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Who will be a gem in the Samsung Diamond League?

by Rob Dore | July 20, 2012

(pic: Inpho)

It only feels like five minutes ago that London was named the host city for the 2012 Olympic Games.

However, the countdown has quickly worked its way from years to months to weeks and now just days.

But before we get to the celebration that is London 2012, fans will have the chance to glimpse the ones to watch on the track and field when the 2012 Samsung Diamond League series stops off at Monaco today (July 20th).

The ninth stop of the year in the prestigious athletics tournament, the one-day competition features some of the biggest names in the sport.

Just take, for example, the power and prestige that the USA is bringing to the table for the 4×100 metre men’s relay event.

It is likely a blaze of fire will be left on the Louis II Stadium track when Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin let their feet do the talking.

Both are pumped for London 2012 next week, with Gay telling Inside The Games:

I think I can win in London, definitely. I want to win the gold medal.”

His countryman Gatlin is in an equally buoyant mood, declaring:

I have been through some dark past. What has kept me going is the faith of my fans knowing I am a legitimate athlete. I’ve been tested multiple times since I have been back. I’m a clean athlete. I’m focused on that.

It is not just all about those power athletes from across the Atlantic at the Samsung Diamond League competition though.

The women’s pole vault will see world record holder Yelena Isinbayeva trying to outdo Brazilian world champion Fabiana Murer and European champion Jirina Ptacnikova in a contest which is far too close to call.

For those having a punt, Isinbayeva is 4/11 to vault to victory, with Murer available at 17/10.

And then there is the men’s 400 metre contest, which has a packed field that will make some people think they are watching London 2012 and not the Diamond League.

World champion Kirani James and Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt will be on the start line alongside recently crowned world junior champ Luguelin Santos and Daegu bronze medallist Kevin Borlee.

After serving a 21-month ban for the use of a drug found in an over-the-counter penis enlargement supplement, Merritt will no doubt be hoping to rise to the challenge in Monaco, and is (4/11) to win the 400m, against James’ 9/5.

A true blink-and-you’ll-miss-it race, I’m sure you’ll agree.

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