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16 brits head to lausanne for diamond league action

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Olympic medallists Desiree Henry (coach: Rana Reider) and Eilidh Doyle (Malcolm Arnold) will be in action at this evening’s Athletissima meeting, with 14 other Brits joining the pair in Lausanne for the IAAF Diamond League meeting.

Having played a key role in the first women’s 4x100m Olympic medal for 32 years, relay bronze medallist Henry is set to go head to head with some of the world’s best once again over 100m. Henry has posted the quickest British time over the distance this year (11.06) and looks the biggest threat to Dina Asher-Smith’s (John Blackie) British record of 10.99 set last year in London, with a record break entirely plausible should she stick close to 100m & 200m Olympic champion Elaine Thompson (JAM) at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin.

With just three meets remaining after Lausanne, Jamaican sprint specialist Thompson will be vying to take maximum points in the absence of current Diamond Race leader Dafne Schippers (NED), although she’ll face stiff competition from compatriot Veronica Campbell-Brown and African 200m champion Marie-Josee Ta Lou (CIV) in a field heaving with sprinting talent.

Eilidh Doyle will contest the 400m hurdles having set the 4x400m team on their way to bronze glory in Brazil just last Saturday. The 29 year-old currently sits atop the Diamond Race standings having raced strongly at five meets so far this season, with Monaco’s Herculis meeting back in July seeing the Scot seal victory in a lifetime best time of 54.09.

The competition for maximum points is sure to be tough in Switzerland as Doyle faces off against Olympic champion Dalilah Mohammed (USA), whilst Sara Petersen (DEN) and Ashley Spencer (USA), silver and bronze winners in Rio respectively, also line up in the field.

One-lap specialist Martyn Rooney (Rana Reider) will look to bounce back from disqualification disappointment in the 4x400m heats in Rio. The two-time European champion will take on LaShawn Merritt and Tony McQuay (both of the USA), both of whom played a key role in Rio as the USA reclaimed their 4x400m title back from the Bahamas.

Out in the field, European silver medallist Robbie Grabarz (Fuzz Caan) will strive to move up from his current Diamond Race rank of third as he competes against current race leader Bohdan Bondarenko (UKR), the very athlete who edged him out for bronze in Rio. Joining the pair in Lausanne will be Mutaz Essa Barshim (QAT), an Olympic silver medallist who boasts the strongest personal best (2.43m) in the field.

The women’s 800m will see Commonwealth Games silver medal winner Lynsey Sharp (Rana Reider) line up to tackle two laps less than a week after competing in the Olympic final.  Sharp impressed in Rio, clocking a lifetime best of 1:57.69 in the final, but will have be at her best one again against a strong field which includes Olympic medallists Francine Niyonsaba (BDI) and Margaret Wambui (KEN). Canadian record holder Melissa Bishop (CAN) also competes, having finished agonisingly close to a medal last weekend.

In the long jump, Lorraine Ugen (Shawn Jackson) and Shara Proctor (Rana Reider) will test themselves against some of the world’s best in the shape of Olympic champion Tianna Bartolleta (USA) and European champion Ivana Spanovic (SRB). Ugen’s finest hour came earlier this year in Portland where she leapt to world indoor bronze, whilst Proctor will hope to surpass the 7.07m lifetime best which sealed a world silver medal in Beijing last year.

The penultimate event of the event sees five time British champion Michael Rimmer (Jon Bigg) take on the lesser run 1000m against a field packed with middle distance giants, including 1500m world champion Asbel Kiprop (KEN), Olympic 1500m champion Matthew Centrowitz (USA) and 800m European  silver medal holder Marcin Lewandowski (POL). Rimmer’s best of 2:17.13 over the distance was set back in 2012 in Linz, Austria, and it will take a strong run from the 30 year old to match the time once again.

James Ellington (Linford Christie) and Reece Prescod (Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo) will be lane-side to Alonso Edward (PAN) and Aaron Brown (CAN) as they line up in the men’s 200m. Both Edward and Brown have gone close to clocking sub-20 this season, a feat the Panamanian has achieved in previous years.

100m hurdler Cindy Ofili (James Henry) was very nearly the surprise medal package in Rio, finishing just 0.02 of a second shy of a bronze medal as the USA swept the board with all three medals. She’ll look for a similar performance this evening in the non-Diamond race, with opposition coming once again predominately from the USA, whose production line of world class hurdles shows no signs of slowing down.

Heading into the meet as favourite will be current Diamond Race leader and world record holder Kendra Harrison, with the 23 year-old the a much-publicised absentee from TeamUSA in Rio following a rare performance off-day at the USA trials. Harrison is joined by four compatriots, including 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper-Nelson and Pan-American champion Queen Harrison.

The men’s 100m - also a non-Diamond race - is set to make for interesting viewing, as the much acclaimed Joel Fearon (Michael Khmel) heads to his first ever overseas Diamond League meeting. Fearon caught the eye with a 10.04 clocking in Loughborough earlier this year, a result he has since bettered to a wind-legal 9.96 in Bedford to become the quickest British man over the distance this year, as well as the joint third quickest of all time.

Fearon will be joined by Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (Benke Blomkvist) over the home straight, with the latter also setting a lifetime best (10.08) in Loughborough earlier this year prior to his appearance in the men’s 4x100m team in Rio. Competition to the British pair comes from 4x100m Olympic gold winner Asafa Powell (JAM) and European champion Churandy Martina (NED).

Last year’s European Junior champion Bobby Clay (Rob Denmark) will run in the U20s 1500m event alongside compatriot Harriet Knowles-Jones (Paul Roden). Clay has the strongest best in the field having clocked 4:10.61 earlier in the year at Birmingham’s Diamond meeting.

Knowles-Jones will hope her Diamond League debut will see her continue the strong form that saw her set a best of 4:15.49 en route to an 8th place finish at Bydgoszcz’s World Junior Championships. Elsewhere, In the 1500m U18 Swiss Athletics Cross-Cup Ella Revitt will look to shave seconds off her 2015 lifetime best of 4:50.42 against a Swiss-dominated field.

Other international highlights include Olympic medallists Renaud Lavillenie (pole vault), Omar McLeod, Orlando Ortega, Dimitri Bascou (all competing in the 110m hurdles) Valerie Adams, Michelle Carter (both in the shot), Caterine Ibarguen (triple jump), Sara Kolak (javelin) and Christoph Harting (discus).

More information on the Lausanne Diamond League can be found HERE.

Live coverage of the event can be found on Eurosport 2 this evening at 19:00.