Four Canadians are running at Birmingham Diamond League on Saturday August 18th: Gabriela Stafford in the 1,500m, Matt Hughes in the 3,000m steeplechase, Sage Watson in the 400m hurdles, Johnathan Cabral in the 110m hurdles, and Brandon McBride in the 800m.
Birmingham is one of the largest programmes in the circuit and the last chance runners have at making the Diamond League finals at the end of the month.
Stafford is racing in a jam-packed 1,500m field. The start list of 18 women includes some of the fastest in the world. Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands, Caster Semenya of South Africa, and Winny Chebet of Kenya all have personal bests below four mintues and are all lining up in Birmingham.
Stafford is coming off of a bronze medal at the NACAC Championships that took place last weekend in Toronto. This is Stafford’s first Diamond League 1,500m of the 2018 season.
Hughes will run the 3,000m steeplechase in hopes of making the final in Zurich on August 30th. He’s currently sitting at four points, and said in an interview earlier this summer that seven or eight points would likely get him to the final. Hughes is in an extremely competitive race, that at the very least, could bring him to a new personal best.
Wow! What a night! So happy to be able to win gold at the NACAC champs, in front of the home crowd. A Canada 1-2 w my bulldog brother @marco_arop ! Thanks to my inner circle, this season has been a blessing thus far. Thank you to all the folks that came out to support Canada. The energy in the stadium was amazing!
Canadian record-holder McBride will run the 800m. Coming off of a NACAC win last weekend, and an exceptional performance in Monaco where he set the new Canadian record, McBride is looking strong.
McBride is currently sitting in ninth in the Diamond League standings. A strong showing in Birmingham should secure him a position in the 800m final in Brussels on August 31st.
Watson will run the 400m hurdles and is currently sitting at fifth in the Diamond League rankings. Watson should be good to get into the final regardless of what happens in Birmingham, as she’s significantly ahead of sixth, seventh and eighth place.
Watson will race the USA’s Shamier Little who stunned crowds at the NACAC Championships, running the second-fastest time in the world this year.
The Diamond Legaue offers some of the biggest money in track and field, and making the finals nearly guarantees a payday. First place gets $50,000, second place gets $20,000 and third place gets $10,000. Prizes are awarded to first through eight place and paid in USD.