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Inaugural Diamond League proves true showcase for elite

David Rudisha
Rudisha lit up the Diamond League despite breaking his world record elsewhere

Mark Butler
By Mark Butler
BBC Sport's athletics statistician

The Commonwealth and Asian Games are still to come, but the main part of the athletics season ends this weekend with the IAAF/VTB Continental Cup in Split, which comes just a week after the finals of the inaugural Samsung Diamond League.

The powers-that-be at the Diamond League might be a little frustrated that their circuit did not showcase 2010's three track world records - but their 16-meeting series has ended having supplied most of the year's most significant performances in world terms.

Converting performances into points, the series provided 14 of the 16 most qualitative fixtures of the the year including the top 11.

Of those three world records, one came in an event (the hammer throw) which is not on the Diamond League programme, while the others were by David Rushida whose 800m world records in Berlin and Rieti, Italy, sandwiched his "Diamond Race" victory in Brussels.

British athletes have not made so much of an impact on the Diamond League. [But] let's not be too worried; their focus was the hugely successful European Championships

Rushida was one of 31 winners at the Diamond League finals which spanned Zurich and Brussels.

In each of 32 events, the athletes who had scored the most points at six earlier meetings performed again with double points at stake.

There were 31 and not 32 winners because one athlete claimed two titles: Allyson Felix at 200m and 400m.

All took home $40,000 and a pleasingly heavy (4.8kg) trophy.

As things stand now, we don't need to look further than the Diamond role of honour to see a shortlist of athletes of the year.

Rudisha and Croatian high jumper Blanka Vlasic are the front-runners with Vlasic claiming a perfect Diamond record of seven wins out of seven.

David Oliver (six Diamond wins out of six) and Felix (eight out of nine across her two events) also are strong candidates.

I hope that in 2011 the format might be tweaked so that extra rewards are available to those who have racked up the most wins and/or points across all disciplines.

It has to be said that British athletes have not made so much of an impact on the Diamond League.

Let us not be too worried about this, as their focus has so far been the hugely successful European Championships.

We had just one scoring win in the entire series, which was by Philips Idowu on home ground in Gateshead. As he did not compete in the triple jump final in Brussels, he was not eligible to appear in the final standings.

Our highest-placed athletes were therefore David Greene (third) and Steph Twell (fourth) thanks to their brilliant scoring performances respectively in Brussels and Zurich.

Wilson Kipketer

Wilson Kipketer happy to cede the 800m world record to new holder David Rudisha

The British preference for championships rather than the circuit is reflected by the sizable British representation in the European side for the Continental Cup, which was chosen in the wake of the European Championships.

Four years ago at the World Cup just one Briton, Rebecca Lyne, competed individually for the European team.

In Croatia, the British contingent is 13-strong and that figure would surely have been higher had Mo Farah been available.

They will be wearing the (light blue, orange and white) Europe strip in what will be a four-way tournament versus the best athletes from Africa, "Asia-Pacific" and the Americas.


SAMSUNG DIAMOND LEAGUE 2010

British placings in final standings:

Men's 400m: sixth, Michael Bingham - 1 point
Men's 400m hurdles: third, David Greene - 6 points
Men's long jump: fourth, Chris Tomlinson - 3 points
Women's 800m: joint fifth, Jenny Meadows - 3 points
Women's 800m: joint fifth, Jemma Simpson - 3 points
Women's 1500m: fourth, Stephanie Twell - 2 points
Women's 1500m: joint sixth, Lisa Dobriskey - 1 point
Women's 400m hurdles: joint fifth, Eilidh Child - 1 point

Further British point scorers not eligible for final ranking:

Men's 800m: Michael Rimmer - 2 points
Men's high jump: Samson Oni - 1 point
Men's triple jump: Phillips Idowu - 5 points

IAAF/VTB CONTINENTAL CUP 2010

British athletes selected for European team:

Men's 100m: Mark Lewis-Francis
Men's 200m: Christian Malcolm
Men's 400m: Michael Bingham
Men's 800m: Michael Rimmer
Men's 1500m: Andy Baddeley
Men's 110m hurdles: Andy Turner
Men's 400m hurdles: David Greene
Men's high jump: Martyn Bernard
Men's triple jump: Phillips Idowu
Men's 4x400m relay: Martyn Rooney
Women's 800m: Jenny Meadows
Women's 1500m: Lisa Dobriskey
Women's 3000m steeplechase: Hatti Dean



see also
Rudisha breaks own 800 world mark
29 Aug 10 |  Athletics
Gay wraps up Diamond League title
27 Aug 10 |  Athletics
Britain celebrate Euro medal haul
02 Aug 10 |  Athletics


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