Derek Drouin in the high jump at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Birmingham (© Getty Images)
Olympic champions Derek Drouin and Jeff Henderson will face the men they beat to claim gold in Rio last August when they open their 2017 IAAF Diamond League campaigns in Shanghai on 13 May.
Both produced their best form of the year in Rio to claim gold by narrow margins. Drouin high jumped 2.38m to beat Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim by two centimetres, while Henderson leapt out to 8.38m in the final round of the long jump to snatch victory from South Africa’s Luvo Manyonga by just one centimetre.
The two pairs will resume their rivalries in the Shanghai Stadium as the jumpers set out in pursuit of early season victory and all-important IAAF Diamond League points.
Drouin’s Olympic gold came just 12 months after he’d broken the hearts of home fans to win the World Championships crown in Beijing by out-leaping Zhang Guowei in a tense and thrilling jump-off. Zhang will be looking for revenge over his Beijing conqueror.
Drouin will be competing in Shanghai for the first time in his career, while Barshim returns to Shanghai seeking a third victory at China’s premier one-day international athletics meeting. He set a stadium record of 2.38m to win here two years ago after winning with 2.33m in 2013.
The high jump is unlikely to be a straightforward three-way tussle, however, as 2016 Diamond Race champion Erik Kynard will also be in the field.
Henderson returns to Shanghai for the third time in three years after finishing second in 2015 and fourth last May when China’s Gao Xinglong took top honours.
This year he will face not only Manyonga making his Shanghai debut, but also Australia’s world silver medallist Fabrice Lapierre, who was third last year and went to win the Diamond Race.
Organisers for the IAAF
2017 IAAF Diamond League calendar
5 May – Doha, QAT
13 May – Shanghai, CHN
27 May – Eugene, USA
8 Jun – Rome, ITA
15 Jun – Oslo, NOR
18 Jun – Stockholm, SWE
1 Jul – Paris, FRA
6 Jul – Lausanne, SUI
9 Jul – London, GBR
16 Jul – Rabat, MAR
21 Jul – Monaco, MON
20 Aug – Birmingham, GBR
24 Aug – Zurich, SUI
1 Sep – Brussels, BEL