Olympic champions Elaine Thompson Herah, Karsten Warholm, Daniel Stahl, Miltiadis Tentoglou, Emmanuel Korir, Katie Nageotte and Soufiane El Bakkali are the top names at the Mohamed VI International Athletics Meeting in Rabat, the fourth leg of the Wanda Diamond League, at the Complex Prince Moulay Abdellah.
Rabat hosts the Wanda Diamond League for the first time since 2019 after two years of absence due to the pandemic.
Men’s 400m hurdles:
World 400m hurdles record holder and olympic champion Karsten Warholm will start his season in Rabat before competing in front of his home fans at the Bislett Games in Oslo on 16 June.
Warholm improved Kevin Young’s long-standing world record with 46.70 in Oslo one month before winning the olympic gold medal in Tokyo with a sensational world record of 45.94. He will run his first 400m hurdles race since last September, when he won the Diamond League final in Zurich for the second time in his career in 47.35.
Karsten Warholm: “One thing is success and another thing is repeating success. It is actually more difficult to repeat it. That’s the task that I am up for. I feel like we have pushed a very far level when it comes to performance. When you run 45.94, it’s putting a mark that nobody has ever seen and that also means that you are now walking a path that nobody has walked before you. It’s up to me and my coach to be able to find the ways we want to walk now. It’s been all about putting in more work to see if there is any more to get”.
The two-time world champion will chase his third consecutive world title in Eugene next July.
On the track of the Complex Prince Moulay Abdellah Warholm will face Yasmani Copello from Turkey and Rasmus Magi, who finished sixth and seventh at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Jaheel Hyde from Jamaica, who won two world under 20 titles in 2014 and 2016, Khallifah Rosser from the USA, who finished second at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene in his lifetime best of 48.10, French hurdlers Ludvy Vaillant (fourth at the European Championships in Berlin 2018) and Wilfried Happio (European Under 23 champion in Gavle 2019).
Women’s 100 metres:
Five-time Olympic champion Elaine Thompson Herah will return to Rabat, where she won the 100 metres twice in 2016 in 11.02 and in 2017 in 10.87. The 29-year-old Jamaican sprinter started the 2022 Diamond League season with an impressive win at the Prefontaine Classic in 10.79, setting the second fastest time in the world. She also dipped under the 11 seconds barrier three times clocking 10.89 in Walnut, 10.93 in Ponce and 10.94 in Kingston.
“Elaine Thompson Herah: “I think it would be very important to add the world gold medal to my tally. I have five Olympic gold medals, and in the World Championships I only have a silver. I don’t want to be only an Olympic baby. I want a taste of the gold from the World Championships”.
Three-time world championships medallist Marie Josée Ta Lou from Ivory Coast will be chasing her first win in Rabat. In her previous appearances at this meeting Ta Lou finished second in 2017 in 10.90 and in 2019 in 11.09.
The other top names in the field are former 100m and 200m world under 20 champion Anthonique Strachan from the Bahamas, who clocked 10.99 earlier this year in Kingston, last year’s European 60m Indoor champion Ajla Del Ponte from Switzerland, who finished fifth in the Olympic 100m final in Tokyo, Michelle Lee Ahye from Trinidad and Tobago, who finished sixth in the Olympic final in the 100m in Rio de Janeiro 2016 and won the 100m at the Memorial Szewinska in Bydgoszcz last Friday, and Alexandra Burghardt from Germany, double national champion in the 100m and 200m and fifth in the Olympic final in the 4x100 relay.
Men’s 200 metres:
Olympic 200 metres silver medallist Kenneth Bednarek defends his Diamond League title won last year in Zurich in 19.70. The US sprinter broke the 20 seconds barrier 12 times in 2021 and improved his PB to 19.69 in the Olympic final in Tokyo. He will run his first 200 metres race of the season after clocking 10.15 in Nairobi and 10.18 in Eugene in his most recent 100m competitions.
Bednarek will face olympic 4x100 silver medallist Jerome Blake, who won the 200 metres in the Ostrava Golden Spike meeting in 20.14.
