United States sprinting phenomenon Michael Norman will be the centre of attention in Stockholm tomorrow as he runs his first 400 metres at an International Association of Athletics Federations Diamond League meeting.
The 21-year-old from San Diego made an extraordinary start to his season at Torrence in California last month as he clocked 43.45sec - joining fellow countryman Jeremy Wariner, the 2004 Olympic champion, at joint fourth place on the all-time lists behind fellow Americans Butch Reynolds, Michael Johnson and South Africa’s world record holder on 43.03, Wayde Van Niekerk.
Norman followed up with a 200m personal best of 19.84 in Osaka, and could threaten Van Nieker’s 400m stadium record of 43.62 in the arena that staged the 1912 Olympics.
The field contains his compatriot, 400m hurdles specialist Rai Benjamin, another American.
But if Norman is likely to provide a flash of lightning, there will be more sustained interest in the rumbling contest between two astoundingly talented families as the Ingebrigtsen clan from Norway take on the Manangoi clan from Kenya in the men’s 1500m.
Elijah Manangoi is the world 1500m champion, and his younger brother George is the world under-18 and under-20 champion.
In the Norwegian corner will be one previous European 1500m champion in Henrik, and the current holder of that distinction, 18-year-old Jakob, who is also European 5,000m and European indoor 3,000m gold medallist.
Jamaica's Elaine Thompson, the Rio 2016 champion at 100m and 200m, will face a loaded field in the latter distance that includes double world champion Dafne Schippers of The Netherlands and Britain’s European 100 and 200m champion Dina Asher-Smith, who has already run 22.26 this season in winning the opening Diamond League meeting of the season in Doha.
Home fans will have high hopes for discus thrower Daniel Stahl, who was in stupendous form in Doha as he produced six efforts beyond 69 metres, with a best of 70.56m that lead’s this season’s world list.
Meanwhile, in the men’s long jump, Cuba’s prodigiously talented 20-year-old long jumper Juan Miguel Echevarría will seek to match his effort of last season in this arena, when he almost jumped out of the pit in recording 8.83m – a distance that was ineligible for record purposes only by dint of a breath of wind over the allowable limit of two metres per second.
Stockholm is the third meeting of this year’s IAAF Diamond League, a 14-meeting series in which athletes earn points throughout the first 12 meetings to earn qualification for two final winner-takes-all meetings: Zurich on August 29 and Brussels on September 6.