EUGENE, Oregon, CMC – Elaine Thompson will renew her rivalry with Dafne Schippers in an all-star clash in the women’s 200 metres which will headline the third stop of the IAAF Diamond League at the Prefontaine Classic yesterday and today.
Thompson, the Rio Olympics sprint double champion, will be seeking to consolidate her position as the undisputed top female sprinter in the World today, when she face a strong field, as the some of the world’s best athletes compete in the historic surroundings of Hayward Field.
The Jamaican has been installed as favourite for the half-lap sprint following her strong start to the season.
She clocked 22.19 seconds to win the event earlier this month at the Doha DL meet and dismissed her challengers with a time of 22.09 secs at the IAAF World Challenge meeting last weekend on home soil.
Dutchwoman Schippers, the reigning 200 world champion, who won the women’s 200 DL Trophy last year, was the runner-up to Thompson at last year’s Olympics in Rio and at the DL in Doha, but she will have to run very hard to prevail over the long-legged Jamaican.
Also down to face Thompson is 2012 Olympic 200m champion Allyson Felix, whose resume also includes three world titles over the distance. She warmed up impressively with a clocking of 11.07 over 100 last weekend in Kingston which was only good for third behind compatriot Morolake Akinosun and Trinidad & Tobago’s Michelle-Lee Ahye, both clocking 11.06.
The Bahamas’ Shaunae Miller-Uibo, the woman who denied Felix an Olympic 400 gold in dramatic fashion last year in Rio, could also provide an outside challenge to Thompson, but it is American Tori Bowie, the Rio Olympics bronze medallist, that looks to be the biggest threat following her 22.09 last month in Gainesville in the American state of Florida.
Omar McLeod is another Olympic gold medallist from Jamaica who will be on display. Though the men’s 110 hurdles will not be an IAAF Diamond League event at the meet, he will nonetheless be keen to continue his dominance over rivals such as world record-holder Aries Merritt, 2013 world champion David Oliver, Olympic bronze medallist Dimitri Bascou and European indoor champion Andrew Pozzi.
The women’s 100 sees veteran Jamaican Veronica Campbell-Brown and a host of the world’s top sprinters line up against Haiti-born American world indoor champion Barbara Pierre.
Each of the competitors in this weekend’s DL events will be seeking to score points, available to those in the top eight of each discipline, to qualify for the DL Finals on August 24 in Zurich and September 1 in Brussels, where the winners of each discipline on those evenings will be crowned IAAF Diamond League champions and earn US $50,000 along with a Diamond Trophy.