Key Takeaways From the Shanghai Diamond League Meet

By Citius Mag Staff

April 27, 2024

by Paul Hof-Mahoney and Owen Corbett

The Diamond League season continued this morning in Shanghai, its second leg of the two week swing in China. The meet was held for the first time since 2019 (back when Fred Kerley was still a 400m runner), and there were plenty of big stars in attendance to celebrate its return. Below are some of the biggest takeaways from the Shanghai Diamond League.

Full results can be found here.

Big Stars Keep Rolling

Reigning World Champion Marileidy Paulino (50.89) once again separated herself from the field in the finishing stretch of the women’s 400m. It was Paulino’s seventh straight win in the event, including all three rounds last year in Budapest. Although Paulino ran slower than last week, her margin of victory more than quadrupled as she cruised home nearly a second ahead of the field.

Marileidy Paulino winning the 400m at the 2024 Shanghai Diamond League Meet. Marileidy Paulino winning the 400m at the 2024 Shanghai Diamond League Meet.

Luke Howard for Diamond League AG

Another former World champ, Beatrice Chepkoech, took home her second straight convincing win in the women’s steeplechase, and although it wasn’t a repeat of her sub-9:00 run last week, she ran this one ahead of the pacer, which bodes well for a potential return to the top of the podium this summer in Paris. Chepkoech wrapped up a successful trip to China, a country that has treated her well in the past – the world record holder won this meet the last two times it was held in 2018 and 2019. American Gabbi Jennings comported herself well in this one with a fourth-place finish and a big PB, improving from 9:25 to 9:19.59 to just miss a spot on the U.S. all-time top 10 by a tenth of as second.

Unfortunately, her training partner Emma Coburn suffered a minor ankle tweak with 1k to go and had to DNF her first steeplechase of the season.

Simbine beats out American duo in quicker race than Xiamen

After a slower-than-expected finish last week, the men’s 100m race in Suzhou added some new faces to the field and ended up significantly faster. After expressing displeasure with his start after his 10.13 win in Xiamen, Christian Coleman seemed to get out better in this one. He was leading the field through about the 60-meter mark, but it was six-time South African champion Akani Simbine closing like a freight train to take the win in 10.01.

Simbine’s clocking equals his season’s best from Pietermaritzburg that has him tied as the 3rd-fastest man in the world this year. Coleman finished 2nd in his own SB of 10.04, almost a full tenth-of-a-second better than last week. Fred Kerley rounded out the top 3 in 10.11, quicker than Xiamen but still behind his 10.03 SB from March.

Akani Simbine celebrating his 100m win at the Shanghai Diamond League. Akani Simbine celebrating his 100m win at the Shanghai Diamond League.

Luke Howard for Diamond League AG

Through two Diamond League meets, high-schooler Christian Miller still holds the wind-legal world lead at 9.93, but we’ll see if that survives after Noah Lyles and company take to the track in Bermuda tomorrow afternoon.

Drama In The Women’s 100m Hurdles

The best event of the day, and perhaps the best in the world this year, was the 100m hurdles. World record holder Tobi Amusan started the drama off by getting called for a false start – with a reaction time just 7/1000th of a second under the legal limit. After pleading her case, the 2022 World champ was able to run under protest. After another call back on the second attempt, the hurdlers finally got going on their third try and it looked to be a rematch of last week’s battle between Devynne Charlton and Jasmine Camacho-Quinn. Just like last week, Charlton’s start was the class of the field but Camacho-Quinn overtook her with a few strong closing hurdles.

While Camacho-Quinn ended up with the win on paper, clocking 12.63 to Charlton’s 12.64, it was clear that Amusan crossed the line first with a late surge and a strong lean. Even though Amusan wasn’t even given an official time due to her disqualification, she should leave China with the confidence of knowing that she improved on her 5th-place performance from Xiamen one week earlier.

Sha’Carri Still Finding Her Groove

In the women’s 200m, Sha’Carri Richardson was looking to bounce back from a loss in her season opener last week, but ended up running a hair slower (23.11) and finished third as Britain’s Daryll Neita (22.62) went unchallenged over the last 100m. American Anavia Battle finished right between them in 22.99.

