The late withdrawal of Olympic sprint double champion Elaine Thompson-Herah might have stolen a bit of spark away from today’s Brussels Diamond League meeting, but Namibia’s sprint aces Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi are determined to inject some oomph into the revered event.
Thompson-Herah, who is currently the fastest woman in the world, pulled out of the Brussels meet in order to protect her injured Achilles, but the 200m field is still stacked with firebrand sprinters such as Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson, America’s Sha’Carri Richardson and Olympic finalist Marie-Josée Ta Lou of Ivory Coast, amongst others.
But the centre of attention will be on Namibia’s Olympic silver medallist and World Athletics U/20 champion Mboma, who will again be expected to give her much senior competitors a good run for their money, as she did in Tokyo.
The 18-year-old Mboma ran a lifetime best of 21.81 seconds for the silver medal in Tokyo and 21.82 seconds to win gold at the World Athletics U/20 championships in Kenya last month.
She will again today prove to be a handful not just for Richardson, who has not run faster times compared to Mboma, but also for Olympic 100m silver medallist Jackson, who ran a personal best of 21.82 seconds in June.
Her compatriot and fellow Olympic finalist Masilingi is also not to be counted out. The Namibian teenager, also 18, finished sixth overall in Tokyo after she ran a personal best of 22.28 seconds, and also scooped silver at last month’s World Athletics U/20 championships.
Their coach Henk Botha had earlier indicated that today’s race presents another opportunity for both runners to cement their status and further boost their rising dominance in the world’s short distances.
The Brussels Diamond League, also known as the Allianz Memorial Van Damme, is the penultimate event of the Wanda Diamond League – the circuit of the world’s biggest meetings. The last leg of the serial athletics meetings will be the Zürich Diamond League, slated for 8-9 September in Switzerland, to which Namibia’s golden girls have also been invited.
The Diamond League awards points to athletes according to the positions at the end of each race, with the overall winner declared the Diamond League Champion. The top eight athletes at each meeting are awarded points (8–7–6–5–4–3–2–1), and these points determine which athletes qualify for the discipline finals in Zürich and Brussels. The allocation of the overall prize money is determined solely by the results of the final. - firstname.lastname@example.org