29 September, 2019

2019 Rewind - Sprints

  • © Giancarlo Colombo

This season saw a double Diamond Trophy for Noah Lyles, another gong for Shaunae Miller-Uibo, and a first ever title for Dina Asher-Smith. But how did they all get there? Here's a look back at a splendid season in the sprints.

100m Women

Having narrowly missed out on the title last year, Dina Asher-Smith was among the favourites to pick up a Diamond Trophy in the women's sprints.

Though she didn't pick up an outright win on the 100m Road To The Final, the British star amassed a significant amount of points from three second-place finishes in Rome, Lausanne and London. 

In the second half of the season, it appeared that Asher-Smith was destined to always come off second best to Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, as she lost to the Jamaican both in Switzerland and on home soil. Yet the Brussels final marked a changing of the guard in the 100m. With a season's best of 10.88, Asher-Smith came in a stride ahead of Fraser-Pryce to claim her first career Diamond Trophy. One suspects it might not be her last. 

100m Men

Almost exactly two years after his breakthrough Diamond League debut, Noah Lyles shone again in Shanghai at the beginning of the season, edging fellow American Christian Coleman on the line to win the 100m. 

That performance remained Lyles' only victory on the 100m Road To The Final, but the eight points secured were enough for him to book a place in the final, and a chance to win his first Diamond League title in the shorter discipline.

He did just that, powering his way past Justin Gatlin in Zurich to win a first of two Diamond Trophies in 2019.

200m Men

It was the 200m, however, where Lyles really reached his peak in 2019. After a slow start on the Road To The Final, the young American found his form in spectacular fashion in the second half of the season, soaring to back-to-back meeting records before his victory in the Brussels final. 

Pipped to the finish line by his friend Michael Norman in Rome, Lyles didn't pick up his first victory until Lausanne. There, he clocked 19.50 to break Usain Bolt's meeting record and became the fourth fastest man in history. 

A few weeks later in Paris, he repeated the feat with 19.65, once again beating a Bolt meeting record to take a second consecutive victory and set himself up as undisputed favourite in the final. 

In Brussels, his victory never looked in doubt as he glided to an impressive 19.74 to take his second Diamond Trophy in the space of a week and join a select group of athletes who have managed to win the title in two discplines in a single season. 

200m Women

At the beginning of the season, Asher-Smith looked a strong favourite to win the women's 200m as she picked up victories in Doha and Stockholm. 

By July, however, the Bahamian sensation Shaunae Miller-Uibo was back on the scene, and the tables turned inexorably in her favour. 

Title holder since 2017 in the 200m, Miller-Uibo looked certain to secure a third successive Diamond Trophy as she stormed to victories in Monaco and Birmingham, catching Asher-Smith on the line in the latter. 

Yet it was in the final in Zurich that Miller-Uibo truly sparkled, charging to a world-leading Diamond League record of 21.74 and reaching the line with clear daylight between herself and the rest of the field. 

400m Women

Reigning champion after she relieved Miller-Uibo of the 400m title last season, Salwa Eid Naser dominated the Road To The Final once again in 2019. 

The Bahraini star cemented her status as title favourite with a run of four consecutive victories at the start of the season, culminating in her meeting record and season's best of 49.17 in Lausanne. 

Both Shericka Jackson and Stephenie Ann McPherson picked up points at the back end of the season with victories in London and Paris respectively, but there was no beating Naser in the Zurich final. 

The 21-year-old cruised to a second successive Diamond Trophy as she came in almost a full second ahead of her nearest rival in 50.24

400m Men

One of several exciting young talents who made their professional debuts in the Diamond League this season, big things were expected of Michael Norman when the Road to the Final began back in early summer. 

Aside from beating Lyles in the 200m in Rome, Norman also hit good early form in the 400m. In Stockholm, he beat fellow rising star Rai Benjamin in a thrilling battle down the home straight, and in Stanford he extended his winning run to nine meetings. 

Those two victories gave him enough points for a place in the final, and it wasn't until Brussels that Norman raced the 400m again in the Diamond League. 

In an enthralling, three-way battle in the final 150 metres, Norman just managed to edge past Akeem Bloomfield and reigning champion Fred Kerley to clock 44.26 and claim a Diamond Trophy at the first attempt.