The other sprinters to watch are Olympic 4x100 relay champion Eseosa Desalu from Italy, who improved his 100m PB to 10.21 in Savona and holds a 200m lifetime best of 20.13, Isaac Makwala, Olympic 4x400 relay silver medallist and 400m Commonwealth Games champion, Yancarlos Martinez from Dominican Republic, who reached the semifinals at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, and Luxolo Adams from South Africa, who improved his PB to 20.28 in Potchefstroom earlier this year.
Women’s 400 metres:
Olympic silver medallist Marileidy Paulino from Dominican Republic is looking to build on her impressive start to the season. Paulino won the 400m in the opening meeting of the Diamond League in Doha beating Jamaica’s Stephanie Ann McPherson and olympic champion Shaunae Miller Uibo.
Paulino set the fastest time in the world this year clocking 49.49 at the Ibero American Championships in La Nucia and improved her national record in the 200m to 22.59 in Savona. She will renew her rivalry against Stephanie Ann McPherson, who finished fourth in the 400m in 49.61 and won the bronze medal in the 4x400 relay at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Sada Williams from Barbados, who improved his PB to 50.11 in the Olympic semifinal in Tokyo.
Women’s triple jump:
Shanieka Ricketts from Jamaica will chase her second Diamond League triple jump competition of the season after leaping to a wind-assisted 14.82 in Doha last May. Ricketts won the Diamond League final in Zurich and the world silver medal in Doha in 2019. Last year Ricketts finished fourth in the Olympic Games in Tokyo with 14.84m.
Ricketts will take on Patricia Mamona, who improved her Portuguese record to 15.01m to win the Olympic silver medal in Tokyo behind Yulimar Rojas, Lladagmis Povea from Cuba, who finished fifth at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, young Cuban jumper Leyanis Perez, who set the world leading mark of 14.58m at the Ibero Americano Championships in La Nucia, Thea Lafond from Dominica, who finished fourth at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade and won in Savona with 14.53m, and Ana Lucia José Tima from Dominican Republic, who set her seasonal best with 14.46m in Savona.
Men’s discus throw:
Kristjan Ceh will chase his second consecutive Diamond League win this year. Ceh won in Birmingham setting the world leading mark and the Diamond League record with 71.27m (the 10th best performance on the world all-time list) and is looking to back up this result. The Slovenian thrower won his second consecutive European Under 23 title in Tallin with 67.48m and finished fifth at the Olympic Games in Tokyo with 66.37m.
The Rabat line-up reunites the entire podium of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, including Swedish throwers Daniel Stahl (gold), Simon Petterson (silver) and Austria’s Lukas Weisshaidinger (bronze), who improved the national record to 69.11m in Eisenstadt earlier this week.
Olympic and world champion Daniel Stahl is second in the world seasonal list with 69.11m, but he had to settle with third place in Birmingham with 65.97m. Stahl is looking to win his first Diamond League win this season after claiming four wins in as many appearances on his way to the Diamond League title in 2021.
Stahl will compete for the second time in Rabat three years after finishing second to Jamaica’s Fedrick Dacres in the 2019 edition with 69.57m. Dacres, who won that competition with 70.78m, also returns to Rabat. Stahl leads 23-14 in his head-to-head clashes against Dacres.
Former world and European champion Andrius Gudzius is set to continue his good period of form after finishing third in Birmingham with 66.40m. The Lithuanian thrower set his seasonal best of 67.45m in Palanga last May.
The line-up is rounded out by Matthew Denny from Australia, fourth at the Olympic Games in Tokyo with 67.02m, US thrower Sam Matthis, who improved his PB to 68.69m in Tucson this year, Lawrence Okoye from Great Britain, who won the European Under 23 gold medal in 2011, and Alex Rose from Samoa, who set the national record of 67.48m in Tucson last year.
