Weltklasse Zürich 2019: Stars, Heroes, Crowd Favourites
So far, Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson has been running faster than any of her colleagues, this year. The double Olympic champion seems to be back on track after a slightly disappointing 100m result at the 2017 world championships and a 2018 season without any true highlights. Is she now ready to claim her first 200m Diamond Trophy after winning 100m diamonds in 2016 and 2017? Dafne Schippers is definitely going to try and have her say in the matter. The Dutch sprint star is the reigning world champion, and the 200m are her special field. If she were to win the race, she would claim her first diamond.
In contrast, Shaunae Miller-Uibo collected two of them already, in two consecutive years. And to her, the 200m are more of an “additional event”. Miller-Uibo has announced that she will concentrate on the 400m at the world championships, an event she won in Zurich in 2017, and one that earned her Olympic gold. Other athletes to watch out for include three-time European champion Dina Asher-Smith, the only sprinter to run a sub-22 second result last year, and Blessing Okagbare, who claimed Olympic gold eleven years ago – in the long jump. She won the Stanford IAAF Diamond League meeting, providing convincing proof for the fact that she is one of the fastest sprinters in the world these days. Switzerland’s Mujinga Kambundji will be lining up next to these top stars. And she will definitely be getting the loudest cheers from the crowd at the sold-out arena.
Clash of world record holders
In the women’s 1500m, two current world record holders will clash – Genzebe Dibaba and Sifan Hassan. Dibaba ran the 1500m faster than any other athlete before her, and she currently holds six additional indoor and outdoor world leading times. Hassan, in turn, ran the fastest mile of all times this July. The Dutch athlete who was born in Ethiopia now trains in the US, just like exceptional talent Konstanze Klosterhalfen, who is rarely home in her native Germany these days. Many German fans who plan to support her at Letzigrund Stadium are already looking forward to her appearance. The Swiss highlight in this race? U20 European champion Delia Sclabas will be there to compete with the world’s middle-distance elite.
Who is the fastest man on earth?
As always, the competitors of the men’s 100m race will attract the attention of each and every spectator at Letzigrund Stadium. And many have been waiting for the return of former world champion Yohan Blake who had set a new meeting record during his last appearance in Zurich in 2012, a record he still holds. He won in 9.67 (in rainy conditions). His strongest opponent this year will be Noah Lyles, whose impressive 200m run made him an instant Weltklasse Zürich hero in 2018. After the race on 29 August, he will treat the Zurich fans to an encore: About one hour after the race, he will return to the infield as a rapper, and he will perform “Souvenir” – the official Weltklasse Zürich song – together with pole vaulter Sandi Morris and Baba Shrimps. The race will also feature Justin Gatlin, current 100m world champion, and Adam Gemili, 2017 4x100m relay champion. Switzerland’s Alex Wilson has set an ambitious goal for himself. He would like to run his first sub 10-second race. He will definitely be able to count on the full support of the Weltklasse Zürich crowd.