This is the roundup report on the Zurich DL, the first half of the Diamond League finals. Stuart Weir wrote this piece as the round up for the Weltklasse meeting. Stuart Weir is on his Paris by airplane, then, locomotive to Brussels.
The First half of the Diamond League final had everything! There were favorites stepping up to the mark, shocks, too-close-to-call races, races where two athletes deserved to win, the heartbreak of a false-start, a mid-race injury, exciting field events and a relay to finish.
Where to start is the problem?
Caterine Ibarguen won the women’s triple jump in 14.56. Luvo Manyonga the men’s long jump with 8.36. No surprises there.
The women’s pole vault was a fabulous competition with Katerina Stefanidi winning with 4.87 from Sandi Morris (4.82) with Anzelhika Sidorova third on the same height and a further 4 athletes clearing 4.57.
The women’s 5000m had the look of the irresistible force v the immovable object. Sifan Hassan and Hellen Obiri sprinted down the finishing straight with Obiri winning by 0.38 of a second after 5000 meters.
The women’s 800 saw Caster Semanya open up a big lead but Ajee Wilson and Natoya Goule – what an amazing season she has had – never gave up. Semanya was first (1:55:27), Wilson second 1:57.86 and Goule (1:58.49) third, with the top six under 2 minutes. While Semanya won by 2 seconds, the times recorded by Wilson and Goule would win most races.
The men’s 400m was a blanket finish with the top three Fred Kerley, Nathan Strother and Matt Hudson-Smith separated only by 15 hundredths of a second. The fastest man in the field, Steven Gardiner, sadly pulled up injured. But 15 hundredths of a second was an enormous margin compared to the 400H where Kyron McMaster beat Karsten Warholm by two hundredths of a second. While you can only beat those who are in the race, the absence of Abderrahman Samba
The women’s 100m was perhaps an anti-climax with seven runners in the race who have clocked under 11 seconds this season. Murielle Ahoure won in 11.01
The final event was a women’s sprint relay for the Zurich Trophy. The Swiss led GB by perhaps 4 meters on the final leg but the amazing Dina Asher-Smith clawed it back to see the reigning European Champions disappoint the home crowd.
It was a program of world class – as the meeting title confirms – athletics, unfolding in front of a capacity crowd in a stadium with great tradition. The crowd cheered on all athletes but raised the roof when a Swiss one was involved.
Then there were the fireworks to end the evening.