25 Wanda Diamond League Champions were crowned at Weltklasse Zürich last night. Elaine Thompson-Herah (JAM), Femke Bol (NED), Armand Duplantis (SWE), and Yulimar Rojas (VEN) all entered the Weltklasse Zürich history book by setting new meeting records at Letzigrund Stadium.
Pole vault: Two magic results
In the end, all eyes were on Armand «Mondo» Duplantis and his two final attempts. He had already won his competition, but he kept going – a lone competitor in the arena – until after 10pm. More than 20 000 spectators watched in awe, as he tried to clear 6.19m. The Olympic champion narrowly missed breaking the world record, but with 6.06m, he did treat the crowd to the very first 6-metre jump at Weltklasse Zürich.
The reigning world champion prevailed in the women’s pole vault: Anzhelika Sidorova (ANA) won the competition beating runner-up and 2016 Olympic champion Katerina Stefanidi (GRE) by no less than 24 centimetres. Sidorova, who had already won the competition at Zurich Main Station in 2019, became the fourth women to clear the 5-metre mark. Her 5.01m represented a now world leading performance and a Diamond League record. Katie Nageotte (USA), on the other hand, will try to put her competition behind her as quickly as she can. The 2021 Olympic champion no heighted at Letzigrund Stadium.
100m: A cheering crowd, a meeting record
The crowd turned the volume of their cheers to new levels during the women’s 100m race. The two local stars – Ajla Del Ponte (SUI) und Mujinga Kambundji (SUI) – had both entered new spheres, when qualifying for the Olympic final. Now, they managed to prove that their success in Tokyo had not been accidental. Elaine Thompson-Herah (JAM) won in a stunning 10.65 – a new meeting record. Del Ponte (10.93) and Kambundji (10.94) both ran a sub 11-seconds race again. Del Ponte even made it to the podium, placing third.
Versatile Fred Kerley (USA), too, proved his abilities to run a fast 100-metre dash with his 9.87 win. In 2018, he had won a diamond trophy in the 400m; now, added one to his collection in the 100m. Switzerland’s Silvan Wicki (SUI), placed eighth, clocking 10.25.
200m: A world U20 record for Christine Mboma
The crowd went wild again, when Mujinga Kambundji stepped on the track for the 200m. She came in fourth, just missing a national record. And young Christine Mboma’s terrific win in a new African record and a world U20 record time swept fans off their feet entirely.
Kenneth Bednarek (USA), the runner-up in the Tokyo Olympic final, beat André De Grasse in 19.70 this time around, and picked up the 2021 200m diamond. De Grasse (19.72) placed second, while Fred Kerley added another spot on the podium, after winning the 100m. Switzerland’s William Reais clocked 20.49.
400m: Two first-time diamond champions
Almost a dead heat in the men’s 400m: Michael Cherry (USA/44.41), who had won Olympic gold with his 4x400m mixed relay team, threw himself over the finish line, narrowly beating Kirani James (GRN/44.42). In the Olympic final, James had been in front of him, winning a bronze medal, after claiming gold in London in 2012 and silver in Rio de Janeiro.
In the women’s race, Quanera Hayes (USA), seventh in Tokyo, won her first diamond in 49.88. Just like Kirani James, Olympic silver medallist Marileidy Paulino (DOM/49.96) had to settle for second place.
800m: Both favourites prevail
A new generation of athletes dominated the women’s 800m this year, mirroring the scenarios in other Weltklasse Zürich events. Keely Hodgkinson (GBR), who is only 19 years old, ran 1:57.98, beating both Kate Grace (USA) and Natoya Goule (JAM). Lore Hoffmann (SUI) placed eighth, narrowly failing to run under the 2-minute mark.
The men’s race was a rerun of the Olympic final, with two Kenyans battling for the win and another win for Emmanuel Kipkurui Korir. He prevailed in the ongoing duel with Cheruiyot Rotich again and claimed the diamond trophy. His winning time: 1:44.56.
1500m: Two exciting middle-distance duels
Jakob Ingebrigtsen (NOR) had been able to beat rival Timothy Cheruiyot (KEN) in the Olympic final. But at Letzigrund Stadium, Cheruiyot was the one to win their gripping race – by a mere eight hundredths of a second. The reigning world champion celebrated his fourth consecutive Weltklasse Zürich triumph, clocking 3:31.37. Stewart McSweyn (AUS) ran a courageous race and secured a spot on the podium, as well.
The women’s race was equally exciting: Up to the final lap, the two top favourites, Faith Kipyegon (KEN), a two-time 1500m Olympic champion, and Sifan Hassan (NED), 5000m and 10000m Olympic champion in Tokyo, were lying in wait. But then, the Kenyan star decided to take action. Hassan, the European record holder followed suit. Thus, another race was going to be decided on its final metres. And just like Cheruiyot, the season’s world leader Kipyegon stood her ground and won her second diamond trophy in 3:58.33. Defending champion Sifan Hassan came in second in 3:58.,55.
