02 January, 2020

Best Diamond League Moment EVER!

  • © Mark Shearman

Over the last month, we have conducted a series of social media polls for your favourite moments in the ten-year history of the Diamond League. Now, with a new decade upon us, we can announce the best Diamond League moment ever - as voted for by you.

There are various ways to win the Diamond Trophy. You can do it with a shock comeback in the final round of the shot put, as Darrell Hill did in 2017. You can use it to crown a remarkable comeback from injury as Sally Pearson did in the 100m hurdles in the same year. You can record the second best mark in history in the high jump, as Mutaz Essa Barshim did in 2015. 

All of those athletes and their Diamond League final exploits made your shortlist for the greatest moment in the history of the series. Yet none of them quite matched up the one you chose as your ultimate highlight in ten years of the Diamond League. There are many ways to win the Diamond Trophy, but only Conseslus Kipruto has managed to do so wearing just one shoe.

Kenyan steeplechaser Kipruto was already a superstar by the time he reached the Diamond League final in 2018. Reigning Olympic and world champion, he had also held the Diamond Trophy for the previous two years and was odds-on favourite to take it home for a third successive season. Yet on September 30, 2018, Conseslus Kipruto showed that, even among champions, he is in a league of his own.

Having accidentally kicked off his left shoe with just a quarter of the race run, Kipruto battled on through increasing pain through six laps in a desperate bid to keep the pace with Moroccan rival Soufiane El Bakkali.

In a climax which had the Letzigrund Stadium on its feet and the world of athletics looking on in utter disbelief, Kipruto ultimately passed El Bakkali in the final few strides. Having edged over the line in first place, he raised his fingers to the sky, looking for all the world as if he what he had just done was an every day occurrence. 

It wasn't.

"“I have big pain," said Kipruto. "I am injured because I lost my left shoe. That was a mess."

A mess it may have been, but it was also an unforgettable triumph. It was Kipruto's third Diamond Trophy, and will perhaps remain the most impressive performance of his entire career, whatever he goes on to achieve in future. Thanks to you, it is also now officially the greatest moment in the first decade of the Diamond League. 

Happy New Year!