Men’s long jump:
Simon Ehammer will compete in the long jump one week after leaping to a sensational world decathlon all-time best of 8.45m at the Hypo meeting in Goetzis. The 22-year-old Swiss athlete set the world leading mark and the Swiss record. He would have won the gold medal in the past four editions of the Olympic Games. In combined events competitions Ehammer won the world indoor silver medal in the eptathlon with the national record of 6363 points and set two national decathlon records with 8354 points in Ratingen and 8377 points in Goetzis.
Ehammer will face Miltiadis Tentoglou from Greece, who won the Olympic Games in Tokyo with 8.41m and the world indoor gold medal in Belgrade last March with 8.55m. The Greek jumper also claimed two European outdoor titles in Berlin in 2018, two European Indoor gold medals in 2019 and 2021. In the early outdoor meetings Tentoglou competed four times on Greek soil producing a seasonal best of 8.36m in Argostoli last May.
Miltiadis Tentoglou: “Rabat is like a world championships final. The weather here is perfect. The wind is also good. It’s like a test. I think tomorrow is going to be a good day”
Tentoglou will renew his rivalry against Thobias Montler from Sweden, who won the world indoor silver medal in Belgrade with 8.38m and won the Diamond League final in Zurich last September.
Ju’Vaughn Harrison will compete for the first time in his career in the long jump in the Diamond League after his fifth place on his debut in the high jump in Doha. Harrison won both the long jump and the high jump at the 2021 US Olympic Trials becoming the first US athlete since Jim Thorpe in 1912 to qualify for both disciplines at the Olympic Games. The 2021 NCAA indoor and outdoor champion finished fifth in the long jump with 8.15m and seventh in the high jump with 2.33m.
The line-up also features Jamaica’s Tajay Gayle, who won the world outdoor title with 8.69m in Doha 2019, Maykel Massò from Cuba, who won the Olympic bronze medal in Tokyo, and Uruguay’s Emiliano Lasa, who leapt to a national record of 8.28m in Sao Paulo last May.
Women’s high jump:
Rabat reunites the entire podium of the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade with Yaroslava Mahuchik (gold), Eleanor Patterson (silver) and Nadezhda Dubovitskaya (bronze).
World Indoor champion Yaroslava Mahuchik from the Ukraine will chase her second Diamond League competition this year after claiming the first place with 2.00m at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene. Mahuchik won the world outdoor silver medal in Doha 2019 with a world under 20 record of 2.04m, the European Indoor title in Torun 2021 with 2.00m, the European Under 23 title in Tallin 2021 with 2.00m, the Olympic bronze medal in Tokyo 2021 with 2.00 and the world indoor gold medal in Belgrade 2022 with 2.02m. Last year 20 year-old Ukrainian jumper won two Diamond League competitions in Stockolm with 2.03m and in Brussels with 2.02m and finished second in the Final in Zurich with 2.03m.
Mahuchik will renew her rivalry with Nicola Olyslagers, who won the Olympic silver medal in Tokyo with 2.02m under her maiden name McDermott. Olyslagers won her first Diamond League competition in Paris with 1.98m and finished third in Zurich with 2.01m. This year the Australian athlete won the national title with 1.94m in Sydney and finished fifth in Eugene with 1.90m.
Eleanor Patterson won the world indoor silver medal in Belgrade last March with 2.00m and finished fifth at the Olympic Games in Tokyo with 1.96m.
The line-up is rounded out by former world under 20 champion Mariya Vukovic from Montenegro, who cleared 1.95m in Athens this week, Iryna Geraschenko, fourth placer at the Olympic Games in Tokyo with 1.98m, Yuliya Levchenko, world silver medallist in London 2017 with 2.01m, Elena Vallortigara, who finished sixth at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade with 1.92m and fifth in the Eugene Prefontaine Classic with 1.90m, and Morgan Lake from Great Britain, world under 20 champion in the high jump and in the heptathlon in Eugene 2014.
Women’s pole vault:
The line-up features the three medallists of the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade: Sandi Morris (gold), Katie Nageotte (silver) and Tina Sutej (bronze), 2016 Olympic gold medallist Ekaterini Stefanidi and 2021 Olympic bronze medallist Holly Bradshaw.
