Weltklasse Zürich 2015 – Event by Event
16 Diamond League Events
World championship bronze medallist Anaso Jobodwana could win the 200m Diamond Race this year. The South African has been diligent in accumulating points throughout the season, competing in five IAAF Diamond League 200m races – more than any other sprinter. But he is not home and dry just yet, even though he currently leads the Diamond Race with nine points. Alonso Edward from Panama is not only very close on his heels with eight points, but also the winner of last year’s race in Zurich and the 2014 Diamond Race. Theoretically, double relay champion Nickel Ashmeade (JAM) could still outrun Jobodwana, as well.
A highly competitive event! The fastest six finalists of Beijing, including new champion Wayde van Niekerk (RSA), whose stunning 43.48 landed him on the fourth position of the all-time top list, will all be in the race. Van Niekerk would like to shine again on Thursday. He will be challenged, however, by two 400m top stars: world championship silver medallist LaShawn Merritt (USA) and Olympic champion Kirani James (GRN). In the Diamond Race, Kirani James is in the lead with 10 points, followed by Wayde van Niekerk, who has scored eight points so far.
Asbel Kiprop remained unbeaten in all three Beijing races. In a next step, the 2008 Olympic champion from Kenya plans to live up to his reputation as a serial winner by prevailing against silver medallist Elijah Manangoi (KEN), and bronze medallist Abdelaati Iguider (MOR) in Zurich. Ayanleh Souleiman (DJI), currently in front in the Diamond Race, suffered an injury at the world championships. Therefore, the odds of winning the trophy have improved for Silas Kiplagat (KEN), who has scored 10 points so far, and for Asbel Kiprop (9 points). Silas Kiplagat could be the series’ overall winner for the third time, after his triumphs in 2012 and in 2014.
Kenya celebrated its traditional 3000m SC dominance by winning the four top spots at the world championships in Beijing. And for the fourth time in a row, Ezekiel Kemboi was the fastest of them all. The triumphant quartet will feel confident about their race in Zurich. The two US steeplers Evan Jager and Dan Huling, however, will try to challenge them. Especially Evan Jager, US champion and sixth at the world championships, has a score to settle: At the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Paris, he was on his way to win, when he fell after the final hurdle. Will he be able to outrun new champion Ezekiel Kemboi, silver and bronze medallists Conseslus Kipruto and Brimin Kipruto, as well as Diamond Race leader Jairus Birech? A formidable task, considering the fact that the best nine finalists of the world championships will all compete at Letzigrund Stadium.
Former world champion David Oliver (USA) is a regular in Zurich. Since 2006, he competed whenever his event was on the Weltklasse Zürich schedule, and he won his races in 2010 and 2013. By winning again this year, he could make up for his seventh place in the Beijing final and collect the Diamond Trophy in the process. However, Orlando Ortega is breathing down his neck in the Diamond Race. The athlete is the world leader with a season’s best of 12.94. He did not compete in Beijing and will be well rested for the race in Zurich. The line-up also includes world and European champion Sergey Shubenkov (RUS), as well as three French hurdlers, including Pascal Martinot-Lagarde, European indoor champion and fourth at the world championships.
The best six jumpers of Beijing will compete again in Zurich. Thus, another gripping high jump competition is on the cards. It took a three-way jump-off to decide the world championship final, and it was Canada’s Derek Drouin who grabbed gold in the end (2.34m). The silver medal went to European champion Bohdan Bondarenko (UKR), who had returned from an injury, while Zhang Guowei (CHN) took bronze. World indoor champion Mutaz Essa Barshim (QAT) may have missed out on a medal last week, but he could compensate his disappointment by winning a Diamond Trophy. He is comfortably leading the race with 12 points. Runner-up is Zhang Guowei who has scored 7 points so far.
Greg Rutherford currently holds all major titles. He is the Olympic, reigning European and world champion. In addition, he is leading the Diamond Race with 13 points going into the final event in Zurich. Simply put, he is the athlete to beat. Contenders to do just that could be world championship silver medallist Fabrice Lapierre (AUS), bronze medallist Wang Jianan (CHN), or world leader Jeff Henderson (USA, SB 8.52m), who placed ninth in Beijing, not quite tapping his full potential. His two fellow countrymen Mike Hartfield (8 points) and Marquis Dandy (6 points) could theoretically still snatch the trophy from Rutherford. And with triple jumper Christian Taylor (USA), there will be another Olympic and world champion in the competition, who should not be underestimated.
World champion Piotr Malachowski has won almost everything there is to win. However, the Polish athlete has never been able to take the top spot of the Weltklasse Zürich podium so far. This year, he could achieve two things in one fell swoop: win at Weltklasse Zürich for the very first time and collect a Diamond Trophy and 40 000 US dollars. He has done the latter twice before – in 2010 and 2014. There is only one athlete who could upset his plan: his fellow countryman Robert Urbanek, in second position in the Diamond Race (11 points). Other favourites for the competition include world championship silver medallist Philip Milanov (BEL), the rising star of this season, as well as Gerd Kanter (EST), 2008 Olympic champion and fourth at the world championships in Beijing.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, four-time world champion and double Olympic champion, could win the 100m at Weltklasse Zürich for the second time after 2012. Another win would fit neatly into her record for the current season: The Jamaican has not been beaten since May. As a consequence, she leads the Diamond Race with 12 points. Blessing Okagbare, her tall colleague sprinter from Nigeria, is on her heels with 8 points. Bronze medallist Tori Bowie (USA), and Fraser-Pryce’s three 4x100m co-champions are in the line-up for the race, as well.
