29 August, 2019

Action-packed IAAF Diamond League Final at Letzigrund Stadium

One European record, three IAAF Diamond League records, three meeting records, three world leading performances – what a summary. Behind the mere facts of this year’s edition of Weltklasse Zürich, there are a series of gripping and emotional events.

Two Swiss athletes, Mujinga Kambundji in 200m and Lea Sprunger in the 400m h, placed fifth in their races, proving their status in the universe of high-level athletics. And the 4x100m Swiss squad came in fourth in a spectacular Zurich Trophy race. After the conclusion of the competition, Sandi Morris (USA) and 100m winner Noah Lyles (USA) proceeded to wow the crowd with their singing skills in the closing ceremony of the meeting.

16 Diamond Trophies were awarded at the end of the action-packed night of athletics, four of them went to defending champions: Shaunae Miller-Uibo (BAH, 200m), Salwa Eid Naser (BRH, 400m), Beatrice Chepkoech (KEN, 3000m SC), and Lijiao Gong (CHN, shot put).

Benjamin spurs Warholm to run new area record

A breathtaking duel went down on the final metres of the men’s 400m h. Rai Benjamin (USA/22) and Karsten Warholm (NOR/23), world and European champion and current world leader, were both clearly not prepared to give in. In the end, Warholm won in 46.92, beating Benjamin by 6 hundredths of a second and setting a new area record, a meeting record, and new world leading time. The Norwegian celebrated his triumph with some extra press-ups. Switzerland’s former European champion Kariem Hussein did not quite manage to get into his stride. He placed eighth in 50.04.

A new world leading time for Miller-Uibo in the 200m

The women’s 200m boasted a particularly illustrious line-up. In the end, the defending champion would prevail. Running into slight headwind (0.4m/s), Shaunae Miller-Uibo from the Bahamas improved the world leading time from 22.00 to 21.74, defeating triple European champion Dina Asher-Smith (GBR/22.08) and previous world leader Elaine Thompson (JAM/22.44). Switzerland’s fastest sprinter Mujinga Kambundji placed fifth, just behind Dafne Schippers (NED). Her 22.58 did not quite match up to the new national record mark she had set on the previous weekend (22.26).

Outgoing Echevarria shines in the long jump

A meeting record, a Diamond League record, and a new world leading performance – all in the first attempt. Cuba’s Juan Miguel Echevarria flew to 8.65m. After this first statement, the outgoing 21-year-old athletes skipped three attempts, and then suffered two invalid jumps. Echevarria’s personal best of 8.68m dates back to last year. The previous world leading performance of this season, a modest 8.41m, had been set by Zarck Visser (RSA). Last night, Visser came in last, jumping 7.60m. The competition also represented a defeat for Luvo Manyonga (RSA), last year’s IAAF Diamond League champion, who placed fourth (8.19m).

Rising star Sydney McLaughlin outperformed the world’s best 400m hurdlers

U20 world record holder Sydney McLaughlin (USA) impressively outperformed her illustrious opponents in the 400m h. She won in 52.85, missing her personal best by a mere tenth of a second and defeating two fellow countrywomen. Surprisingly, world record holder Dalilah Muhammad came in only third, clocking 54.13. Swiss European champion Lea Sprunger went out fast, but stumbled briefly after crossing the final hurdles. She ended up missing her season’s best of 55.13 by one hundredth of a second and placing fifth.

Young sprint star Noah Lyles wins 100m

Following his two IAAF Diamond League titles in the 200m in 2018 and 2019, Noah Lyles claimed a 100m diamond this year. The 22-year-old US athlete was the only one to run a sub 10-second race. His result: 9.98 (into a 0,4m/s headwind). China’s Zhenye Xie placed second in 10.04 in front of 2011 world champion Yohan Blake (JAM/29). Local hero Alex Wilson did not quite manage to get into gear. He placed eighth in 10.40.

Swiss 4x100m relay team places fourth

The popular Swiss 4x100m squad, consisting of Ajla Del Ponte, Sarah Atcho, Mujinga Kambundji, and Salomé Kora, placed fourth in the Zurich Trophy. Clocking 42.75, they missed their national record by about half a second. The Trophy went to Germany (42.22), who won in front of the Netherlands (with Dafne Schippers), and China. The Jamaican team, led by world champion Elaine Thompson, placed fifth, behind Switzerland.

Favourite Yulimar Rojas’ defeat in the triple jump

With her final attempt (14.93m), 22-year-old Jamaican Shanieka Ricketts inflicted a surprising defeat on favourite Yulimar Rojas (VEN/23). The reigning Olympic and world champion placed second (14.74m). She is the only athlete to have jumped further than 15m this year. Ricketts’ result of last night advanced her to second place in the world’s top list.

A surprise 5000m win by Cheptegei

It was neither defending champion Selemon Barega (ETH/5th) nor, world leader Telahun Haile Bekele (ETH/4th), nor any other of the 5000m stars who crossed the finish line first last night. They all let outsider Joshua Cheptegei (UGA/22) run his race, and in the end, no one was able to catch him on the home straight. Cheptegei won in 12:57.41. Julien Wanders (SUI) fell behind during the fourth kilometre and came in 14th in 13:45.18.

