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Breakthroughs, Broken Records and Beating Usain Bolt

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Michael Norman were on record-breaking form in the sprints in 2022, while Noah Lyles beat the fastest man in history at the Wanda Diamond League Final in Zurich.

2022 was an unforgettable year for the sprinters on the Wanda Diamond League circuit, with the Jamaicans pushing new boundaries in the women’s events and the Americans toppling years-old records in the men’s. In the first part of our “Best of 2022” series, we take a look back at some of the year’s most memorable performances in the 100m, 200m and 400m.

Norman surpasses Van Niekerk – Men’s 400m, Eugene

For five years, Wayde Van Niekerk had maintained a firm grip on the 400m Diamond League record, with almost nobody getting within a sniff of the South African’s 43.62 in Lausanne in 2017. That all changed this year, however, as Michael Norman soared around the new Hayward Field to clock 43.60 and hurl down the gauntlet ahead of the World Athletics Championships. He would be crowned world champion on the same track a few months later, and while he failed to claim the Diamond Trophy in Zurich, Norman could still look back on a successful Diamond League campaign come September. A new series record and a victory on home soil to boot, his brilliant run in Eugene made him one of the standout performers in the 400m.

 Jackson stuns the big guns – Women’s 200m, Rome

Shericka Jackson was certainly no small fry when she launched her 2022 Diamond League campaign in May, but it wasn’t until the Pietro Mennea Golden Gala in Rome that she began to establish herself as an undisputed favourite for the Diamond Trophy. In a highly anticipated 200m which included Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah. US legend Allyson Felix and multiple Diamond League champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo, it was Jackson who prevailed with a dominant 21.91, a meeting record and a statement victory early in the season. She would go on to establish herself as one of the greats of an incredible Jamaican generation, claiming World Championship gold in Oregon and a first Diamond Trophy in Zurich.

 Fraser-Pryce and Ta Lou make history – Women’s 100m, Monaco

It took three meetings for Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce to pick up her first points-scoring win in the 2022 Wanda Diamond League, but once she got points on the board, there was no looking back as the Jamaican legend notched up three separate meeting records on her way to a fifth Diamond Trophy in the second half of the season. The fastest of them came in Monaco, where she clocked 10.62 to pick up a world lead, meeting record and the third-fastest time in Diamond League history. Behind her in third place, Marie-Josée Ta Lou also made history with an African record of 10.72, the Ivorian clutching her head in disbelief as she crossed the finish line at the Stade Louis II.

 Lyles breaks Bolt’s record – Men’s 200m, Zurich

Perhaps one of the most impressive performances of the season came in the men’s 200m in Zurich. Noah Lyles had promised something special ahead of the Wanda Diamond League Final, and he delivered in style at the Letzigrund Stadium, jetpacking away from the rest of the field as he came out of the bend to win a fifth Diamond League title and break a meeting record which had been previously held by the fastest man in history, Usain Bolt. It was not just a historic victory, but an emphatic one, as Lyles shaved a full 0.14 seconds of Bolt’s previously unbeatable 19.66, set at Weltklasse in 2012.



Aras Kaya, Yemaneberhan Crippa to battle Jakob Ingebrigtsen, at European Cross Country

The historic La Mandria Castle will provide a suitably regal backdrop as Jakob Ingebrigtsen bids to add another jewel to his crown as the latter day king of European middle and long distance running in defending the senior men’s title at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships on Sunday (11).

Just four months after taking his tally of senior continental gold medals to a magnificent eight with his second successive 1500/5000m double, the young Norwegian faces a phalanx of fellow medal winners from the Munich 2022 European Athletics Championships as he endeavours to claim a ninth in the picturesque surroundings of La Mandria Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the outskirts of Turin.

The field for the 10km, which will feature a unique 50 metre-long indoor section through the carriage pavilion of La Mandria Castle on each of the six long laps, includes the 1-2-3 from the 5000m – Ingebrigtsen, Mohamed Katir of Spain and Italy’s Yemaneberhan Crippa – the 1-3 from the 10,000m – Crippa again and Yann Schrub from France – and 3000m steeplechase bronze medallist Osama Zoghlami from Italy.