Morris won her first Diamond League competition of the season in Birmingham with 4.73m. The US pole vault star returns to Rabat, where she won in 2019 with 4.82m. She cleared her seasonal best of 4.82 at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade. Sandi Morris now trains with Katie Nageoote under the guidance of former pole vault star Brad Walker.
Sandi Morris: “I have won the world indoor title twice in my career. A world outdoor gold has eluded me so far. I would love to break that streak, especially given the Championships will take place on home soil, with American flags in the stands. That is going to be something that I and other US athletes have never experienced before to have that much support at the World Championships. I am getting chills just thinking about. I just changed coaches and to be able to be consistent under a new technical programme, working on new technical things, it shows that the future is bright for this season”
Stefanidi finished second in Birmingham with 4.65m sharing the same height as Sutej.
Sutej set the national record of 4.80m in Rouen last March and won the world indoor bronze medal with 4.75m in Belgrade. Last Tuesday sh won in Ostrava with 4.65m.
Nageotte won the Olympic gold medal with 4.90m in Tokyo and the world indoor bronze medal with 4.75m in Belgrade.
Holly Bradshaw won the Olympic bronze medal in Tokyo with 4.85m and set the British outdoor record clearing 4.90m in Manchester last year.
The line-up is rounded out by 2018 European outdoor silver medallist Nikoleta Kiryakopoulou from Greece, 2017 world bronze medallist Robeilys Peinado from Venezuela, Australia’s Nina Kennedy, who set the national record with 4.82m in 2021, Ukraine’s Maryna Kylypko and Xu Huiquin, who finished fifth and seventh at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade respectively.
Men’s 3000 steeplechase:
Olympic and world silver medallist Lemecha Girma returns to the track just five days after setting the world leading time of 7:58.15 at the Golden Spike in Ostrava, With this performance the Ethiopian athlete moved up to 12th place in the world all-time list.
Girma will go head-to-head against reigning olympic champion Soufiane El Bakkali from Morocco, who will receive a strong support from the local fans. El Bakkali beat Girma in the Olympic final in Tokyo last year and took a very close win by 0.01 in the Doha Diamond League meeting in 8:09.66.
El Bakkali became the first non Kenyan runner to win the Olympic 3000m steeplechase gold medal since Bronislaw Malinowski in Moscow 1980. The Moroccan runner also won the world silver medal in London 2017 and the world bronze in Doha 2019.
Soufiane El Bakkali: “While there are pressures involved in competing in our own country, we hope we will be able to deal with this and move into a new phase for this season”.
The line-up also features Benjamin Kigen from Kenya, who won the Olympic bronze medal in Tokyo and the Diamond League final in Zurich last year, and 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Mahiedine Mekhissi Benabbad, who has not completed a 3000m steeplechase race since his European gold medal in Berlin 2018 due to injury problems.
Men’s 1500 metres:
Kenya’s Abel Kipsang will aim to win his third Diamond League 1500m race this season after finishing first in Doha in 3:35.70 and Birmingham in 3:35.15. The 25-year-old Kenyan athlete also finished fourth in the mile in Eugene in 3:50.87 last Saturday. Last month Kipsang set the fastest time in the world this year clocking 3:31.01 in Nairobi.
Kipsang finished fourth in the Olympic final in 3:29.56 after setting the Olympic record of 3:31.65 in the semifinal. This record had been held by his compatriot Noah Ngeny since the Olympic Games in Sydney. Last March he won the world indoor bronze medal in Belgrade.
Kipsang will go head-to-head with Mohamed Katir from Spain, who set three national records in last year’s edition of the Diamond League clocking 3:28.76 in the 1500m in Monaco, 7:27.64 in the 3000m in Gateshead and 12:50.79 in the 5000 metres in Florence.
The field is completed by Jake Wightman, European bronze medallist in Berlin 2018 and the third fastest British runner in history with his PB of 3:29.47, Olympic finalist Jake Heyward from Great Britain, Jimmy Gressier from France, who won at the European 10000m Cup in Pacé in 27:24.51 last week, Frenchman Azzedine Habz, who set his lifetime best of 3:31.74 in Monaco in 2021, and Charles Grethen from Luxemburg, who reached the Olympic final in Tokyo.
