The IAAF Diamond League returns in Paris this weekend with the women’s 100m list providing the most unpredictable lineup of athletes; five of them who have run sub-11 seconds times this season.
Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor will be looking to upstage the favourites at Meeting Areva after dropping down the leaderboard in the wake of her below-par performance in Eugene about two months ago.
Much has been said about the 26-year-old’s chances of winning a maiden Diamond Race trophy this year but as tough as that challenge gets, she will be competing against the two fastest women over 100m in 2015, as well as the leader of the Diamond Race.
Okagbare-Igho’s season’s best is 0.09secs shy of the world leading mark by Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and the USA’s English Gardner recorded at their respective National Championships over the weekend at 0.4m/s and 1.5m/s wind speed respectively. Indeed, the former double world (2009 and 2013) and Olympic champion (2008 and 2012) has twice raised the bar in the past couple of months, including her 10.81secs time at the Pre Classic at the end of May.
Without forgetting in a haste how Okagbare-Igho toppled a stellar Shanghai field earlier in May, it is beginning to done on many that Fraser-Pryce, whose race at the Chinese city was her first short sprint of the year, has found her feet and on the rise again; yet, there could possibly be more contenders capable of gate-crashing the 100m leaderboard.
Enter Murielle Ahoure! It is not a surprise that the 27-year-old Ivoirian currently sits at the top of the Diamond League ranking after taking four points in Oslo and her runners-up berth in Eugene (2 points). The World Championships silver medalist and reigning European champion, Dafne Schippers, are expected to impact on the outcome of the race. Schippers set a Dutch national record (10.94PB) at the IAAF World Challenge in Hengelo on 24 May, the first time the 23-year-old will be clocking a sub-11 time in her career.
Other athletes to watch out for are USA’s Dezerea Bryant, Veronique Mang of France, Jamaica’s Natasha Morison and Ivoirian Marie Jose Ta Lou.
Ahoure (6 points), Fraser-Pryce (4 points) and Okagbare-Igho (4 points) currently occupy the top 3 spots in the 100m table and all have the chance to consolidate for more points in Paris.