Also on the entry-list is the man Ingebrigtsen deposed as champion in Fingal-Dublin last year, Turkey’s Aras Kaya.

Kaya triumphed in 2016 and 2019 – the latter albeit retroactively after initial winner Robel Fsiha was disqualified – but no one has won the senior men’s race in consecutive years since the great Serhiy Lebid in 2007-08.

The Ukrainian also won five successive titles from 2001 to 2005, and also triumphed in 1998 and 2010. The only other successful defence has been achieved by Portugal’s Paulo Guerra, who won the opening two editions in Alnwick in 1994 and 1995, and who prevailed again in 1999 and 2000.

So Ingebrigtsen, at just 22, stands to become only the third senior men’s back-to-back winner as he chases what would be a stunning sixth successive individual title at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships, having claimed four U20 titles between 2016 and 2019.

Ingebrigtsen will also be on a patriotic – not to mention familial – mission in northern Italy. Norway finished third in the team race last year but the Nordic nation is yet to win the title. With only three runners to count, Ingebrigtsen will be joined by older brothers Filip and Henrik, both of whom have tasted individual success at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships. Filip won the senior title in 2018; Henrik was the U23 champion back in 2012.

Not that a second senior individual title for Jakob can be taken for granted.

Who are Jakob’s main rivals in La Mandria Park?

The distance, the course which includes a steep 300 metre uphill and downhill section on each long lap, and the location might be better suited to Crippa, who lives in Trento in northern Italy and has an early background in mountain running.

The 26-year-old, who was born in Ethiopia and adopted by an Italian couple after losing both of his parents, was runner-up to Kaya in the 2019 in Lisbon. He also won the U20 title in 2014 and 2015 and finished third in the U23 race in 2016 and 2017.

Crippa’s running tally of five individual medals – he has 10 in total if we include team medals – makes him the joint second highest individual medal winner on the men’s side in the history of the championships, together with Jakob Ingebrigtsen and Hassan Chahdi from France. Lebid stands clear out in front with 12.

Crippa looks likely to pose the biggest threat to Ingebrigtsen on Sunday. He has been preparing at high altitude in Iten in Kenya, with a tilt at a home victory and also a spring marathon debut in mind.

“It’s a nice thing to be racing at home in Turin,” Crippa told 2011 world 1500m silver medallist Hannah England on a European Athletics preview podcast. “We will have many people to cheer us.

“I want to give all the Italians the gold medal, like in Munich. I know there will be strong guys like Jakob Ingebrigtsen but I can try,” he added.

Crippa will also have his sights on the team prize, a title the Italians have only won once when the event was held on Italian soil for the first time in 1998. He is joined in a strong home squad by his older brother Nekagenet and Italian cross country champion Iliass Aouani, who finished third and first respectively in the recent test event.

The team also includes the aforementioned Osama Zoghlami – whom Crippa has been training with in Kenya ahead of the championships – and Yohanes Chiappinelli, who finished runner-up to a then 16-year-old Ingebrigtsen in the U20 race when the championships were last held in Italy, in Chia in 2016.

Second behind Ingebrigtsen last year was Kaya who has been struggling for form since finishing third in the European 10,000m Cup in May. Kaya was only 16th and half-a-lap behind Crippa et al in the 10,000m at the European Athletics Championships but the Kenyan-born Turkish runner often comes to life at this end-of-year fixture.

By contrast, Katir has a proven record on the track as his medals from the European Athletics Championships and World Athletics Championships can attest to. However, Katir doesn’t have too much in the way of demonstrable cross country form yet.

The Spaniard will be making his debut at the European Cross Country Championships after sealing his place on the team with a solid sixth place finish in Seville last month. And the Spaniards will be strong contenders for the team title with Nassim Hassous, Carlos Mayo and Abdessamad Oukhelfen – who finished seventh, 11th and 12th respectively last year – all part of the squad.

Serbia’s Elzan Bibic, the bronze medallist behind the victorious Ingebrigtsen in the U20 race in 2018, will be making his debut in the senior race. The 23-year-old was a recent winner of the Warandecross in Tilburg, the same city where Bibic won bronze behind Ingebrigtsen before graduating to silver in the U23 race behind Jimmy Gressier in 2019.