European indoor champion Selina Büchel is tackling the Zurich race at the end of an outstanding season in which she managed to set a new national record (1:57.95). The Swiss middle-distance runner will try to break the two minutes for the fifth time this summer. If she succeeds, she could achieve an excellent position in the IAAF Diamond League. The stars she will be facing include world champion Maryna Arzamasova (BLR) and bronze medallist Eunice Sum. The former world champion from Kenya has already secured her Diamond Trophy by scoring 16 points in four races.
Three new world champions in one race! Genzebe Dibaba (ETH), 1500m world champion and world record holder, will line up alongside her fellow countrywoman, 5000m world champion and current world leader Almaz Ayana (SB 8:22.22), and Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot, who took the 10000m title in Beijing. While Genzebe Dibaba is the one leading the Diamond Race (12 points), Almaz Ayana (6 points) and Mercy Cherono (KEN, 5 points) still have at least a theoretical chance to snatch the trophy.
Zuzana Hejnova hit top form at the right time to defend her title. But even before travelling to Beijing, she had displayed her strength by winning three IAAF Diamond League races in a row. In Zurich, the Czech hurdler will try to preserve her narrow lead in the Diamond Race and collect a trophy for the second time after 2013. Kaliese Spencer (JAM) has scored only two points less than her, however. And in addition, there are European champion Eilidh Child (GBR) and world championship bronze medallist Cassandra Tate (USA), who will give their best to put on a great race.
In Beijing, Yarisley Silva (CUB) beat Fabiana Murer (BRA) and Nikoléta Kiriakopoúlou (GRE) into second and third place respectively. In this year’s Diamond Race, however, the trio is ranked in reverse order. Their results illustrate how they dominated the women’s pole vault this season. The world leading performance of 4.91m was achieved by Yarisley Silva. The Diamond Trophy, however, will go to either Nikoléta Kiriakopoúlou (16 points) or Fabiana Murer (10 points). Six out of the seven most successful finalists of Beijing will compete again in Zurich. European champion Anzhelika Sidorova (RUS) will be happy to return to Letzigrund Stadium. And Swiss fans also have high hopes on national record holder Nicole Büchler and U20 European champion Angelica Moser.
Tianna Bartoletta has been the most successful athlete in the women’s long jump this summer. Last week, she grabbed the title for the second time ten years after her first triumph. With 7.14m, she is the current world leader, and she also leads the Diamond Race (16 points). There is no way for runner-up Christabel Nettey (CAN, 8 points) to overtake her in the final event in Zurich. The Weltklasse Zürich field also includes world championship silver medallist Sarah Proctor (GBR) and bronze medallist Ivana Španović of Serbia. In Beijing, all three of them jumped further than seven metres.
Christina Schwanitz has become the world’s best shot putter. Last year, she departed Zurich as European champion, and she will return as world champion and current leader (SB 20.77m) this year. In addition, the Diamond Trophy is hers already, as with an overall score of 18 points, she is uncatchable in the overall ranking. The 29-year-old German won four out of six meetings this summer. And she intends to add another win on Thursday night. Her opponents face a difficult task, but bronze medallist Michelle Carter (USA) could have what it takes to challenge her.
The final leg of the javelin throw Diamond Race will be nothing short of enthralling: As many as four of the athletes in the field could still win the trophy: world record holder and Olympic champion Barbora Spotakova (CZE, 11 points), world championship bronze medallist Sunette Viljoen (RSA, 7 points), Latvia’s Madara Palameika (5 points), and former world champion Christina Obergföll (GER, 4 points). Obergföll’s teammate Katharina Molitor tackles the competition as a new world champion and new world leader with a season’s best of 67.69m.
World record holder David Rudisha plans to run an ultrafast race in Zurich after taking the title in Beijing. Pacemakers will pave the way for the Kenyan Olympic champion. World championship silver medallist, European champion and fast finisher Adam Kszczot (POL) might once again try to play an ace towards the end of the race. The illustrious entry lists also includes 1500m Olympic champion Taoufik Makhloufi (ALG) and former world champion Mohamed Aman, who had been disqualified in the Beijing semi-finals.
400m h men
European champion Kariem Hussein returns to his home arena, and he will be very warmly welcomed by the local athletics fans. He will appreciate their support, as he will be facing strong opponents: Five of the athletes in the Weltklasse Zürich line-up have run sub 49 seconds this year, including European championship silver medallist Rasmus Mägi (EST) and World University Games champion Thomas Barr of Ireland.
100m h women
Just before 8pm, Switzerland’s rising star Noemi Zbären, sixth in Beijing, will step onto the Letzigrund track. The 21-year-old hurdler has broken the 13-second barrier in 13 races this season. And she would like to treat her home crowd to another fantastic performance. The fans will do their utmost to support the U23 European champion in her goal to celebrate a stellar season with another success.
All three teams who reached the Beijing podium – Jamaica, USA, and Trinidad & Tobago – will compete again in Zurich. But fans will also be rooting for the Swiss team with Mujinga Kambundji. The members of the national quartet are determined to execute all changeovers flawlessly after failing to proceed to the final in Beijing. The race will also feature an U23 multinational team with athletes from Switzerland, Norway, Canada, and Italy.
Pole vault men (held at Zurich Main Station on 2 September)
Read more on Weltklasse Zürich at Zurich Main Station in our preview of the event.
Timetable and entry lists