23 September, 2019

2019 Rewind - Middle Distance

  • © Philippe Fitte

From Sifan Hassan's world record in the mile to Donovan Brazier's historic triumph in the 800m, there were twists, turns and terrific performances throughout the 2019 in the middle distance disciplines. Here's a look back at how the Road to the Final unfolded.

800m Men

Having been beaten to the trophy by Kenyan rival Emmanuel Korir in 2018, it appeared for a long time as if three-time Diamond Trophy winner Nijel Amos would reclaim his throne this year.

The Botswanan won the season opener in Doha and edged Korir in a thrilling chase to the line in Rabat before picking up a third win in Monaco a few weeks later. 

Yet an early season defeat to the USA's Donovan Brazier proved to be a taste of things to come for Amos. As he rounded the final bend in Zurich, the the Botswanan had a significant lead over the rest of the field and looked certain to pick up a fourth title, only for Brazier to chase him down with a breathtaking final burst on the home straight. 

It was a historic victory for Brazier, who won his first ever Diamond Trophy and became the first non-African athlete to win the title in the men's 800m.

 

800m Women

Brazier's compatriot Ajee Wilson also picked up her first career Diamond Trophy in Brussels after reaching the final in ominously good form. 

The American took victories in Stockholm and Birmingham, coming in less than a second off the two-minute mark in both races. 

She then dominated in Brussels, leading the pack and comfortably holding off the likes of Raevyn Rogers and Winnie Nanyondo on the final straight. 

1500m Women

Sifan Hassan was already in the form of her life when she arrived in Monaco, having set a new European and Diamond League record in the 3000m in Stanford a few weeks earlier. 

She was, however, still yet to pick up a win on the Road To The Final in the women's 1500m, and the Brave Like Gabe Mile at Herculis provided a perfect opportunity to do so.

In the press conference ahead of the meet, the Dutch star suggested that she could knock a few seconds off her previous best in the mile, and chuckled when it was pointed out that this would amount to a world record. 

A world record was exactly what she got, however, as she clocked 4:12.33 in an astonishing performance at the Stade Louis II. 

The win secured her place in the final, which she won by a comfortable two second margin despite another national record from closest contender Konstanze Klosterhalfen. It was Hassan's first Diamond Trophy in four years, and was to be the first of two in 2019 as she then won the 5000m final in Brussels a week later. 

1500 Men

Kenya's Timothy Cheruiyot has held an iron grip on the Diamond Trophy over the last few years, winning it for the first time in 2017 and not letting go of it since. 

His 2019 campaign started with a setback, however, as the reigning champion suffered a surprise defeat to Elijah Motonei Manangoi in Doha. 

Cheruiyot quickly bounced back, picking up three wins from his three appearances on the Road To The Final after that. After victories in Stockholm and Stanford, the Kenyan smashed the Athletissima meeting record with an impressive 3:28.77 in Lausanne.

In the final in Brussels, there seemed little doubt that he would claim a third consecutive Diamond Trophy, and he did so comfortably, holding off Jakob and Filip Ingebrigtsen to win in 3:30.22.