With the first IAAF Diamond League 2018 meeting on European soil just around the corner, here are five things to look out for when the Road To The Final continues in Rome this week.
1. Coleman eyes first points
Christian Coleman made his IAAF Diamond League debut in Eugene last weekend, finishing second to compatriot Ronnie Baker in the men’s 100m.
As that race was not a Diamond Discipline in Eugene, however, the Golden Gala will be Coleman’s first chance to pick up points on the Road To The Final.
The US sprinting prodigy will once again face Baker, and will face further tough competition from the likes of Ramil Guliyev, Akani Simbine and Michael Rodgers.
With Reece Prescod currently leading the standings, Coleman and co. will be hoping to break into a qualifying position with a big points haul in Rome.
2. Coburn and Kiyeng launch campaigns
In the women’s 3000m steeplechase, the Diamond Trophy has been held by Ruth Jebet for the last two years. Both Emma Coburn and Hyvin Kiyeng, though, have given the Bahraini star a run for her money at various points in the last two seasons, and both will be hoping to wrest the Trophy from her grasp this summer.
For the steeplechasers, Rome will be the first step on the Road To The Final, and both Coburn and Kiyeng will be looking to pick up maximum points and get their campaigns off to a flying start.
3. Big names line up in the discus
The women’s steeplechase is not the only event in which the Road To The Final begins in Rome; in the men’s discus, too, the Golden Gala will be the first chance to get points on the board.
Some of the event’s biggest names are set to compete for a share of the spoils, with Olympic gold medallists Robert and Christoph Harting lining up against four time Diamond Trophy winner Piotr Małachowski.
Diamond Trophy holder Andrius Gudzius will also be looking to make a strong start to his title defence, while Sweden’s Daniel Ståhl, who dominated for much of last season, is hoping to go a step further this year and claim the Diamond Trophy.
4. Warholm on the war path
Another Scandinavian who narrowly missed out on the Diamond Trophy last season was Karsten Warholm, who suffered a surprise defeat to Kyron McMaster in Zürich just weeks after being crowned World Champion.
Warholm is hoping to emulate the success of an explosive 2017, and will make his first Diamond League appearance of the season in Rome.
He faces a tough task to pick up all eight points, with the likes of Yasmani Copello, Olympic Champion Kerron Clement, and Abderrahman Samba, who set a new Diamond League record in Doha.
5. Lasitskene dreams of more dominance
After utterly dominating the women’s high jump in all competitions last summer, Mariya Lasitskene can hardly improve in 2018.
In Shanghai, however, she showed that she is as hungry as ever for Diamond League success, storming to victory and setting the tone for what threatens to be another dominant season.
In Rome, she faces a tough field, with the likes of Vashti Cunningham, Yuliya Levchenko and local hero Alessia Trost attempting to end her hegemony.