Diamond League Part 1: Cheese, alphabet soup and Christian’s flowers

By Amanda @MandJ666

In the 19th century, young ladies used to partake in a European tour of culture. Following in these footsteps in 2018 I embarked on my own Diamond League tour of triple jump, street meets and all things athletics. This is a whistle stop overview of my thoughts on the meets I have attended, some of the highlights at each and other odd ramblings of an athletics fan.

There were originally 3 stops on my tour Lausanne, Monaco and Brussels, but as you will see in Part 2, a 4th meet was added after a chance conversation in Monaco. So why those 3? Well I had already visited each of these in previous years and enjoyed them, but more importantly all three meets include the men’s triple jump. (A spoiler here – I am the biggest TJ fan – or more accurately the biggest Christian Taylor fan around) so yes I planned my tour solely on the basis of:

a. is there a men’s TJ event?

b. has CT confirmed that he will be attending?

Once both boxes are ticked then I’m going

So the first leg of the tour this year was Lausanne. Now if you have never visited I can highly recommend. The lake is lovely, the beer reasonable, the Olympic museum a must and most importantly a meet that never fails to impress. This year the men’s PV was held the evening before on the edge of the lake – I do think to make it even more interesting, Mr. Coe, you could have had them vaulting on a floating platform on the lake- that would be a novel concept worthy of the best IAAF brainstorming committee meeting.

However even without the addition of water, this was an incredibly exciting event. You were centimetres away from the action and let’s be honest who amongst us wouldn’t want to be that close to some full on “Sam love” and Zippy action? The atmosphere was great, a real buzz, everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, although the large pieces of cheese given as prizes did seem to freak Renaud out!

So onto the main event. The logistics of getting to the stadium are easy and access to the warm up track is also good. It was here that I found out the Tianna Bartoletta was injured. So now one of the few LJ competitions this season would be poorer for her lack of participation. I did invite her to sit with me in the stands to watch but she politely declined (this may have something to do with my full on CT outfit that may make others slightly nervous about being around me!) In a small field it was great to see Queen Cat taking on Spanovic & Lorraine. In the end however Mihambo showed the commitment and form that was to continue into the Euros and beyond to take the win.

Before I move on to the track events (in my reviews field events are always top billing) I of course have to mention the TJ. Now I’m not saying that an English women going completely mad as Laura Muir raced down the back straight put Triple P off but CT took the win by 1 cm so, hey, if that helped I’ll take the credit.

On the track 2 races really stood out for me, firstly the men’s 400H. My first chance to watch this season’s brilliant head to head with Warholm and Samba. I love the way Warholm races; he seems to know no other way than to give it everything from the ‘B’ of the bang and also how elegant and relaxed Samba is. On this occasion as so often Qatar overcame Norway. The last race of the evening was the men’s 200. The field was 3 Americans, 1 Brazilian, 1 Swiss and 3 others. Clearly top billing and this race didn’t disappoint – 19.69 an equal WL and a PB for Noah Lyles with a, now typical, Lyles celebration.

Overall Lausanne I’ll give you 10/10 – the fireworks were spectacular, my flowers were amazing and for the 200m alone I’d say the entrance fee was well spent.

So stop two on the grand tour was Monaco. Again another DL venue I can highly recommend. Clearly it’s not cheap to stay here but at 10€ for a ticket anywhere in the back straight it’s another must for the TJ fans. In previous years I’ve been lucky enough to sit with the coaches but this year I found myself mobbed by young children. I have to confess that I may have lightly ‘encouraged’ a few out of the way in my bid to watch the women PV and even the triple jumpers seemed overwhelmed by their screams.

On a warm July evening this year’s meet was set up to be a cracker and boy oh boy it did not disappoint. There were:

1 World Record, 6 World Leads, 4 Meeting Record and 1 Diamond League Record. so overall not a bad night!

Everywhere you looked there was a highlight, clearly for me the 17.86 in the TJ by one Mr. Taylor, however Lysenko =WL =MR PB of 2.40 in HJ was fabulous and seeing half beard back competing was great. This however was the night that the track outshone the field. For me Semenya in the 800 was a fabulous display of controlled dominance 1:54:60 MR in a field that had 4 PBs, 3 SBs, and 2 NRs the race of the night. But then what about Shaunae Miller-Uibo’s 400 race, 48:97 and an alphabet soup of WL, DLR, MR, NR & PB? My friend Noah continued his great form from Lausanne with 19:65 in the 200m – just a WL, MR, PB triple, not a bad day at the office. The men’s 1500m produced another WL & PB for Timothy Cheruiyot 3:28:41 and the men’s 3000SC gave El Bakkali a WL & PB with 7:58:15.

I have witnessed some amazing nights of athletics and have been in the stadium for previous world records but Chepkoech’s WR 8:44:32 and Frerichs AR/PB 9:00:85 was a master class in running and jumping.

This year Monaco also got in on the act with street meets. The men’s and women shot put took place on the previous evening at the harbour. What a venue, millionaires yachts, the Prince of Monaco, Sandi Morris’s chicken gate security issue and the elite of the Shot Put world. Now previously I’ve loved Dame Val but have to admit that SP would not have figured on my must see events, but my night in Monaco changed that. Now it could be due in part to a new found girl crush on Raven Saunders (19:67 SB) or the fact that Kevin Mayer (14:94) decided to have a go with the big boys or just the fact that the camaraderie between all of the competitors was on par with the PV love I’m not sure, but I’m definitely a convert. Gong won the women’s comp with a huge 20:31 with Dame Val’s 19:31 a SB, whilst Ryan Crouser won the men’s comp with 22:05.

So Monaco its 11/10 for you, the alphabet soup of records and leads make this a meet not to forget.