Having amassed 10 medals since 2015, Gressier is a notable absentee from this year’s championships. But the French team will be ably represented by not only European 10,000m bronze medallist and last year’s sixth-placer Yann Schrub but also Morhad Amdouni, the 2018 European 10,000m champion who has since made a successful transition to the marathon.

Other returning top-10 finishers from 2021 are Belgians Michael Somers and Isaac Kimeli who were fifth and ninth respectively in Dublin and tenth-placer Brian Fay from Ireland who comes fresh from setting a national indoor 5000m record of 13:16.77.

Andreas Vojta of Austria will be making his 13th appearance in the championships, putting him third on the all-time list behind Lebid (19) and Italy’s Gabriele de Nard (17).



Wanda Diamond League Breaks new Ground with 2023 Calendar

The 2023 Wanda Diamond League season will see Silesia return to the circuit and Eugene host the first ever series final held outside of Europe.

The Wanda Diamond League will break new ground in 2023, with a provisional calendar which includes 15 host cities across 12 countries and four continents.

The 14th edition of track and field’s premier one-day meeting series will be the biggest yet, and the first in which the final will be held in the USA.

Athletes will compete at 14 series meetings from May to September, with the most successful qualifying for the two-day Wanda Diamond League Final at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon on September 16th and 17th.

This year’s Road to the Final will once again feature Silesia’s Kamila Skolimowska Memorial meeting, which has now joined the series for the next five years after featuring on a provisional basis in 2022 to compensate for the cancellation of both Chinese legs due to the pandemic.

The Road to the Final will burst out of the blocks at its traditional starting point in Doha, with the Qatari capital set to host the season launch for the 12th time since 2010 on May 5th.

After touching down on African soil at the Meeting International Mohammed VI in Rabat on May 28th, the series will then head to Europe in June and July. The world’s best athletes will head to Rome on June 2nd, Paris on June 9th, Oslo on June 15th, Lausanne on June 30th and Stockholm on July 2nd.

Silesia, which will be a full member meeting from 2023 until 2027, will host a Wanda Diamond League meeting for the second time in its history on July 16th. Following Herculis EBS Monaco on July 21st, the series will return to London after a three-year hiatus, with the London Diamond League to be held at the London Stadium for the first time since 2019.

Two Chinese meetings in Shanghai and Shenzhen will follow on July 29th and August 3rd before the World Athletics Championships in Budapest. The season will resume with Weltklasse Zurich on August 31st and the Allianz Memorial Van Damme meeting in Brussels on September 8th.

For the first time ever, the Wanda Diamond League Final will take place not in Zurich or Brussels, but on US soil at the Prefontaine Classic. Eugene will host the 2023 season finale, with all 32 Diamond League champions to be crowned across two days of elite athletics action on September 16th and 17th.

Further information on the allocation of disciplines will be released later in December, and the calendar remains subject to changes depending on the global health situation in 2023.

Click here to see the 2023 calendar in full.

Allyson Felix Honored with USATF Legacy Award

Allyson Felix, one of the most accomplished track and field athletes of all time, was honored for her career achievements with the 2022 USATF Legacy Award at the Night of Legends.

The award celebrates an athlete whose outstanding career accomplishments, both on and off the track, leave a lasting, immeasurable impact on the sport.

Felix capped off a legendary international career with a pair of medals at the World Championships in Eugene, adding a gold in the women’s 4x400m relay to take her lifetime tally to 14, the highest by any athlete. She also earned bronze in the mixed 4x400m relay and ended up with 20 total medals in 10 trips to the global championship meet.

Last year at the Tokyo Olympic Games, Felix surpassed Carl Lewis as the most decorated American track and field Olympian as she earned her 11th career Olympic medal with a 4x400m relay gold.

A five-time Olympian, Felix currently holds two world records – 40.82 in the 4x100m relay, set at the 2012 Olympic Games, and 3:09.34 in the mixed 4x400m relay, set in 2019 at the World Championships in Doha. As an advocate and champion for working moms, including athletes, Felix’s mark on the sport is felt outside of the oval as well.

