12 Giugno, 2019

Oslo: Five Questions

  • © IAAF Diamond League

Who can catch Kendricks, will Warholm delight the home crowd and which middle distance runner will be in dreamland? Ahead of the Bislett Games in Oslo this week, we have five questions which urgently need answering at the fifth IAAF Diamond League meeting of the season.

1. Will there be happy Norwegians?

The Bislett Stadion will be full to the rafters on Thursday. Or at least it would be if it had rafters. As it is, the iconic, roofless arena is sold out for the first time in the meeting's history, meaning there will be nearly 15,000 fans packed in to watch the Diamond League action.

Most of them will be yearning for a Norwegian victory, and most of them will be pinning their hopes on 400m hurdler Karsten Warholm. After Abderrahman Samba pulled out earlier this week, local hero and world champion Warholm has an even bigger chance than usual of delighting the home crowd. He will still have to be wary of Kyron McMaster, however, who has been a thorn in the side of both Warholm and Samba in the Diamond League in recent years, claiming the Diamond Trophy in 2017 and 2018. 

2. Will Coburn return triumphant?

Emma Coburn arrived in Oslo looking to break the nine-minute mark in the women's steeplechase last year, but left disappointed after a minor controversy involving a barrier which had been set too high. The American returns to Bislett this season to launch her Road to the Final campaign, and she will be hoping to dispel the ghosts of last season. 

It will be a tough task to win in Oslo, however, with world record holder and winner in Shanghai Beatrice Chepkoech leading a strong field which also includes Hyvin Kiyeng, Celliphine Chespol and local lady Karoline Grovdal.  

3. Can anyone catch Kendricks?

Sam Kendricks was left frustrated last year after his defence of the Diamond Trophy fell short in the last moment, with Timur Morgunov pipping him to the title in the Brussels final. This year, the American is back with a vengeance, and has soared to two victories in two appearances so far on the Road to the Final. 

He may take some beating in Oslo. Mondo Duplantis is also a candidate and may still be smarting from a recent defeat back in the USA, while Poles on poles Piotr Lisek and Pawel Wojciechowski have both shown their calibre many a time and oft in recent years. Watch out too for Japan's Seito Yamamoto, who has notched up two third-place finishes on the Road to the Final this year. 

4. Who will be in dreamland?

The Dream Mile is always the climactic event of the Bislett Games, and with two Ingebrigtsen brothers running in front fo a full stadium this year, expect the crowd to, ahem, blow off the roof in excitement. 

With the two best performers so far absent, this event is also a chance for the likes of Bethwell Birgen, Ayanleh Souleiman and of course Filip and Jakob Ingebrigtsen to climb up the rankings in the 1500m Road to the Final and stake their claim for a shot at the Diamond Trophy later this year. 

5. Will Chase continue to lead the chase?

Chase Ealey surprised Diamond Trophy holder Lijiao Gong in her own back yard with victory in Shanghai, and she now has a chance to extend her lead at the top of the rankings by repeating the feat in Oslo. 

Ealey overcame an already star-studded field in China, but she faces even stronger competition on Thursday. Alongside Gong, who will surely be out for revenge, she also faces reigning Olympic champion Michelle Carter, former Diamond Trophy holder Christina Schwanitz and Belarus' Aliona Dubitskaya. 

Beat all them in Oslo, and Ealey will surely have locked down her status as the favourite for this year's Diamond Trophy.