Nice to see Sam Fariss writing for RunBlogRun once again. Sam graduated from the University of Oregon last year and is working in media, her dream. Sam will be covering the USATF champs and also the Diamond League for the rest of the season! Thanks, Sam Fariss! 

Photo finish for first Shunsuke Izumiya’s Diamond League

By Sam Fariss

LAUSANNE – Shunsuke Izumiya’s first-ever Diamond League appearance came down to a photo finish, literally, as he leaned over the finish line to earn the win.

The 23-year-old Japanese athlete was facing steep competition in the 110-meter-hurdles, racing against the Swiss national record holder, Jason Joseph, and the Brazilian national record holder, Rafael Pereira. However, Izumiya’s powerful break out of the blocks pushed him through to a first-place finish for his DL premiere.

“Happy, yes, happy. Lausanne is good. A good surprise,” Izumiya said after the race.

Just 0.01 seconds separated the two hurdlers as they crossed as Izumiya beat the field of competition, most notably Joseph, on his home turf. They were followed closely behind by French athlete Just Kwaou-Mathey, who finished in 13.37 seconds.

With eight Diamond League meetings remaining in the season, this was certainly the promising start that Izumiya was hoping for.

Joseph appeared to be making a comeback and was just millimeters behind Izumiya as they rapidly neared the end. Izumiya finished in 13.22 seconds – not a personal nor season best, but lands at 12th in the list of best times for the 110mH this season.

“I don’t know what the hell I did out there. My head was all over the place, couldn’t focus, hit too many hurdles,” Joseph said. “Felt like coming back and still getting the W, but that didn’t work out for me today.”

The event initially began with a false start which led to the disqualification of French athlete Wilhem Belocian who has a season-best of 13.23 in the event.

Lorenzo Ndele Simonelli, Italy, finished 4th in 13.41 seconds. Enrique Llopis, Spain, finished 5th in 13.43 seconds. Rafael Pereira, Brazil, finished 6th in 13.56 seconds. Joshua Zeller, Great Britain, finished 8th in 13.58 seconds.

Izumiya has the fourth fastest time in the world this season, with his best of 13.04 seconds. Kwaou-Mathey is currently tied for seventh on the season’s best list with a time of 13.09 seconds. Joseph has the ninth fastest time this season at 13.10 seconds.

The current world leading time is 12.96 seconds, held by American Cordell Tinch.

Izumiya represented Japan at the 2020 Olympic Games but was unable to break through the qualifiers and did not make it to the final race. At the World Athletics Championships, he was able to qualify through to the second round of heats but still fell short of the final competition.

None of the athletes ran a personal or season best, but it was undeniably a show-stopping race and picture-perfect finish.

The next Diamond League meeting is in Stockholm, Sweden, on July 2nd, just two days after the meeting in Lausanne. Track fans will not see these athletes on the red eye to Stockholm as the 110-meter hurdles will not take place at the Swedish meet this season.