Dawn Harper Nelson wins the 100m hurdles in Eugene (© Getty Images)
For the first time since the IAAF Diamond League was inaugurated in 2010, the Prefontaine Classic on 28 May will stage the women’s 100m hurdles. And, for the first time in history, five women with PBs faster than 12.4 will line up against one another.
Indeed, five of the 12 fastest women of all time will line up for the 100m hurdles in Eugene. Due to the three-per-nation restriction at major championships, it is fair to say that this will be a higher quality field than the Olympic final later this year.
Dawn Harper Nelson has won the past four Diamond Race titles in this event. The 2008 Olympic champion has won three of her four national titles at Hayward Field, and is the only athlete in this year’s field to have previously contested this event at the Prefontaine Classic.
North American record holder at 12.26, Brianna Rollins became the youngest ever world 100m hurdles champion when she won in Moscow in 2013. Last month she clocked a world-leading PB of 7.76 to win the US indoor 60m hurdles title and then took silver in the event at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Portland 2016.
Nia Ali was the victor in Portland, successfully – and somewhat surprisingly – defending the title she won two years prior, having had a baby in between those two triumphs. The 27-year-old, who won the NCAA title in 2011, looks set to revise her lifetime best of 12.48 this year.
Jasmin Stowers set an IAAF Diamond League record of 12.35 in Doha last year. Although she missed out on making the US team for the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015, Stowers was consistent internationally, winning in Kingston, Doha, Oslo and London.
Last year’s world leader Sharika Nelvis owns the two fastest wind-legal times at Hayward Field with 12.34 and 12.37, both of which were recorded at the 2015 US Championships. The 2014 NCAA champion is the third-fastest US woman in history.
At just 23 years of age, Kendra Harrison is the youngest in the field but also the fastest based on 2016 performances. She recently opened her outdoor campaign with a world-leading 12.36 to move to equal ninth on the world all-time list. Harrison is also the fastest all-round women’s hurdler in history, with PBs of 7.77 for 60m hurdles and 54.09 for 400m hurdles.
Along with a bronze medal from the 2013 World Championships, European champion Tiffany Porter has also earned three successive medals from the past three World Indoor Championships.
Rounding out the field, Alina Talay took the bronze medal with a Belarusian record of 12.66 at last summer’s World Championships in Beijing.
Organisers for the IAAF
2016 IAAF Diamond League calendar
6 May – Doha, QAT
14 May – Shanghai, CHN
22 May – Rabat, MAR
28 May – Eugene, USA
2 Jun – Rome, ITA
5 Jun – Birmingham, GBR
9 Jun – Oslo, NOR
16 Jun – Stockholm, SWE
15 Jul – Monaco, MON
22-23 Jul – London, GBR
25 Aug – Lausanne, SUI
27 Aug – Paris, FRA
1 Sep – Zurich, SUI
9 Sep – Brussels, BEL