The Swiss city of Lausanne was the location of the eighth Diamond League meeting of the 2019 season. The headquarters of the International Olympic Committee are also situated there. In the warm 27°C conditions there was every chance that the competition would heat up.
Self-Belief Extends Winning Streak
After winning all three previous Diamond League meetings this season, in Doha, Rome and Rabat, Salwa Eid Nasar was expected to dominate the one-lap event. She stormed out of the blocks and kept passing athletes on her outside as she approached the final straight. However, Aminatou Seyni of Niger in lane four closed on Eid Nasar, spurring her competitor on, before falling short by two-hundredths of a second.
In running her season’s best the Bahraini 21-year-old also broke a 23-year-old meeting record, maintaining her dominance in the event. Her season has so far been near perfect, becoming the 400m Arab and Asian champion and improving her season’s best at every meeting she has won. She is certainly the woman everyone is aiming to dethrone.
Grit Sometimes Wins Out
The women’s 800m race was contested between Nelly Jepkosgei of Kenya and Halimah Nakaayi of Uganda. With 200m to go the two East Africans broke away and fought for top spot. Although inevitably strong athletes, their ambitions overwhelmed their thoughts. Their form and technique appeared to be secondary. Their heads shook, arms flailed and facial expressions were anything but relaxed. But both achieved a sub-two-minute time to impress the Swiss crowd.
Sadly, the Swiss athletes could only manage fourth, fifth and seventh on home soil.
Always Aim for the Right Mark
The consequences of not counting the laps you’re racing is that you misjudge your effort and lose the race. That’s what happened to Ethiopia’s Hagos Gebrhiwet in the 5000m. He shot off halfway through the penultimate lap, only to celebrate and stop. By the time he reacted to his competitors continuing to race he had lost all momentum. He finished in tenth place. What was most shocking was that he is an experienced middle-distance athlete, having won multiple medals at World Championships and taken victories at multiple Diamond League meetings.
Meanwhile in the men’s 200m event Noah Lyles stormed to his second victory of the Diamond League season after his 100m triumph in Shanghai. The charismatic American was looking for a time closer to 19.4 seconds, which he and his coach had been working on. But by focusing on excellence he still managed to finish in 19.5 seconds, winning by almost half a second. He also recorded a new personal best and world leading time in the process. Not only that, he achieved a new meeting record, usurping none other than Usain Bolt’s previous mark.