Diamond League Preview (pt.2): Field and Track – Stratton and McDermott take flight in Brussels (feat. Noah Lyles and the lane width/track width blue moon)

With the close of business on a Friday sailing by, I’ve waved dutifully, donned my vigilante cap and fired up Tilastopaja for a brief assessment of Brooke Stratton (Long Jump) & Nicola McDermott’s (High Jump) respective journey’s to the Brussels Diamond League Final.

Transport yourself to the King Badouin Stadium, briefly ignoring the namesake’s human right’s atrocities/speed bumps, the stadium itself seats 50,069 individuals. A particular quirk of the stadium pertains to the track dimensions – however, we’ll save that peculiarity for later.

As the veritable Mother Theresa of Australian athletics coverage (or distinct lack thereof), I implore you – onward, to the field!

Program & Results link: https://brussels.diamondleague.com/en/programme-results-brussels/

Brooke Stratton (6.74m/7.05m SB/PB) – Women’s Long Jump (3:02AM AEST start)

A veteran of global sandpits, Stratton is a reliable big meet performer, with a career punctuated by 5th, 6th and 7th place finishes at World Indoors, World Outdoors, and the Olympic Games (2016) respectively.
Stratton’s season started on January 19th at Doncaster, jumping 6.61m – setting the tone for a season of consistency. Barring an illness riddled trip to Sweden, Stratton’s jumps in finals in 2019 have ranged from 6.49m to 6.74m.

The field in Brussels is formidable, as one would expect at such a meeting, led by Malaika Mihambo (GER), the world leader at 7.16m. Stratton ranks 6th on season’s best, however is one of five competitors in the field with a personal best in excess of seven metres. Brittany Reese (USA) is the only competitor alongside Mihambo with a seasons best of seven metres or more (7.00m), with the field tightly grouped in the 6.80m department.

Brussels represents a World Championship final preview, with recent news of 2016 & 2017 Diamond League winner Ivana Spanovic’s (SRB) season ending injury, medal prospects Ibarguen (COL, 2018 DL champion), Bekh-Romanchuk (UKR), Sokolova (ANA) and talented heptathlete Johnson-Thompson (GBR) are all jumping this evening.

Stratton’s top 10-jump career average sits at 6.82m – a leap of that magnitude tonight could see the new homeowner grinning ear to ear.

Nicola McDermott (1.96m SB/PB) – Women’s High Jump (3:45AM AEST start)

For many in the track community, the discussion of five centimetres may draw indifference – in the world of high jump, five centimetres is a veritable chasm.

In 2018, Nicola McDermott cleared 1.91m, good for a world ranking of 25th. In 2019, 1.91m woud rank McDermott 32nd – whereas her most recent personal best of 1.96m places her 10th globally.

McDermott has cleared seven of her 10 best heights in 2019, with multiple clearances of 1.91m, 1.92m, 1.94m and a singular clearance of 1.96m in Ostrava. A season with multiple learning opportunities, the 22-year old has flourished, with four Diamond League appearances in Doha (1.85m, 8th), Stanford/Pre (1.88m, 7th), Lausanne (1.91m, 7th) and Monaco (1.94m, 3rd). With each competition environment providing unique difficulties to cope with, the 2019 season should prove invaluable for McDermott.

Equal 8th on seasons best, McDermott will be met by a raucous crowd, attending to support heptathlon sensation Nafissatou Thiam (BEL), as she takes aim at the enigmatic world leader Mariya Lasitskene (ANA).


If phrases such as radius, lane width, Yohan Blake, and standardised don’t get your heart rate shuffling upward, I’d probably recommend departing here. However, if you’re at all interested in Noah Lyles – please, read on.
For reasons entirely foreign to me, the track configuration in Brussels is conveniently odd, and this may result in a rearranging of the all-time list.

An Olympic/World Championship host track is built with 115.61m bends, and 84.39m straights, dimensions utilised since 1976. This results in a turn radius of 36.80m when measured 30cm out from the inside of lane one… stay conscious folks, it gets better.

Brussels possesses a 128.80m bend a 71.20m straight and a turn radius of 40 metres in lane one, which means running in lane one in Brussels, is the equivalent to running in lane three on a standardised track – a nirvana of sorts for 200m runners. When Yohan Blake tore around the bend to a 19.26sec clocking in 2011, the 2nd fastest time ever, he did so from lane seven with a lethargic reaction time of 0.269sec – a lane that offers an estimated turn radius of 50m (estimate, without exact lane width measurements).

In plain English – the bends are enormous, the lanes are wide, three of the top 10 200m times ever have been recorded in King Badouin Stadium.

Top 100 AT  (200m) 19.19 – 19.83sec (Zurich/Brussels/New York – big bend tracks)
Zurich = 3
Brussels = 6 (3 in top 10)
New York = 3
Lausanne = 9 – bizarrely, a track renowned for particularly tight bends.

In closing field news, Joel Baden continued on his merry way to Doha, clearing the required fitness standard of 2.28m at Lakeside Stadium this week, with attempts at 2.31m. Baden jumped in the midst of the Victorian All Schools Relays, sharing the track with a few hundred enthusiastic relay runners, arriving and departing with minimal fuss, ever-comedic coach Sandro Bisetto in tow.

Note: Ben Buckingham & Whitney Sharpe fly the SSH flag in Andujar, Spain this evening, there is a live stream available here: http://www.rfea.es/multimedia/multimedia_streaming_multipantalla.htm

Ben is on at 4:25am, however I’m not entirely sure when Whit is on, please message Tom Thorpe with all inquiries.

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