Women’s 3000 metres:
Francine Nyonsaba became the first athlete from Burundi to win the Diamond Trophy with her win in the 5000m in the Diamond League final in Zurich last September. She also broke two national records in the 3000m in Paris with 8:19.08 and in the 5000m in Brussels with 14:25.34 on her Road to the Final. In this year’s edition of the Diamond League Nyonsaba won the 3000m in Doha with 8:37.70 and set the second fastest time in history in the 2 miles in Eugene with 8:59.08.
The other top names in the field are Kenyan rising star Teresiah Muthoni Gateri, who won the world under 20 gold medal in the 3000m in Nairobi and finished fifth in the 5000m in her lifetime best of 14.44.89 in Eugene last week, and her compatriot Mercy Cherono, who won the world silver medal in the 5000m in Moscow 2013 and finished fourth over the same distance at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Men’s 800 metres:
Emmanuel Wanyonyi is the fastest in the field this year with his seasonal best of 1:44.15 at the Golden Spike in Ostrava and also claimed victory in another Continental Tour Gold meeting in Nairobi in 1:45.01. Wanyonyi won the world under 20 title on home soil setting his PB of 1:43.76. The 17-year-old Kenyan athlete will take on his compatriot Emmanuel Korir and 2012 olympic silver medallist Nijel Amos.
Korir won the Olympic gold medal in Tokyo and the Diamond League title in 2021. In his career he claimed seven wins at Diamond League races and set a PB of 1:42.05 in London in 2018.
Amos set the world seasonal best with 1:42.91 last year and still holds the world under 20 record with his lifetime best of 1:41.73.
The line-up also features olympic silver and world bronze medallist Ferguson Rotich, this year’s world indoor champion Mariano Garcia from Spain, two-time world medallist Amel Tuka from Bosnia, who set a national record of 1:42.51 in Monaco 2015, and Collins Kipruto, who clocked 1:44.58 in Ostrava last Tuesday, Michael Saruni from Kenya, who holds a PB of 1:43.25 set in Tucson 2018, Gabriel Tual from France, who finished seventh in the Olympic final in Tokyo after setting his PB of 1:44.28 in the semifinal.
Women’s 1500 metres:
Freweyni Hailu will headline the women’s 1500 metres. The 21-year-old Ethiopian runner finished fourth the 1500m at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 3:57.60 and won the world indoor silver medal in the 800 metres in Belgrade. Hailu set her PBs of 1:57.57 in the 800m in Chorzow and 3:56.28 in the 1500m in Monaco. She finished seventh in 3:57.97 in the Eugene Prefontaine Classic last week.
Hailu will chase her first win of the season against her compatriots Axumawit Embaye and Hirut Meshesha, who won the silver and bronze medals in the 1500m at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade last March, Uganda’s Winnie Nanyondo, who finished fourth in the 800 metres at the World Championships in Doha 2019, and Australia’s Linden Hall, who finished sixth at the Olympic Games in the 1500m in Tokyo in 3:59.01.
Women’s 800 metres:
South Africa’s Prudence Sekgodisa made her breakthrough at international level when she won at the Continental Tour Gold meeting in 1:58.41 in Nairobi last May. The field features seven more runners with a PB under 2 minutes.
French middle-distance runner Renelle Lamote will return to the Rabat meeting where she finished third in the 2018 edition in 1:58.84. Lamote won three European silver medals (two outdoors in Amsterdam 2016 and Berlin 2018 and one indoors in Glasgow 2019).
The line-up will also feature Alexandra Bell from Great Britain, who finished seventh in the Olympic final in Tokyo, Ethiopia’s Worknesh Mesele, who set her PB of 1:58.71 in Hengelo last year, Mary Moraa from Kenya, second in the Diamond League meeting in Nairobi with 1:59.87, Jarinter Mawia Mwasya (PB 1:59.84) and Elena Bellò from Italy, who set her PB clocking 2:00.39 in Oordegem last week.