Noah Lyles and Armand Duplantis are among the world champions aiming to end 2023 on a high note as the World Athletics Diamond League concludes in Eugene, Oregon, this weekend.
Lyles, who won 100m, 200m and 4x100m gold at the World Championships in Budapest last month, admitted he thought he had nothing left in the tank after he won the 200m in Zurich two weeks ago.
He was considering opting out of the season finale but said Friday he decided “I think I’ve got one more in me.”
Lyles will race the 100m for the first time since the World Championships. He’ll have little margin for error in a field that includes world silver medallist Letsile Tebogo and former world champ Christian Coleman — who notched a world-leading 9.83sec at the Diamond League in Xiamen two weeks ago.
African record-holder Ferdinand Omanyala and Jamaicans Kishane Thompson and Ackeem Blake will also line up, all with sub-9.90 times this year.
With a World Championships treble under his belt, Lyles said, he sees every meet as “almost as a victory lap.
“It doesn’t matter if you win or lose now,” he said, “because you already won World Championships.
“We’ve got to treat this like our victory parade. When other teams go back to the city and they’re celebrating. This is our celebration.”
Duplantis, who retained his world title with a vault of 6.10m in Budapest, said much the same, with the friendly Eugene venue and a reduced field in the season’s final event perhaps offering another good chance to beat his own world record of 6.22m.
“I know it’s a place where I can jump really high,” said Duplantis, who has attempted 6.23m four times this year and come up empty.
“I feel like I have one good one left in me — not much more than one (but) I think I do have one.”
The smaller field could work in his favor because in a typical pole vault competition “it’s a really long day out there.
“Especially if you’re trying to attempt to record hike … I think it might have been almost five hours and I’m taking my last jump,” he said.
“I think I’ll just be a little bit more fresh out there,” he said.
The raft of Budapest gold medallists in action also includes Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon, who will seek to extend her Prefontaine Classic dominance in the 1,500m, which she won at the Eugene meeting in 2016, 2017, 2021 and 2022.
Jackson eyes double
Kipyegon, who also won the 2022 world title on the same track, will be up against a field that also includes Budapest silver medalist Diribe Welteji and Olympic silver medallist Laura Muir.
Jamaica’s 200m world champion Shericka Jackson will tackle both the 100m and 200m. The 100m will pit her against world champion Sha’Carri Richardson, who has won all three of their 100m clashes this season.
Richardson, who owns the world’s best 10.65 this season, said that despite finally breaking through for her first world title she’s determined to finish out the season strong.
“The job’s not done,” she said.
Jakob Ingebrigtsen, who won 5,000m gold in Budapest but settled for silver in the 1,500m behind Britain’s Josh Kerr, will contest both the mile and the 3,000m.
But his focus is becoming the first man to win three straight editions of the Bowerman Mile.
“That’s the most important objective of this meeting,” said the Norwegian, who smashed the 24-year-old 2,000m world record in Brussels last week.
Ingebrigtsen, who first ran in Eugene as a teenager, was cagey about whether he was targeting another record, but acknowledged that he’d been in discussions about the pace of the race.
“I think it all depends on the conditions. I think we all know that Hayward field is a difficult track to manage and to run fast, especially in this event. With 300 meters to go there’s always headwind, so that can be a little bit tricky.
“It all depends on how we can get lucky for a couple of laps … I think we’re going to have a good race and I think we’re going to have to run fast to be able to win.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.