chuma 11:30 - 21.04.2024

The 2024 Wanda Diamond League opener featured world records, surprising upsets, and standout performances setting the stage for the season.

On Saturday, the 2024 Diamond League launched with a spectacular display of athleticism in Xiamen, China revealing emerging talents and setting high expectations for the season. 

From world records to surprising upsets the event was a showcase of drama and excitement.

 Here are the five key takeaways from the action-packed opener:

1. Gudaf Tsegay’s near record-breaking run

Ethiopia's Gudaf Tsegay was undoubtedly the highlight in the women's 1500 meters where she clocked an impressive 3:50.30 catapulting her to third on the world all-time list. 

Tsegay’s performance was a significant personal best narrowing the gap to the record held by Faith Kipyegon. With Kipyegon’s absence due to an earlier withdrawal the track was left wide open for Tsegay to dominate which she did with a compelling mix of strategy and stamina. 

Her final lap, a blazing 60.9 seconds, sealed a performance that was both a statement and a warning for her competitors especially with the Paris Olympics on the horizon.

2. Torrie Lewis shocks in the 200 metres

The women's 200 meters was ripe for surprises and 19-year-old Australian Torrie Lewis delivered. 

Lewis, who had never broken 23 seconds before the prelims of last week’s Australian championships, outpaced seasoned sprinters including Sha’Carri Richardson. 

Her victory marked the first time an Australian athlete has won a flat sprint event at the Diamond League, signaling her arrival on the global stage. 

Meanwhile, Richardson, who finished more than a second behind her personal best, will be looking to rebound in the upcoming meets.

3. Subpar sprint times raise eyebrows

The sprint events did not live up to the usual electrifying standards expected at the Diamond League. 

The women's 200 meters, won by Lewis in 22.96 seconds, was the slowest in the event's 15-year history. 

Similarly, the men’s 100 meters saw Christian Coleman narrowly defeating Fred Kerley in times that were far from their best. 

This unexpected dip in performance across the sprints has sparked discussions about potential factors, ranging from weather conditions to early season form.

4. Mondo Duplantis continues to soar

 Sweden’s Mondo Duplantis was once again in a league of his own in the pole vault. 

Clearing 6.24 meters, Duplantis not only won the event but also set the eighth world record of his illustrious career. 

His ability to perform at such a high level consistently, regardless of the occasion, underscores his dominance in the sport and his knack for peaking at the right moments.

5. Girma’s dominance in the 5,000 meters

Lamecha Girma of Ethiopia, primarily known for his prowess in the steeplechase, ventured into the 5,000 meters and left a lasting impression. 

Breaking away from the pack with 300 meters to go, Girma secured the win in a respectable 12:58.96, under challenging humid conditions. 

This performance poses the question of whether Girma might attempt the challenging steeplechase/5,000m double at the Paris Olympics, although the scheduling makes it a daunting task.

The Xiamen opener has set a high bar for the 2024 Diamond League season, blending record-chasing performances with unexpected plot twists.

As the athletes build towards the Paris Olympics each competition will be crucial in their preparation and pursuit of glory.

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