Jumps: How the Diamond Trophy Was Won
Three-time Diamond Trophy winner Mutaz Essa Barshim looked well on course to bag a fourth title after three wins in three at the start of the season. Barshim was taken to the wire by Danil Lysenko in Oslo, however, who proceeded to win both of the next two meetings to stake his claim to the role of second favourite. In the absence of both men at the Final, however, Brandon Starc built on his late season success, including a win in Birmingham, to soar to 2.33m and take the Diamond Trophy.
It was a more straightforward affair in the women’s high jump, as Mariya Lasitskene continued her incredible dominance from last year. Despite her 45-competition winning streak finally coming to an end in Rabat, Lasitskene won in all of her other IAAF Diamond League appearances, and eased to victory in the Final to defend her Diamond Trophy.
From the moment Sandi Morris took victory in the season opener in Doha, it was clear that the women’s pole vault was going to be quite a competition this season. With defending champion Katerina Stefanidi struggling in the early season, Morris picked up three victories on the Road To The Final and looked to be in with a strong chance of winning a first Diamond Trophy. As expected, Morris and Stefanidi were the last women standing in Zürich, but it was the Greek who once again showed her enduring class, jumping a season’s best of 4.87m to win her third Diamond Trophy in three years.
The men’s event was equally fascinating. While Sam Kendricks was out to defend his title, and looked well set with four wins on the Road To The Final. Seven-time champion Renaud Lavillenie, meanwhile, was out to regain his after losing the Diamond Trophy for the first time ever in 2017. Both men were under pressure from rising superstar Mondo Duplantis, who took his first Diamond League victory on home soil in Stockholm, and would later jump six metres for the first time at the European Championships. Yet all three of the favourites were eventually surprised by Timur Morgunov, who also jumped six metres in Berlin before claiming a stunning victory in Brussels.
With six Diamond Trophies to his name already, Christian Taylor had the chance to become joint record champion with another title this year. Defeat to Pedro Pablo Pichardo was an early setback, but the American rallied to beat Pichardo in Lausanne and Monaco. Yet Pichardo, who had had the Diamond Trophy prised from his grasp by Taylor back in 2015, was not to be beaten this year, and he saved his best for the Final, pulling out 17.49 to deny Taylor a seventh triumph.
Caterine Ibargüen had suffered a similar fate to Taylor last season, with a surprise defeat in the Final breaking her streak of Diamond Trophies. Yet the Colombian was back with a bang this season, and nobody was going to stop her rampaging her way to a fourth title. Four wins in four on the Road To The Final were followed by a comprehensive win in Zürich, and a big smile for the Colombian legend.
Just 24 hours after her triple jump triumph in Zürich, Ibargüen then turned up in Brussels and won a second Diamond Trophy in two days in the long jump. Having put in some strong performances in the long jump in Birmingham and Lausanne, Ibargüen was nonetheless a rank outside against the likes of Shara Proctor and Malaika Mihambo, especially given that she had competed in Zürich the night before. Yet champions are champions for a reason, and Ibargüen performed sensationally in Brussels, jumping 6.80m to become the first athlete to ever win the Diamond Trophy in both the long jump and the triple jump in one year.
In the men’s long jump, reigning champion Luvo Manyonga was the firm favourite ahead of Zürichl. His only defeat on the Road To The Final had come in Stockholm, when rising star Juan Miguel Echevarría had made headlines across the world with an incredible, wind-assisted 8.83m. Manyonga then had a serious scare in the Final itself, as fellow South African Ruswahl Samaai edged ahead of him early in the competition. With the Diamond Trophy slipping from his grasp, Manyonga pulled out a marvellous jump of 8.36m in the final round to beat Samaai and defend his title.