800m favourite Nijel Amos outrun on the finish line

This summer’s 800m world leader Nijel Amos (25) from Botswana was defeated on the finish line by Donavan Brazier (USA). After a dizzying first lap (48.2), Amos’ lead became quite convincing. But then step by step, Brazier caught up with him on the home straight. The clock stopped at an impressive 1:42.70. But Amos’ dream of picking up a fourth Diamond Trophy was shattered.

A shot put meeting record for China’s Lijiao Gong

The world’s eight top shot putters were facing each other at Letzigrund Stadium last night. And the best of them, world champion Lijiao Gong (30) from China, did not only prevail, she set a new meeting record (20.31m). It was the first shot that flew further than 20m – and therefore obviously a new world leading performance. Chase Ealey (USA) placed second and achieved a new personal best (19.68m), while Christina Schwanitz (GER/3rd) improved her season’s best to 19.37m.

World champion Sam Kendricks wins pole vault competition

US-American world champion Sam Kendricks (27) was, quite understandably, thrilled with his successful third attempt at 5.93m – and his win. He celebrated with the crowd, doing half a lap of honour. His toughest opponents, young high flyer Armand Duplantis (SWE/5.83m) and two-time IAAF Diamond League champion Piotr Lisek (POL/5.83m) placed second and third.

Hassan wins 1500m duel

Even before entering the home straight, European champion Sifan Hassan (NED/26) had made clear she would win the prestigious duel between her and world record holder Genzebe Dibaba (ETH/28). In the end, Dibaba even had to let Konstanze Klosterhalfen (GER/22) pass by. The young German placed second in 3:59.02. Hassan triumphed (3:57.08), while Dibaba had to settle for fourth place. U20 European champion Delia Sclabas (SUI) did not have any say in the outcome of the race. She placed 14th.

German javelin throw quartet kept at bay

Magnus Kirt (EST/29) won the javelin throw competition in his very last throw (89.13m), defeating Chao-Tsun Cheng (TPE), who had thrown an impressive 89.05m in his first attempt. The two kept four strong German athletes at bay. The most successful member of the German quartet was Andreas Hofmann (87.49) who had won the competition in 2018.

A convincing 3000m SC performance by Beatrice Chepkoech

World record holder and favourite Beatrice Chepkoech (KEN/28) won the women’s 3000m SC convincingly in 9:01.71 – and in front of three fellow countrywomen. Germany’s Gesa Felicitas Krause placed fifth, setting a new national record in 9:07.51 and defeating world champion Emma Coburn (USA) by 2.5 seconds.

A compelling run by Salwa Eid Naser in the 400m

In her fifth IAAF Diamond League race of the season, Salwa Eid Naser (BAH/21) left all her opponents behind her for the fifth time. Her winning time of 50.24 was almost one second faster than the result of runner-up Shakima Wimbley (USA). Nigeria-born Naser successfully defended her 2018 IAAF Diamond League title.

Huihui Lyu dominates javelin throw competition

30-year-old Huihui Lyu (CHN) upheld her status as this summer’s best javelin thrower. She won with 66.88m, defeating her opponents by more than two metres. Kelsey-Lee Barber from Australia placed second (64.74m), Athlétissima winner Christin Hussong (GER) placed fourth (62.81m). Swiss hepathlete Géraldine Ruckstuhl had to abandon her competition after the second throw (51.05m).

Personal bests in the men’s high jump

The top three performers in the men’s high jump all achieved new personal bests at Weltklasse Zürich this year: Andriy Protsenko (UKR) won (2.32m), beating Brandon Starc (AUS) Tihomir Ivanov (BUL) who both jumped 2.30m. Four weeks prior to the world championship in home country, world champion Mutaz Essa Barshim (QAT) jumped 2.20m, placing tenth. He had been battling an injury.

Young Diamonds win for Yasmin Giger

Switzerland’s U23 European championship bronze medallist Yasmin Giger won the Young Diamonds 400m h race in 56.82, missing her personal best by just nine tenths of a second. Oksana Aeschbacher placed fourth in 59.24. Winner of the men’s race was Constantin Preis (GER/49.23), Dany Brand placed third in 50.92.

The two 100m events in the national programme also served as warm-up races for the Swiss relay team. Yasmin Kwadwo (GER, 11.55) won, beating Géraldine Frey (11.61), Ajla del Ponte (11.65), and Sarah Atcho (11.71). Salomé Kora ran 11.83 and placed seventh in the second race (winner: Jonelle Smith/JAM, 11.26).

In the women’s 800m, former indoor European champion Selina Büchel improved her season’s best by 17 hundredths of a second. Still, she missed the world championship entry standard she had wanted to achieve. Eunice Jepkoech Sum (KEN) won the race in 2:00.40, while Lore Hoffmann placed fifth in 2:02.22.

Swiss national record holder Jason Joseph experienced a disappointment in the 110m h. He false started and was disqualified. Pascal Martinot-Lagarde (FRA) won the race in 13.51. And Brahim Pena (14.26) prevailed in the Swiss duel against junior decathlete Simon Ehammer (14.26).
Switzerland’s Manuela Schär won the wheelchair pursuit race defeating fellow countryman Marcel Hug. Manuela Schär lost but a slight share of her advantage, clocking 5:36.20 in the end.