100m hurdles / 110m hurdles: An African record – and a disappointment
Nigerian Tobi Amusan’s new area record (12.43) earned her a diamond trophy in the 100m hurdles. Switzerland was represented by Ditaji Kambundji (SUI). The European U20 champion placed eighth in 13.01.
Devon Allen (USA) made up for his fourth place in the Olympic 110m hurdles. In 13.06 – a season’s best – he beat both Ronald Levy (JAM) and Olympic champion Hansle Parchment (JAM). Swiss national record holder Jason Joseph, who had been able to keep up with the world’s fastest high hurdlers recently, had big plans for the race at Letzigrund Stadium. A false start interfered with them and handed the young local star a major disappointment.
400m hurdles: Compelling performances by two record holders
Two years ago, Karsten Warholm (NOR) ran a new European record at Letzigrund stadium. Since then, he became a two-time world champion, Olympic champion, and the holder of a stunning world record. The world’s fastest Viking seems to have no intention of resting on his laurels, however. In Zurich, he faced his toughest opponents, including Olympic bronze medallist Alison dos Santos (BRA), again. Running on his preferred lane 7, Warholm went out fast as always. He was never forced to test his limits throughout the race. 47.35 allowed him to wrap a perfect season with another win – and a diamond.
At 21 years of age, Femke Bol (NED) is the rising star of the women’s 400m hurdles. The European record holder and Olympic bronze medallist added another win to her seven 2021 Diamond League triumphs, and won her first diamond trophy. She also improved US American Kim Batten’s meeting record from 1998 by four hundredths of a second to 52.80. Her Swiss training partner Lea Sprunger bid her fans farewell in the final Weltklasse Zürich race of her career.
3000m SC: Kenyan steeplers strike back
Soufiane El Bakkali (MAR) interrupted the tradition of Kenyan 3000m SC triumphs, when he took gold in Tokyo last month. At Letzigrund Stadium, Benjamin Kigen (KEN) settled the score. Even before reaching the last water jump, the current world leading steepler moved up a gear and secured a narrow win in 8:17.45. Olympic champion El Bakkali (8:17.50) had to make do with second place again, just like in 2018 and 2019.
Kigen’s counterpart in the women’s race is Norah Jeruto (KEN/9:07.33). The Diamond League winner of Doha and Eugene had not been able to qualify for the Olympic Games this year, but managed to defeat all three Tokyo medallists. Hyvin Kiyeng (KEN/9:08.55) and Courtney Frerichs (USA/9:08.74) switched places for the Zurich podium.
High jump men: Tamberi’s one-man show
Olympic champion Gianmarco Tamberi (ITA) cleared 2.30m for the tenth time this year. The outgoing athlete had the stadium crowd’s full support and managed to win the final in 2.34m. After his final jump, «Gimbo» grabbed the diamond trophy and brought out his gold medal to celebrate his successful season together with the Zurich audience on a victory lap.
Triple jump: A new meeting record for the world record holder
Yulimar Rojas (VEN) was not done with the season yet. She had said so on the eve of the final, and she was true to her word, proceeding to break the 26-year-old meeting record by Anna Biryukova (RUS) in her first attempt of her competition. The diamond was hers, but the Olympic champion still wanted more. In her final attempt, she missed her own world record by a mere 19cm. Her 15.48m are the third-best result of all times.
Olympic champion Pedro Pichardo (POR), too, gave his all in his final attempt. The winner of last year’s «Weltklasse Zürich Inspiration Games» secured his first diamond, jumping to 17.70m and defeating Olympic bronze medallist and world indoor record holder Fabrice Hugues Zango (BUR/17.20m) in the process.
Discus throw: Another triumph for the Olympic champions
The four Diamond League competitions of the season had been dominated by Yaimé Pérez (CUB) and 44-time winner Sandra Perković (CRO). At the final, however, Olympic champion Valarie Allman (USA), snatched the trophy from the two experienced stars. Her 69.20m earned her a comfortable win against six-time Diamond League champion Perković (67.22m) and world champion Pérez (64.83m).
Daniel Ståhl (SWE), Olympic and world champion and undefeated in the last 16 competitions, prevailed in the final, as well (66.49m) and picked up his second diamond.
Javelin throw: Making amends
German javelin throwers Johannes Vetter and Christin Hussong were able to end their season on a positive note. The two stars both won a diamond and an award of 30 000 US dollars. With 89.11m for Vetter and 65.26m for Hussong, they made up for their disappointment at the Olympics and also secured a spot for the 2022 world championships in Eugene/Oregon (USA). Simon Wieland’s (SUI) 78.11m represented a new season’s best for the 20-year-old local hero.