The Brussels Diamond League was the least of the fourteen long series for this 2015 season. With the World Championships finished and many athletes coming to the end of their seasons, it was the last big chance to show off who was the best athletes in their individual events. Along with the honour of winning on the day, most of the Diamond Races would come to a close with the athletes with the most points looking to win the $40,000 prize at the end. Everything was especially important in Brussels with the points being doubles on this occasion.
We certainly saw in the Zurich Diamond League many of the athletes struggling to perform to their best having come off the World Championships and I would say the case was the same here too, with the likes of Asbel Kiprop definitely underperforming – albeit over his unfamiliar event of 800m.
This Diamond League event wasn’t the only major event of the week with many of the top runners competing in both the Diamond League and the Great City Games on the Saturday. Here, Allyson Felix would run over the 150m, coming in second place. Kiprop would perform better, winning the men’s road mile event in 4:08.
This race was without doubt one of the strongest fields assembled on the night. The quality of the race was also definitely higher than that seen ion the World Championship final where many of the big names failed to make the final.
Here, it was a very similar rematch of the race which we saw in the Monaco Diamond League which led to the world leading time of 1:42 by Amel Tuka. Along with the big names in 800m – barring that of David Rudisha who wasn’t running – Asbel Kiprop, world 1500m champion lined up.
The race never matierialised into a fast one, coming down to a battle of speed over the last 200m.This would fall into perfect territory for the in form silver medalist from Beijing, Adam Kszczot who won in a time of 1:45.12, with Tuka, Amos and Aman falling behind.
In the races where Mo Farah hasn’t been racing, the men’s 5000m has been one of the most unpredictable events of the year. Yes, it is always the main Kenyans and Ethiopians in contention, but the final winner is never certain. This again was proven at the World Championships where one of the favourites,
Yomif Kejelcha didn’t live up to the expectation, being off the pace on the final lap.
However, saying this, he came back and showed that he is still one of the best long distance runners in the world by winning here in Brussels. The race was asked to be a very fast one, going through 3000m in 7:47 which the American runners of Galen Rupp and Ben True were after, looking at the American record held by Bernard Lagat.
This fast pace wasn’t fully maintained with the winning time of 12:53.98 still being a world leading time from Kejelcha. Along with this, Olympic bronze medalist over 1500m, Iguider showed his presence and potential move up to the 5000m, coming gin third.
This race definitely had the strongest field of any race of the day. Barring the obvious Genzebe Dibaba, all of the worlds best 1500m and middle distance runners were competing.
The pace was incredibly fast from the start with a clear separation of the two class acts of Faith Kipyegon and Sifan Hassan from the rest of the pack. These two would continue to extend away from the rest, going through 800m in 2:05 with Kipyegon coming out on top to win in the third fastest mile of all time in 4:16.71. Shannon Rowbury would come out on top of the Americans, beating Jenny Simpson in their season long battle in 4:22.10.
The 200m at next years Olympic Games is set to be one of the most anticipated events of the competition. With the breakthrough of Dafne Schippers at the World Championships, she is certainly the athlete to beat; there are others who are out to challenge her like Allyson Felix, but no one yet has come close.
In Brussels, it would be a starting point to see how the competition may look like for Schippers in Rio. This is because Felix would run the 200m here instead of the 400m as she did in Beijing, testing herself over the shorter distance. I think that she was certainly at a disadvantage, having focussed her training at the longer 400m event, missing out on maybe a little speed work.
Hoover, anymore which Felix had done would still have put her in a tough position to challenge Schippers who ran away with the win once again to beat Felix in this highly anticipated race. The winning time was slow in comparison to what we saw in Beijing but was still enough to win in 22.12.
Full results of the Brussels Diamond League can be found here.
Now that the majority of the track season is over, the focus now turns to the cross country running and some big road races with the Berlin Marathon coming up later this September.