JOHANNESBURG – The rivalry between South African long jumper Luvo Manyonga and Cuba’s Juan Miguel Echevarria is one of the big talking points ahead of the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Paris on Saturday.
Perhaps the biggest talking point of the season came in Stockholm when Echevarria sailed out to 8.83m in the event.
At 2.1m/s, the tailwind was agonisingly just a fraction over the allowable limit, but it confirmed that the teenager’s victory at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018 was not a fluke.
Earlier in the series, Echevarria had been beaten by world champion Manyonga in Rome.
Many comparisons have already been made between this new rivalry including the memorable performances from long jump legends Carl Lewis and Mike Powell.
Echevarria isn’t the only new star to emerge this year. Armand Duplantis has continued his rise – quite literally – in the pole vault and won in front of his home crowd in Stockholm.
Meanwhile, the Diamond League has reached the halfway point in the road to the final.
Six meetings have already taken place this year and there are six more to go before the series reaches its climax at the finals in Zurich and Brussels at the end of August.
Already this year there has been several record-breaking performances, a clutch of intense rivalries developing, and several new stars emerging on the world level.
Sprinting events produced most of the highlights in Eugene as Noah Lyles blazed to victory in the men’s 200m in a world-leading 19.69 and Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo, Lyles’ training partner, won the women’s 400m in 49.52.
So far in 2018, athletes have set four Diamond League records, 24 meeting records, 19 national records, six area records and 34 world-leading marks.
But for all the excitement in the Diamond League so far, there is still a long way to go. 2 916 points have been awarded across the first six meetings; 2 988 points are up for grabs throughout the next six fixtures as athletes try to earn a spot in one of the two finals.
Following a brief mid-season pause after Stockholm, the Diamond League continues in Paris before heading to Lausanne, Rabat, Monaco and London in July.
Birmingham will then host the last of the ‘qualifying’ meetings in August with the 2018 champions being decided at the finals in Zurich and Brussels.
African News Agency