Absence of key personnel can inspire Lynsey Sharp in Diamond League

Lynsey Sharp wants to re-emerge at the head of the pack in the 800 metres as the legal wrangles surrounding Caster Semenya threaten a radical re-shuffling of the pecking order in the event.

Lynsey Sharp is hoping to make a positive impact in Rabat. Picture: Getty.
Lynsey Sharp is hoping to make a positive impact in Rabat. Picture: Getty.

The former European champion, now 28, will look for a timely tonic when she lines up in this evening’s Diamond League leg in Rabat, three days after tumbling over in Oslo in another setback to the Scot’s bid to reposition herself as a contender.

The immediate task was eased when Semenya rejected a last-minute invite from Moroccan organisers to return to the distance where she is the reigning Olympic and world champion following a Swiss court ruling that threw out the IAAF’s demands that she take hormones to reduce her testosterone levels if she wants to compete in the 800m again.

But with others – including Rio 2016 silver medallist Francine Niyonsaba – still covered by the ban, the absences could shift the balance of power in what was the chasing pack.

“Everyone has got into the groove of a certain type of racing,” Sharp said. “Now we’ve got to adjust. There are people who are confident front-runners who haven’t been able to do that in recent years and vice versa. So, it will be interesting to see how the event goes.

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“Over the last couple of years, you’ve just got dragged around. I remember being at Monaco twice and was pretty much at the back. It took a while to get used to that but that became the norm. Now I’m looking at top five and that’s the goal. From 2015, I was close to winning or coming top two at Diamond Leagues. That’s a different mentality. It’s going to take time to adjust.”

Eilish McColgan, inset, will hunt a break through the four-minute barrier in the 1500m in Rabat while Chris O’Hare returns to the roads at this afternoon’s Boston Mile.