It’s worth noting that neither Chinese Diamond League event has seen many blazing sprint times – the winning times in the men’s 100m and women’s 200m would rank 6th and 4th, respectively, in the NCAA currently. As we wait for Richardson to open her season over her signature 100m event, let’s not rush to judge the reigning World Champion as she rounds into form.

A Tale Of Two 5000m Races

The only event with international fields on both the men’s and women’s side this morning was the 5000m – although the women’s race was a non Diamond League event – and each race had a big-name headliner. The women’s race was tight as six women ran within three seconds of the winner Mekedes Alemeshete (14:36.70), and Letesenbet Gidey only ended up finishing third (14:37.13). 11 women (one short of the record) ran under 14:50 and nine of them ran personal bests. 22-year-old Brit Megan Keith (8th, 14:43.24) and Australia's Rose Davies (11th, 14:47.86) notably dipped under the Olympic standard of 14:52.

Selemon Barega winning the 5000m at the Shanghai Diamond League. Selemon Barega winning the 5000m at the Shanghai Diamond League.

Luke Howard for Diamond League AG

On the men’s side Selemon Barega won the race in 12:55.68, his first win on the oval since 2022. Surprisingly, the reigning Olympic 10,000m champ, who is still only 24 years old, finished no higher than second in any of his track races last year (he did have one cross country win). Barega outkicked countryman Biniam Mehary, who’s only 17 years old, to clock the fastest outdoor 5000m in the world this year (second-fastest overall behind Grant Fisher’s indoor 12:51). The season opening win is a good sign for Barega, who ran sub-13:00 in a Diamond League race for the ninth time in his career, and took home just his second win on the circuit since the start of 2019. The race was not particularly deep with only five men finishing under 13:15.

While there were no Americans in either race, the OAC’s Morgan McDonald finished seventh (13:18.65) and Bowerman Track Club’s Kieran Tuntivate was a DNF as they will both need another shot at hitting the 13:05 Olympic standard.

More Rapid Fire Highlights

  • In the absence of Marco Arop, Algeria’s Slimane Moula took home the win (1:44.55) in his first 800m race of 2024. Moula is a consistent presence on the Diamond League circuit with three podium finishes and a win last year. American Clayton Murphy (1:45.18) clocked his first Diamond League top three finish since 2021.
  • Mondo Duplantis took home yet another Diamond League win – his 27th of 33 competitions that have been held since the start of 2020. After clinching the event win on his second jump, he easily cleared a meet-record 6.00m then moved the bar to 6.25m, where he took three strong attempts but was ultimately unable to improve his one-week-old world record.
  • Marquis Dendy (8.05m) – minus the bucket hat this time – became the first American man to win the long jump at a Diamond League meet since Steffin McCarter in 2021. He beat out the home crowd favorite Jianan Wang who won a world title on U.S. soil in 2022 by just one centimeter. On the women’s side, American Quanesha Burks (6.59m) finished second to Burkina Faso’s Marthe Koala (6.68m).
  • Valarie Allman picked up another win to open the Diamond League discus season, this time in a small SB of 69.86m. The reigning Olympic champ continues to be one of the most consistent athletes in the world, as this marks her 10th-straight meet over 67 meters, going back to last year. Feng Bin finished 2nd with a new SB of 67.11m, while Yaime Pérez’s only legal throw of the day was good enough for 3rd at 65.59m.
  • Reigning two-time World Outdoor champion Chase Jackson took the win in the women’s shot put, becoming the first woman in the world to break 20 meters outdoors with her 2nd round effort of 20.03m. Indoor champ Sarah Mitton placed 2nd after a strong series with a best mark of 19.86, and Song Jiayuan finished 3rd on her home turf with her 4th round throw of 19.83m, the 3rd-best mark of her career.

Up next

The Diamond League heads to the desert for the Doha Diamond League on May 10th. But, don’t miss some of the world’s top sprinters in action tomorrow afternoon at the USATF Bermuda Grand Prix. Coverage starts on NBC and Peacock at 4pm E.T. on Sunday, April 28.

Citius Mag Staff