With the 2018 IAAF Diamond League set to start in Doha on Friday 4 May, double Diamond Trophy winner Shaunae Miller-Uibo and world javelin champion Johannes Vetter spoke to the media via a teleconference on Thursday (26).
Bahamian sprinter Miller-Uibo clocked a national record of 21.88 to win the 200m Diamond Trophy in Zurich last year and then followed it one week later with another Diamond Trophy, winning the 400m in Brussels in a world-leading 49.46.
Just two weeks ago, the world bronze medallist added to her growing medal collection by winning the 200m at the Commonwealth Games.
German javelin thrower Vetter enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2017. Not only did he surpass the 90-metre mark for the first time in his career, he climbed to second on the world all-time list with his national record throw of 94.44m in Luzern.
He went on to win the world title in London and has already started the 2018 season in stunning form, throwing beyond 90 metres in two of his three competitions so far this year.
Vetter is set to open his IAAF Diamond League campaign in Doha, while Miller-Uibo will be in action in Shanghai, the second meeting in the series. Ahead of those appearances, Miller-Uibo and Vetter shared some of their thoughts and expectations for the 2018 season. Here are some of the highlights.
On winning the Diamond Trophies for 200m and 400m after finishing third and fourth respectively in those events at the World Championships:
They were my first Diamond League finals for both events, so to win them both was an amazing feeling for me. I’m excited for the finals to come around again this year.
On there being more pressure now to win at the IAAF Diamond League finals:
It’s got a lot more interesting. At first it was all about the points system, but now it’s almost like a championship to end the season and give the viewers something else to watch and look out for. I think it’s a good idea and it makes it more exciting.
On winning a high-quality 200m final at the Commonwealth Games:
It was great competition. There were a lot of fast girls in the race so it was really exciting for me to go there and compete and start the season with the 200m. This year I think we’re going to focus a bit more on the 200m. Opening up with a 22.09 and a championship title is a great start for me. On top of that, it was a great experience and I’m excited for the rest of the season.
On dabbling in other events and one day trying a heptathlon:
I’d like to try the heptathlon at some point in my career. When I was a young girl, I used to do the pentathlon. I was pretty decent in a lot of them, so I’d like to try them again. My coach is open to the idea and we were doing a little work with it. We might try something before the season ends. I know it’s a really tough event because my husband does the decathlon. I’d like to try something in this off year and have a little bit of fun with it. I don’t want to just sit around and do 200s and 400s my entire life.
On whether she’ll do any more 100m races in 2018:
We’ll see. It all depends on whether my coach wants me to do a little bit more speed work. Maybe, but there’s no 100% guarantee.
On missing out on the Diamond Trophy in 2017 after throwing a world-leading mark and winning the world title earlier in the season:
With the surface of the runway in Zurich, it’s quite hard to throw far there. I think last season was really good for me with some really, really good throws, so I wasn’t too disappointed about not winning the Diamond Trophy. But of course, this year hopefully we’ll find a way to make it better in Zurich again.
On the current high standard of javelin throwing:
It’s good that we have a lot of guys who are throwing at the same level. It’s good for the meetings, it’s good for the athletes, but it’s also good for the fans in the stadium or watching at home on TV. Hopefully this year again there’ll be lots of us over the 90-metre mark.
On opening his season in Doha, where Thomas Rohler set an IAAF Diamond League record last year:
I know that the surface in Doha is quite good and last year we had really good conditions with a good back wind, so hopefully we’ll have the same again this year and we’ll see how far it goes.
The first meet of the season is always really special. You want to show how good you are and show the others that you are the man to beat.