30 August, 2018

Outstanding IAAF Diamond League Final Performances at Weltklasse Zürich

25 000 spectators celebrated athletics in a night full of atmosphere and highlights at Letzigrund Stadium yesterday. Among many stellar performances at the first of two IAAF Diamond League was a new meeting record: New Zealander Thomas Walsh’s shot flew to a Letzigrund Stadium record of 22.60.

In 16 IAAF Diamond League final events, as many as ten 2017 champions were able to defend their title. Just two of the newly crowned European champions – Russian high jumper Mariya Lasitskene and Greece’s pole vault star – Ekaterina Stefanidi managed to prevail again last night.
Other athletics highlights included the 91m flight of Andreas Hofmann’s javelin, the 200m show led by the young Noah Lyles (USA), as well as the spectacular duels in the women’s 5000m (Obiri v. Hassan) and in the men’s 3000m SC, where Conseslus Kipruto triumphed despite the fact that he was running most of the race “half-barefoot”.

Swiss sprint relay team on the podium

The members of the Swiss 4x100m team, fourth in Berlin, were the only local heroes to make it to the podium: Ajla del Ponte, Sarah Atcho, Mujinga Kambundji, and Salomé Kora came in second in 42.49, missing their own national record by only two tenths of a second. Winner of the Zurich Trophy was Great Britain, after European champion Dina Asher-Smith outsprinted the leading Kora on the last metres. The Swiss anchorwoman almost tumbled, but managed to secure the second place for her team. Germany came in third (42.69). The winning time of the British European champions: 42.28.

Kambundji places fourth for the fourth time

In the women’s 100m, Murielle Ahouré (CIV) beat the two top favourites for the race – European champion Dina Asher-Smith (11.08) and Marie-José Ta Lou (CIV; 11.10) – running an excellent 11.01 into a 0.5 m/sec tailwind. In Berlin, the Swiss sprint star Mujinga Kambundji had placed fourth three time, at Letzigrund Stadium, she ran 11.14 and came in – fourth! Her «favourite result of the summer», she assured everyone after the race, laughing. «Seriously, placing fourth today was fabulous», she said. She was obviously happy with her time and with the fact that she had managed to keep superstar Dafne Schippers at bay.

Gripping finish and a bruised winner in the men’s 3000m SC

The finish in the men’s 3000m SC race thrilled the crowd at Letzigrund Stadium. In the end, it was Olympic and world champion Conseslus Kipruto who triumphed, beating Moroccan Soufinae El Bakkali by a narrow four hundredths of a second. And he did it all wearing only one shoe! «I have big pain,» Kipruto explained after the race. «I am injured, because I lost my left show. But it motivated me to fight as hard as I could.“ US steepler Evan Jager placed third in the emotional race.

Noah Lyles – a confident up-and-comer in the 200 m

21-year-old defending champion and world leader Noah Lyles (USA) did not show any weakness in the 200m, almost equalling the fastest race of the summer (19.67; slight tailwind). Even Ramil Gulijev (TUR), who had dominated the final in Berlin, was left powerless, despite the fact that he, too, ran a sub 20-seconds race. A mark Switzerland’s European championship bronze medallist Alex Wilson missed: He clocked 20.40, placing sixth in a field of global sprint stars.

World champion Obiri prevails in exciting duel

World champion Hellen Obiri (KEN) finished a stride ahead of European champion Sifan Hassan (NED) in the highly anticipated 5000m race. Her winning time: 14:38.39. She defeated Hassan by almost four tenth of a second and confirmed her role as current world leader. Ethiopian Senbere Teferi was the one to keep the field chasing the two at bay.

Manyonga’s final attempt

Luvo Manyonga, South African long jump star, probably had not anticipated the scenario: Prior to his final attempt of the competition, he was placed second, behind his fellow countryman Ruswahl Samaai (8.32). He remained undaunted, though, flew to 8.36, and successfully defended his IAAF Diamond League title.

Warholm meets his match

It was a rare case of world and European champion Karsten Warholm meeting his match in the men’s 400mh. Kyron McMaster (IVB) finished half a stride – two hundredths of a second – ahead of the Norwegian in 48.08. Yasmani Copello (TUR), silver medallist in Berlin, came in third.

Hofmann’s 91-m spectacle

European championship silver medallist Andreas Hofmann turned the tables on Olympic and European champion Thomas Röhler in an awe-inspiring manner: He launched his javelin to  91.44 metres, impressively beating Röhler (85.76) and Berlin silver medallist Magnus Kirt (EST; 87.57), who had tried to be laughing third in the German quarrel.

