14 Oktober, 2019

2019 Rewind - Hurdles

  • © IAAF Diamond League

A maiden Diamond League title for Karsten Warholm, an explosive debut season for Sydney McLaughlin and a return to glory for Orlando Ortega. Here's a look back at how the Diamond Trophy was won in the 100m, 110m and 400m hurdles.

110m Hurdles Men

With several big names competing at their very best, the men's sprint hurdles has repeatedly been one of the hardest contests to pick in recent years.

Sergey Shubenkov has held the title for the last two years,  his friend and rival Omar McLeod has repeatedly picked up victories on the circuit and more experienced champions such as Orlando Ortega have proved themselves perennial title candidates.

It was McLeod who took the first win of the season, picking up his fourth victory in four years at the Shanghai meeting in May just days after a family tragedy.

It would remain his only victory of 2019, and title defender Shubenkov swiftly knocked him off top spot with wins in Rome and Rabat. The latter came, a meeting record of 13.12, came at the expense of quite a lot of skin as Shubenkov was forced to dive across the line after being accidentally tripped by McLeod. 

The latter half of the season belonged to Orlando Ortega, however. The Spaniard caught up with Shubenkov in the standings with season's bests in Stanford and Lausanne, and despite a breakthrough win for Daniel Roberts in Paris, it was Ortega who came out on top in the Brussels final, running 13.22 to reclaim the Diamond Trophy he last won in 2016. 

100m Hurdles Women

Traditionally dominated by USATF stars such as Dawn Harper Nelson and Kendra Harrison, the women's 100m hurdles had only been won by a non-American in two of nine previous Diamond League seasons ahead of this year's Road To The Final.

2019 would buck the trend, however, as Jamaica's Danielle Williams stormed around the circuit in consistently brilliant form to claim her first career Diamond Trophy. 

After opening her account with a winning season's best of 12.66 at the season opener in Doha, Williams was quickly overtaken in the standings by world record holder and 2016 champion Kendra Harrison, who took all eight points in Stockholm and Monaco. 

Fellow American Christina Clemons also picked up a win in Oslo, but it was Williams who delivered when it really mattered. The Jamaican set a new national record of 12.32 with a superb victory in London before smashing the meeting record up the road in Birmingham a few weeks later. 

Williams then ran an impressive 12.46 in Brussels to join Ortega on the 2019 Diamond Trophy winners' podium. 

400m Hurdles Women

The undisputed champion in the women's 400m hurdles in recent years, American star Dalilah Muhammad had a new challenger to contend with this year as rising star Sydney McLaughlin hit the Diamond League circuit for the very first time. 

Muhammad looked on course to take a third successive Diamond Trophy after she picked up a maximum 16 points from the first two meetings of the season, setting a new meeting record of 53.61 in Doha along the way. 

Yet Muhammad, who ultimately beat McLaughlin to the world title in Doha later in the season, would struggle to stay ahead of her young rival as the Road To The Final wound its way towards Zurich. McLaughlin picked up her first ever Diamond League victory in Oslo before securing qualification with a world-leading 53.32 in Monaco. 

Elsewhere, wins for Shamier Little and Rushell Clayton also dealt blows to Muhammad's hegemony, and it was McLaughlin who triumphed at Weltklasse, running a season's best of 52.85 to win her first Diamond Trophy and usher in a new dawn in the 400m hurdles. 

400m Hurdles Men

Karsten Warholm and Abderrahman Samba have dominated the men's 400m hurdles in the last two years, only to be beaten to glory in the final by Kyron McMaster in both 2017 and 2018. 

This year saw the end of that trend, as Warholm hit the best form of his career as he rampaged to a first Diamond League title before defending his world championships crown in Doha. 

It was Samba who picked up the first eight points of the season with a meeting record of 47.27 in Shanghai, and rising star Rai Benjamin also staked his claim to the title with a meeting record in Stanford. 

Yet aside from those two flashes in the pan, 2019 was all about Warholm. After a comfortable victory in Stockholm, Warholm smashed the European record with a brilliant 47.33 on home soil in Oslo, before smashing it again with 47.12 in London. He then consolidated his place at the top of the standings with a win in Paris, and wrapped up a superb season with yet another European record of 46.92 in Zurich. 

That performance not only secured Warholm his first Diamond Trophy, it also saw him break Samba's Diamond League record from 2018, and established the Norwegian as the undisputed king of the 400m hurdles.