Five Rising Stars from 2017
The IAAF Diamond League was full of surprises last season, and many of them came in the form of young, rising stars, athletes who not only exceeded expectations, but completely blew them out of the water.
So can the new superstars of 2017 emulate their feats a year later and continue on an upward trajectory this summer? We take a look at five of the best rising stars that you should keep your eye on.
1. Noah Lyles
Noah Lyles was one of the first young stars to stun the world in 2017 as he stormed to victory in Shanghai, running 19.90 in the 200m to comprehensively beat a field including Ameer Webb and Adam Gemili.
Lyles season only got better, as he returned to Diamond League action later in the season. Having qualified for the 200m Final in Brussels, the young American ran beautifully once again, clocking 20.00 to win the IAAF Diamond League Final and secure the Diamond Trophy.
2. Karsten Warholm
Few athletes enjoyed quite as tumultuous a 2017 as Karsten Warholm. Thrust into the limelight at the age of 21, Warholm lived up to the hype surrounding him ahead of the Bislett Games as he delivered a stunning performance to beat Olympic Champion Kerron Clement.
He took a second consecutive Diamond League victory in Stockholm a few days later, before topping his year by winning a shock gold medal at the IAAF World Championships in London. Though he missed out on the Diamond Trophy in 2017, the Norwegian is surely among the favourites to be crowned IAAF Diamond League Champion this season.
3. Salwa Eid Naser
At just 19 years old, Salwa Eid Naser was one of the youngest stars to burst onto the scene in 2017. Relatively unknown before last summer, the Bahraini sprinter shocked the world when she picked up the silver medal in the 400m at the World Championships.
In the following weeks, she would prove herself on the Diamond League stage too, pulling off an astonishing victory over 400m legend Allyson Felix in Birmingham, before just missing out on the Diamond Trophy in Brussels.
4. Darrell Hill
Darrell Hill probably surprised even himself when he claimed an extraordinary victory in the Shot Put Final in Brussels last September.
In a field which included World Champions, Olympic Champions and Diamond Trophy winners such as Tom Walsh, Joe Kovacs and Ryan Crouser, Hill wasn't even expected to reach the podium, let alone take home the Diamond Trophy.
Yet the American pulled off a miracle in the final round, throwing a personal best of 22.44m to claim an unlikely but thoroughly deserved title.
5. Soufiane El-Bakkali
Though hardly an unknown in the men's 3000m steeplechase before 2017, last season will go down as a breakthrough year for Soufiane El-Bakkali.
Having turned 21 the previous winter, El-Bakkali enjoyed a dream summer in 2017, winning the silver medal at the World Championships and taking two victories in the Diamond League.
Victory in Rabat was particularly sweet, as the Moroccan set a personal best of 8:05.12 in front of a home crowd.
For more discussion of who we may expect to star this season, check out our podcast below