Later this week, the IAAF Diamond League heads to Rabat for the ninth meeting in the 2018 series. Here we look back at three of the more memorable moments from the Moroccan capital and New York, the meeting Rabat replaced in the series a few years ago.
Almighty Almaz rehearses for Rio, Rabat 2016
Ethiopia’s world 5000m champion Almaz Ayana used Africa’s first IAAF Diamond League meeting to serve notice of her Olympic ambitions as she won in 14:16.31, the fifth fastest time in history.
The 24-year-old’s time was less than two seconds off her best of 14:14.32, set at the previous year’s meeting in Shanghai, which stood third on the world all-time list. “I feel disappointed because I wanted to break the world record,” said Ayana. “However, the wind was too disturbing today.”
For the first three kilometres Ayana was on course to challenge the world record of 14:11.15 set in 2008 by fellow Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba, but after the elements had taken their toll she had to settle for a meeting and African all-comers’ record.
It was an outstanding effort to mark this historic meeting in Morocco’s capital city as it took the place of New York in the IAAF Diamond League calendar. Three months later at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Ayana got her world record – but in the 10,000m.
‘Greatest men’s high jump in history’, New York 2014
The statistics about the men’s high jump competition spoke for themselves. Bogdan Bondarenko and Mutaz Essa Barshim both cleared 2.42m – a height only world record-holder Javier Sotomayor had bettered. But just in case anybody needed an extra prompt, Barshim described it as “the greatest men’s high jump competition in history”.
It was the first time two jumpers had reached that height in a competition, and the Ukrainian world champion won on countback after both men had made three unsuccessful attempts at 2.46m, one centimetre higher than the Cuban’s 1993 world record.
Bondarenko and Barshim's jumps were the best in the world outdoors since Sotomayor cleared 2.42m in Seville on 5 June 1994.
The two men thus joined Sweden’s Patrik Sjoberg in second place on the world all-time outdoor list.
Russia’s Olympic champion Ivan Uhkov had reached the same height indoors earlier in the year, equalling the 1988 feat of Carlo Thranhardt of West Germany, with Sotomayor’s world indoor record of 2.43m standing since 1989.
Qatar’s 22-year-old world indoor champion had been on the brink of an early exit before clearing 2.35m on his third attempt.
Bondarenko’s clearance equalled Sjoberg’s European record, set as a world record in 1987, and was an IAAF Diamond League and meeting record, as well as a world-leading mark. "High jump is in golden days right now,” Barshim added.
Tamgho’s ten-year triple jump best, New York 2010
Just as he had in the final minutes of the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Doha three months earlier, triple jumper Teddy Tamgho stole the show at the Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island in Manhattan.
France’s world indoor record-holder, who arrived at this competition as the leading outdoor performer of the year at 17.63m, established himself in the lead with a 17.61m leap in the third round, underlining that with a 17.60m in the fourth. Then things got serious.
On his fifth attempt, the mercurially talented Parisian athlete bettered his world lead, and the French record, with 17.84m.
And he saved the best until last, producing a final effort of 17.98m (1.2m/s), the best mark in a decade, to reach third on the world all-time list behind world record-holder Jonathan Edwards and 1996 Olympic champion Kenny Harrison.
It was a measure of Tamgho’s performance that he finished way clear of two global champions in the form of Sweden’s 2003 world and 2004 Olympic champion Christian Olsson, who had a best of 17.62m, and 2009 world champion Phillips Idowu of Britain, third with 17.31m.
Mike Rowbottom for the IAAF