«Weltklasse on Sechseläutenplatz» premiers on Wednesday. The first Wanda Diamond League champions to earn their trophy on a city track will be the winners of 5000m. In addition, diamonds are up for grabs for shot putters, long jumpers, and the competitors of the women’s high jump in front of the Opernhaus Zürich.
Thanks to a technical innovation by Weltklasse Zürich and Conica AG, there will be no speed limits around the Zurich opera. In order to absorb the effects of the centrifugal forces created by the fast legs of 5000m runners, the three bends in the 560m track have been slightly raised. This will allow competitors to run fast in narrow curve radii. Any records set on the world’s longest temporary track will not be ratified, however. In the women’s race, all eyes will be on Hellen Obiri (KEN), the silver medallist of the recent Tokyo Olympic Games.
Swiss fans will be able to cheer a local star in the men’s 5000m, as Jonas Raess qualified for the prestigious competition against the fastest athletes worldwide. He will be facing Yomif Kejelcha (ETH) and his famously fast finish, among others. Kejelcha won the 3000m at the Oslo Diamond League meeting, but had placed “only” eighth in the Olympic 10 000m. Jakob Ingebrigtsen (NOR) will focus on the 1500m, the event that earned him a gold medal in Tokyo.
Who can stop Ryan Crouser?
Ryan Crouser leads a line-up of strong men. This year, the US American managed to improve a 31-year-old world record to 23.57m, and he won his second consecutive Olympic title. Crouser’s opponents include Olympic silver medallist and world champion Joe Kovacs (USA) and Olympic bronze medallist Tomas Walsh (NZL). A potential new record will be valid in this event, as the venue on Sechseläutenplatz is a homologated competition site.
In the women’s competition, both Olympic silver medallist Danniel Thomas-Dodd (JAM) and Auriol Dongmo (POR), the current world leader with a personal best of 19.75, have set their eyes on a diamond trophy
Malaika Mihambo and two Swiss competitors in the long jump
She is famous for her mental strength, and she wrote one of the emotional athletics chapters of this year’s Olympic story: After a so-so season, Malaika Mihambo, reigning world and European long jump champion, took the title in Tokyo. It took a few extra centimetres in the very last jump to win the Olympic gold medal. In Zurich, she will tackle her competition with the calm of an athlete, who has achieved almost all there is to achieve. She will be the athlete to beat.
Fans will closely watch the two Swiss long jumpers in the competition on Sechseläutenplatz. While Benjamin Gföhler qualified for the final on the basis of the Diamond League ranking, U23 European champion Simon Ehammer will compete as a wildcard entry.
Women’s high jump thriller
Mariya Lasitskene (ANA) clearly dominates the women’s high jump. The new Olympic champion is also a three-time world champion. However, her opponents – including Olympic silver and bronze medallists Nicola McDermott (AUS) and Yaroslava Mahuchikh (UKR) – have not made things easy for her recently. In the final competition in the Wanda Diamond League series, for instance, Mahuchikh managed to beat Lasitskene.