She partnered with Athleta and &Mother earlier this year to provide childcare at the Toyota USATF Outdoor Championships. Furthering that impact, Felix teamed with Athleta and the Women’s Sports Foundation to create The Power of She Fund to provide more than $200,000 in grants to athlete moms to help cover childcare during training and competition.

Track and field athlete moms impacted by this grant include Natasha Hastings and Tokyo teammates Aliphine Tuliamuk and Gwen Berry.

Getting a jump start on her post-competition career in 2020, Felix and her brother, Wes, established Saysh, a footwear and apparel brand designed to disrupt and undermine inequality by showcasing and supporting women.

Felix’s efforts, both on and off of the track, have established a lasting legacy that will continue to inspire generations of girls and women around the world in sport and beyond.


World Athletics Study: Female Athletes are the most abused online

Female athletes were the main target of online abuse during this year’s World Championships, a World Athletics study has found.

According to the research, which captured almost half a million posts on Twitter and Instagram, almost 60 per cent of abusive messages singled out women.

Over 40 per cent of those detected were found to be sexualised and sexist in nature, after the accounts of 461 athletes at the World Championships in Eugene were monitored between July 10 and August 1.

British pole vaulter Holly Bradshaw, who won Olympic bronze last year, suffered abuse having been forced to pull out when she was injured after her pole snapped in the warm-up.

The hamstring injury she suffered effectively ended her season as she withdrew from the final of the Commonwealth Games two weeks later, and Bradshaw was surprised at the volume of abuse she received.

England’s Holly Bradshaw after withdrawing from the Women’s Pole Vault final due to injury at the Alexander Stadium on day five of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Picture date: Tuesday August 2, 2022.

“I was shocked with the extent of the abuse, I wouldn’t have expected it,” she told the PA news agency.

“Someone said I was too big and snapped the pole. There was a barrage of comments, I was taken aback. If I fell over in the street, I don’t have 10 people crowded around me berating me. Just because it’s online doesn’t make it OK and it needs to stop.

“The report and the more people stand up and speak out, the more likely things are to get changed. When someone congratulates you it’s great, but when someone negatively comments it attacks your personality and values. It’s very easy for the brain to remember that.”

Between July and August, 427,764 posts and comments on Twitter and Instagram were captured for analysis.

Of all the online abuse, 60 per cent was sexual or racial in nature, with racist comments depicted in the form of offensive language and the use of monkey emojis against black athletes.

Abuse targeting male athletes tended to include general slurs, with 29 per cent of posts including racist abuse.

Of the abusive posts, 59 per cent needed intervention from the social platforms, with five per cent so serious that World Athletics is considering further sanctions against individuals, including sending evidence and reports to law enforcement agencies.

It is World Athletics’ second study – following last year’s first during the Olympics in Tokyo, with the body monitoring three times more athletes – and has enabled the governing body to improve its safeguarding policy.

“The results of this study are disturbing, but it’s important that we know where and how our athletes are being abused on social media so we can take steps to protect them and prevent future occurrences,” World Athletics president Seb Coe said.

“There is no place for abusive behaviour in our sport and we need to send a clear message to those who think athletes are fair game for this mistreatment. We won’t hesitate to sanction individuals who abuse our athletes where we can identify them.

“We have a duty to safeguard our athletes to the best of our ability and that is why we have developed robust safeguarding policies to set the standards we want to see in our sport.”



Jacob Ingebrigtsen and Bjerkeli Grøvdal to defend Euro Cross Country

Norway announces big names in strong team for European Cross Country Championships in Turin

Reigning European cross-country champions Jakob Ingebrigtsen and Karoline Bjerkeli Grøvdal will defend their titles in Turin, Italy, on December 11.

Ingebrigtsen won the senior men’s title last year in Dublin ahead of Aras Kaya of Turkey and Jimmy Gressier of France to add to the four titles he won as an under-20 from 2016-2019.

The 22-year-old is also the reigning Olympic 1500m and world 5000m champion and will be joined in Turin by brothers Filip and Henrik Ingebrigtsen.

