Rome meet offers Makwala a chance to take Diamond League lead

BONGANI MALUNGA

Isaac Makwala will get an opportunity to take the lead in the men’s 400 IAAF Diamond League standings if he wins the Rome edition on Thursday. The men’s 400m race will be on Thursday at 21:16 (CAT) on Supersport 7 as Makwala aims to win a race for the first time in this year’s competition.
Makwala obtained a third place finish in the first Diamond League meet in Doha (Qatar) behind Steven Gardiner and Abdalleleh Haroun. The former African 400m champion recorded a better finish when the competition’s second series was held in Shanghai, China as he grabbed the second spot behind Gardiner, while Haroun finished third.
Having won a gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Makwala is now considered one of, if not the best in the 400m category, he is expected to finally challenge for a first place finish in the next race given how he pushed Gardiner to the limit in Shanghai.
Gardiner is currently leading the standings with a tally of 16 points, followed by Makwala and Haroun who are both locked on 13 points, the rest of the top seven list is rounded by Fred Kerley (5points), Gil Roberts (5 points), Christian Taylor (4 points) and Baboloki Thebe (4 points) in their positional order.
As it stands the seven athletes are the ones eligible to compete in the final, both Makwala and Thebe will be aiming to record desirable results in the next four races in order to remain in the top seven and qualify for the final which is slated for August 30 in Zurich, Switzerland. After Thursday’s Rome edition, there will be three races left before the final, the 400m races will be held in Rabat, Morocco on July 13, London on July 21 and Birmingham on August 18.
Thebe has been trailing in the competition as he has taken part in only one race this year which was in Doha when the season started, the Commonwealth Games silver medallist needs to recover and recover the deficit that has seen him trail by such a huge lead compared to last year when he was amongst the top three at this stage of the season.

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