Lea Sprunger without a chance to win this time

Switzerland’s European champion Lea Sprunger had set out challenge an all-star line-up in the women’s 400m h. However, she lagged behind early in the race, broke her stride and thus encountered some trouble at the final hurdle. In the end, she came in sixth in 55.36. In Berlin, she had clocked 54.33. Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad (USA) won the race in 53.88, beating her compatriot Shamier Little (54.38).

Semenya’s 800m solo

Olympic champion Caster Semenya of South Africa took matters into her hand right at the beginning. Her solo run left no doubt as to who was going to win this year’s 800m at Letzigrund Stadium. Semenya clocked 1:55.27, the second-fastest result this year. Switzerland’s Selina Büchel placed second, right behind Olympic silver medallist Francine Nyonsaba of Burundi, in 2:00.64, just missing her own season’s best.

Stefanidi, once again

Greek Olympic, world, and European champion Katerina Stefanidi dominated another major women’s pole vault competition. She cleared 4.87, defeating world leader Sandy Morris (USA) and Anzhelika Sidorova (ANA), who both jumped 4.82.

Cheruiyot wins 1500m

Filip Ingebrigtsen (NOR) did not stand a chance against his opponents from overseas in the men’s 1500m. It was a confident win for world leader Timothy Cheruiyot from Kenya, who finished the race in 3:30.27, defeating his fellow countryman Elijah Motonel Manangoi (3:31.16). Ingebrigtsen, who had intended to make up for his disappointment in Berlin, came in seventh.

Another mishap for Gardiner

A fall in 2017, an injury in 2018: The young world championship silver medallist and rising star Steven Gardiner (BAH), suffered another case of bad luck at Letzigrund Stadium. He had to abandon the race 50m into the home straight. Fred Kerly (USA) won the 400m in 44.80, European champion Matthew Hudson-Smith came in third.

IAAF Diamond League and meeting record for Tomas Walsh

Shot put world champion Tomas Walsh (NZL) prevailed in another encounter with Olympic champion Ryan Crouser (USA) – an ongoing saga. In his second attempt, Walsh’s shot landed at 22.60, a new IAAF   Diamond League and meeting record. Walsh missed his own world-leading performance by only seven centimetres. Darrell Hill (USA) placed second this time around (22.40), but Crouser broke the 22m mark, as well 22 m (22.18).

Unbeatable Lasitskene

In Berlin, Russin Mariya Lasitskene (independent athlete) was not entirely happy after jumping «only» 2m. In Zurich, 1.97 sufficed to defend her IAAF Diamond League title. Ukraine’s Yuliya Levchenko (1,94) placed second, just as in Berlin, Marie-Laurence Jungfleisch (GER) joined them on the podium in third place.

A surprisingly narrow win for Ibarguen

In the women’s triple jump, world leader and Olympic champion Caterine Ibarguen (COL) managed to confirm her role as a top favourite. But the competition was tougher than expected: In the end, Shanieka Ricketts (JAM; 14.55) lost by a mere centimetre.

Khaladovich dominated women’s javelin throw

Belarus’ Tatsiana Khaladovich, who won the competition with an excellent 66.99m throw, dominated the women’s javelin throw. Swiss hepathlete Géraldine Ruckstuhl placed eighth (56.07) and came close to her season’s best.

The following ten IAAF Diamond League champions successfully defended their 2017 titles:
Men – 200m: Noah Lyles (USA). 1500m: Timothy Cheruiyot (KEN). 400m hurdles: Kyron McMaster (IVB). 3000m SC: Conseslus Kipruto (KEN). Long jump: Luvo Manyonga (RSA).
Women – 800m: Caster Semenya (RSA). 5000m: Hellen Obiri (KEN). 400m hurdles: Dalilah Muhammad (USA). High jump: Mariya Lasitskene (ANA). Pole vault: Ekaterina Stefanidi (GRE).

Jason Joseph’s excellent run    

There were a number of top results in the Weltklasse Zürich national programme: The fastest time in the three series of the women’s 100m was run by Imani Lansiquot (GBR; 11.36), who defeated Kerron Stewart (JAM; 11.47) and Swiss 4x100m relay anchorwoman Salomé Kora (11.54). 19-year-old Jason Joseph (SUI) won the 110mh  Young Diamond Challenge in 13.46 – an excellent performance. Liam van der Schaaf (NED) came in second, but nearly seven tenths of a second later. In the women’s 400m hurdles, there was a double triumph for Switzerland: Yasmin Giger snatched the win from under Robine Schürmann’s nose on the last metres, clocking 57.03. The win in the men’s 400m h went to Vit Müller (CZE; 50.19) who defeated Danny Brand (SUI; 51.18).