Henrik won the under-23 title 10 years ago while Filip captured the senior title in 2018.

Grøvdal took the women’s senior title 12 months ago ahead of Meraf Bahta of Sweden and Alina Reh of Germany.

The 32-year-old is also a former European under-20 champion from 2009, she is a three-time Olympian and earlier this year broke Ingrid Kristiansen’s long-standing Norwegian 5000m record with 14:31.07 in Oslo.

Spain has also named a strong team for the event led by world 1500m bronze medallist Mohamed Katir.



Chinese man runs entire marathon while chain-smoking

A 50-year-old man has gone viral after managing to finish a marathon in China while smoking cigarettes throughout the entire race.

A runner known as “Uncle Chen” has become renowned for chain-smoking while competing and he has attracted attention after doing it again at the Xin’anjiang marathon in Jiande, China last week.

Chen finished the race in a very respectable time of three hours and 28 minutes, placing 574th out of more than 1500 competitors.

After photos of Chen went viral on social media site Weibo, race officials shared his race certificate and confirmed his finishing time.

It’s not the first time Chen has run a marathon while chain smoking.

He has also been spotted smoking heavily while running at the 2018 Guangzhou Marathon and 2019 Xiamen Marathon.

He finished the 2018 race in 3hrs 36mins and the 2019 race in 3hrs 32mins, according to Canadian Running Magazine.

Chen first shot to fame when racegoers labelled him “Smoking Brother” during marathons in 2017. He is also said to have competed in ultramarathons.

Anecdotal reports also suggest Chen only smokes when he runs.

Reactions to his chain-smoking antics were mixed on social media, with some people praising his ability while others believe he shouldn’t be allowed to smoke during a race.

“There goes my hero. Watch him as he smokes,” wrote one Instagram user.

“So this is what peak performance looks like,” another joked.

“Whoever runs next to him is unlucky,” a person commented on Weibo, while another added: “Is this a doping violation?”

There are currently no rules prohibiting marathon runners from smoking cigarettes while they compete.



Four-Time Olympic Medalist George Young passes on

Four-time Olympian and National Track & Field Hall of Fame member George Young, the bronze medalist in the men’s 3,000m steeplechase at the 1968 Games in Mexico City, died November 8 in Arizona.

He was 85. At the 1960 Games, Young ran in the heats of the steeplechase, and in 1964 he improved to fifth. At Mexico City in 1968 Young raced to bronze and also finished 16th in the marathon. He qualified for the Munich Olympics in 1972 in the 5,000m, running in the heats.

Young, born on July 24, 1937, in Roswell, New Mexico, made his first international appearance for the U.S. in 1959 with a fifth-place finish at the Pan American Games and was one of the top U.S. distance runners through the 1960s. Young won three U.S. Olympic Trials titles in the steeplechase from 1960-68 and added the marathon crown in 1968.

He ended his career with seven additional AAU national titles and set an American record of 8:30.6 in the steeplechase on June 21, 1968, in Sacramento. In 1969, he set an indoor world best of 13:09.8 for three miles and tied the indoor two mile WB with an 8:27.2. Young cracked the 4:00 barrier for the mile in 1972 with a 3:59.6.

Following his retirement from competition, Young became a school teacher and coach, serving as cross country and track and field coach at Central Arizona College for 25 years before moving up to the athletic director position.

He was honored by the school with the naming of its campus event center as the George Young Activity Center in 1977. He was inducted into the National Track & Field Hall of Fame in 1981.

Young on his day—and he had many—handed defeats to such legends as Frank Shorter, Ron Clarke, Billy Mills, and Gaston Roelants. He began racing internationally when America had no world-class distance runners, and he went on to be on the same team as Mills and Bob Schul in 1964, and Shorter and Prefontaine in 1972.



Keely Hodgkinson lines up over 800m for World Indoor Tour Final

Keely Hodgkinson is set to return to the scene of her brilliant British Indoor 800m record next year when she lines up in the Birmingham World Indoor Tour Final at the Utilita Arena on Saturday 25 February.

