Nigeria’s sprints duo of Blessing Okagbare and Tobi Amusan, have both qualified for the two finals of the glamorous IAAF Diamond League series, which will take place at the Weltklasse in Zurich on August 30 and the AG Memorial Van Damme in Brussels on August 31, venues to decide the Diamond League champions.
The duo sealed their places in the finals after accumulating enough points to finish in the top eight of their individual events, through the first twelve meetings leading up to the final legs in the Swiss and Belgian cities, where they’ll battle for the coveted Diamond Trophy and $50,000 winner’s cash prize.
Okagbare, will compete in the 100m and qualified by virtue of being in 4th position with a total of 19 points, which was gathered from competing in five of the six events through the 12 cities.
To win her first Diamond Trophy or possibly finish in the top three in Zurich, she’ll have to be at her best against the world’s current best sprinters such as, Marie-Josee Ta Lou and Dina Asher-Smith, who are the newly crowned double African and European Champions respectively.
Olympic Champion Elaine Thompson, current Diamond Leader Murielle Ahoure, reigning 200m World Champion Dafne Schippers, reigning Commonwealth Champion Michelle-Lee Ahye, and South African record holder Carina horn, will all complete the star-studded list.
Meanwhile in the 100mH final taking place in Brussels, Amusan will test her horns against seven of the fastest hurdlers in the world this year, having qualified in 8th place with 12 points.
Top on the Diamond League standings is Olympic Champion Brianna McNeal, World Record holder Kendra Harrison of USA, teammate Sharika Nelvis, not forgetting former World Champion Danielle Williams, will be favourites for the coveted trophy.
However, Amusan will aim for a good finish in her first ever Diamond League final, perhaps create a major upset on the night with another win to add to her outstanding season thus far, which has seen her win the Commonwealth and African titles.
Interestingly another Nigerian, Ese Brume will wait to see if she has made her first Diamond League final as well, as some of the field events such as the Long Jump is yet to be decided.
The total prize money at stake is $100,000 in each of the 16 Diamond Trophy disciplines in both Zurich and Brussels, for a total combined prize purse of $3.2 million. Here’s the breakdown of each payment:
1st – $50,000
2nd – $20,000
3rd – $10,000
4th – $6000
5th – $5000
6th – $4000
7th – $3000
8th – $2000
plus, rewards for 9th-12th place finishers in distance races and ninth-lane runners in sprints