WRITTEN FOR THE BRITISH ATHLETICS WEBSITE
Seven Britons are set to hone their pre-IAAF London World Championship form by finalising their preparations at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rabat tonight (July 16), as the Moroccan capital welcomes the tenth leg of the global athletics series.
Rounding into shape in time for the business part of the season, 2014 European champion Eilidh Doyle (Brian Doyle) goes in a loaded 400m hurdles field, where she will face Jamaica’s Janieve Russell – the winner in Rome and London – Denmark’s Olympic silver medallist, Sara Petersen and two-time world champion, Zuzana Hejnova of the Czech Republic.
Doyle recently recorded a fine 54.36 season’s best in Lausanne, and the 30-year-old finished fourth in London at the Anniversary Games last weekend to hint her peak has been timed to perfection.
In the 200m, world fifth placer Zharnel Hughes (Patrick Dawson) will be looking to consolidate his fifth-place finish in London, and the 22-year-old – with a 20.22 2017 best – goes up against Canada’s Olympic silver medallist, Rome winner and Oslo and Stockholm 100m victor, Andre De Grasse.
Laura Weightman is one of the quickest on the 1500m start list with a 4:01.95 season’s best, and the 26-year-old 2014 European bronze medallist will be aiming to improve on sixth position in the mile in London, as she faces local hope, Rababe Arafi and Poland’s European champion, Angelika Cichocka.
In the high jump, Robbie Grabarz (Fuzz Caan) stands a good chance of a top three finish if he can recapture his 2.31m season’s best form which saw him take the runner-up spot in Doha at the beginning of the summer.
The Olympic bronze medallist struggled in Shanghai, Oslo and Paris recently but the 29-year-old is known for saving his best for the championship arena.
Fresh from a 11.14 lifetime best in the 100m heats in London, Daryll Neita (Jonas Dodoo) will aim to use Jamaica’s Olympic 100m and 200m champion, Elaine Thompson to pull her to another swift clocking.
The 20-year-old 4x100m Olympic bronze medallist placed seventh in London and should figure highly here.
In the non-Diamond League men’s 100m event, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (Dennis Shaver) and Chijindu Ujah (Stuart McMillan) target some sharpening work against Jamaica’s 2011 world champion, Yohan Blake.
23-year-old Mitchell-Blake – the 2013 European junior 200m champion – has scorched to a 9.99 personal best this summer and following his fourth-place finish in London, this race should provide a top speedwork session ahead of his half-lap appearance at the global championships next month.
Ujah, meanwhile, has notched up superb victories in both Rome and London each in 10.02, and the 23-year-old 2013 European junior 100m champion will be hoping to revise his 9.96 lifetime best in this top calibre race.