The 20-year-old World, Olympic and Commonwealth 800m silver medallist, European Champion and British record holder both indoors and outdoors, smashed the British Indoor 800m record at the 2022 event clocking 1:57.20, the fastest time indoors for 20 years.

With the 2022 indoor season setting Hodgkinson up for a summer of medal success at Worlds, Commonwealths and Europeans, the Leigh Harrier will line up against some of the best in the world at the fixture wanting a similar springboard to success for 2023.

Hodgkinson said: “The Indoor Grand Prix earlier this year was an incredible experience as it was one of the first big crowd atmospheres I had experienced coming out of the pandemic. I’ve no doubt the atmosphere at the Arena, with that amazing crowd played a big part in helping me run fast and I can’t wait to feel that support again.

“I’ve got high expectations for what I want to achieve in 2023 and I know that starting off strongly with a great indoor season will really get the ball rolling on a strong year.”

Tickets are on sale now. Thousands of tickets have already been snapped up by fans in the exclusive priority window which saw unprecedented demand for these events. You can join them, with tickets starting from £20 for adults, £20 for seniors & students and only £10 for juniors with an exclusive hospitality package also available. Don’t miss out!


Wanda Diamond League in Numbers

The Wanda Diamond League returned for its 13th season in 2022, taking place over 13 meetings from May to September.

Yet it proved to be anything but an inauspicious year as the series celebrated another thrilling summer of athletics action. Here’s a look back at the year in numbers.

Global series

Phileas Fogg may have made it around the world in 80 days, but the Wanda Diamond League had to settle for 118. Starting in Doha on May 13th, the series travelled to four different continents and 12 different countries as the biggest stars of world athletics battled it out for a place in the final. Among the stops were series stalwarts such as Monaco, Brussels and Oslo, but also a new addition in Silesia, which hosted the first ever Diamond League meeting on Polish soil.

It was also a truly global series in terms of participation. A total of 1084 athletes (555 male, 529 female) from 88 different countries took part in the Diamond League in 2022, almost 200 more than in the previous season. There were 146 winners of individual events, hailing from 48 different countries, while the 32 Diamond League Champions encompassed 21 different nationalities.


Poland was not the only country to make a Diamond League debut in 2022. There were also several nations who picked up their first ever win and their first ever title in athletics’ most prestigious one-day series. Soufiane El Bakkali finally broke his Diamond Trophy duck to become the first Moroccan Diamond League Champion in the men’s 3000m steeplechase, winning four out of five meetings in the men’s 3000m steeplechase to take his first ever title.

Neeraj Chopra also made national history in the men’s javelin, becoming the first Indian to win a Diamond League meeting with victory in Lausanne and the first to win the Diamond Trophy with a win in Zurich a few weeks later. Slovenia also celebrated their first title as Kristjan Ceh stormed to a perfect record of five wins in five in the men’s discus, while Marileidy Paulino became the first ever Diamond League champion from the Dominican Republic in the women’s 400m.

Record breakers and pace setters

More than ever in 2022, the Wanda Diamond League proved itself to be the series where the world’s best set the standard for elite track and field. No less than 51 world leads were set on the circuit this year in 16 men’s and 14 women’s events.

There was also the usual flood of historic performances, with 55 new national records set by athletes from 29 different countries. These included Faith Kipyegon’s Kenyan record of 3:50.37 in the women’s 1500m in Monaco and Jakob Ingebrigtsen’s 3:46.46 Norwegian record on home soil in the men’s mile in Oslo.

Area records also fell like flies in 2022, as seven new marks were set across three different areas and five different disciplines. Highlights included Marie-Josée Ta Lou’s African record of 10.72 in the women’s 100m in Monaco and Tobi Amusan’s African record of 12.41 in the women’s 100m hurdles in Paris, a mark she later bettered with her world record at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon.

Many athletes also made series history, with a total of 10 Diamond League records broken in the course of 2022. Seven of them came in points-scoring events, including Joe Kovacs title-winning throw of 23.23m in the men’s shot put and Michael Norman’s staggering 43.60 in the men’s 400m in Eugene.

Click here to browse all Diamond League records and all-time Diamond League statistics