Thursday, August 26, 2010

Van Damme meeting ends Samsung Diamond League series of meets...

BRUSSELS, Belgium--The Samsung Diamond League series of meets winds down Friday at the Belgacom Memorial Van Damme meeting with sixteen Diamond Race winners awaiting to receive their trophies and $40000 paychecks for maintaining consistency over the course of the season.

Sprinter Tyson Gay and new world 800 meter record holder David Rudisha from Kenya are the star attractions in this meet of stars, as Gay looks to lower his American record time of 9.69 in the 100 meters, and Rudisha aims to race past a strong field that includes two-time world indoor champ Abubaker Kaki of Sudan.

The lone Washingtonian who will compete in the Van Damme Meeting is three-time US Olympian Aretha Thurmond in the discus. Thurmond is currently in a three-way tie for third entering the meet with 3 points; however, Cuba's Yarelis Barrios has all but clinched the Diamond Trophy, as she holds an 8-point lead over Sandra Perkovic of Croatia.

Even if Perkovic wins and Barrios fails to place in the top 3 (double points are awarded for the top three finishers in each event; 8-4-2), Barrios wins the Diamond Trophy on the basis of four wins this season.

Despite competing in five of six Samsung Diamond League meets offering the 100 hurdles this season, and scoring in Doha and New York, Rainier Beach HS graduate and two time world championships finalist Ginnie Powell Crawford said on her Twitter page on August 23rd that she did not receive an invitation to compete.

"…Brussels won't give me a lane even though I have points and in the top 8!"

The start lists for the Belgecom Memorial Van Damme meeting are available here.

After Friday's Van Damme meet, the European season winds down with Sunday's meeting in Rieti, Italy, plus the IAAF Continental Cup (formerly known as the IAAF World Cup) next week in Split, Croatia.

In Rieti, reigning world indoor 3000m champ and Washington State grad Bernard Lagat, who finished a disappointing seventh in the 3000, will run against a field that includes current world leader Tariku Bekele of Ethiopia, along with Portland residents Chris Solinsky and Galen Rupp.

Former Washington Husky Ingvill Måkestad from Norway is entered in the women's 1500 in Rieti.

The start list for Sunday's Rieti meeting can be accessed here.

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