Long Jumpers: The New Wave
By the time Germany's Mihambo and Echevarria reached the Diamond League Final a few months ago, both of them were clear favourites to take the title.
In the women's event, Mihambo had won two of the four meetings on the Road To The Final, clearing seven metres on both occasions and recording a new PB of 7.07m in the process. Echevarria had been equally impressive in the men's competition, lodging himself at the top of the standings with two winning performances in Lausanne and Rabat.
Come the final, both athletes then emphatically lived up to their billing. In Zurich, Echevarria blew the competition out of the water with a Diamond League record jump of 8.65m, and in Brussels a week later, Mihambo cleared seven metres for a third time to claim her maiden title.
Even for athletes in such blistering form, however, securing the Diamond Trophy in the long jump is no mean feat. This, after all, is a discipline which has not gone short of talent in recent years. Whether in the South African splendour Luvo Manyonga and Ruswahl Samaai or in the cacophony of quality provided by names such as Brittney Reese, Ivana Spanovic and Caterine Ibargüen, the sandpit has been graced by some serious heavyweights of late.
Yet both Echevarria and Mihambo had been knocking on the door of the elite for a while. 2018 proved to be something of a breakthrough year for both of them, as Mihambo claimed European Championship gold on home soil in Berlin, while Echevarria positively sailed his way to a gobsmacking, wind-assisted 8.83m in Stockholm.
In both cases, the success laid the groundwork for an all-out assault on top spot come 2019 and a first Diamond Trophy for the long jump's new superstars. Based on their form this year, one suspects there may be more to come.
Watch Malaika Mihambo's best Diamond League performances