TOP 10 Athletes at Zurich Diamond League
The 10th edition of the annual IAAF Diamond League started first on the 3rd of May 2019 at Doha’s Khalifa International Stadium. The 14-leg series of track and field meetings came to its penultimate stage at Zurich’s Letzigrund Stadium on the 29th of August 2019. It is interesting to note that this year’s IAAF Diamond League featured the new championship-style system for the third time.
At the Zurich meet, eight disciplines each were held for men and women. Renowned athletes from all over the world competed fiercely to win the coveted prize money of $50,000 with the Diamond Trophy for each discipline. 14 cities played host from the 3rd of May 2019 till the 6th of September. Johnny D picks the ‘Top 10 Athletes’ from the Zurich meet.
KARSTEN WARHOLM: 400m Hurdles
The 400m Hurdles was the highlight of the Zurich Diamond League meet. Norwegian Karsten Warholm, the World and the European Champion displayed superb talent to establish a new Meet Record with a Personal Best of 46.92s. Warholm also established a new Diamond League Record, European Record and the World Lead. In 2019, he has dominated the 400m Hurdles with consistent win over his rivals and chipping his Personal Best in each outing.
For the first time in history, two men clocked sub-47. Benjamin was second clocking his Personal Best of 46.98s. McMaster was third with a timing of 48.58s.
SHAUNAE MILLER-UIBO: 200m
The women’s 200m race saw an amazing field of talent. Dina Asher-Smith, Elaine Thompson, Daphne Schippers, Kambundji, Shaunae Miller-Uibo, Okagbare, Samuel and Emmaneul were fighting for the No. 1 spot. Dina Asher-Smith started well and till 100m was ahead of the field. The story changed completely thereafter as Miller-Uibo unleashed her speed to overtake everyone in the field.
She burst open the gap between Dina to clocking an amazing Personal Best of 21.74s for the World Lead, National Record and the Diamond League Record. Shaunae Miller-Uibo dominated the field with her 400m’s expertise. Asher-Smith clocked her Season’s Best 22.08s in the second spot.
JUAN MIGUEL ECHEVARRIA: Long Jump
The Cuban Juan Miguel Echevarria was simply irresistible right from the word go. The first jump was so perfect, that he won hands down by registering the new World Lead of 8.65m.
His first jump could not be matched by Manyonga or the rest of the field. Echevarria’s first jump established the new Diamond League Record and the Meet Record. It was a fabulous piece of perfection in motion.
LIJIAO GONG: Shot Put
China’s Lijiao Gong kept the best for the last. The women’s field was competitive from the start. Gong had not crossed the 20m-mark this season. The Chinese Asian Games Gold medallist saved the best for the last.
In her sixth and the final throw, Gong crossed the 20m-mark to establish the Meet Record and the World Lead with a magnificent throw of 20.31m.
NOAH LYLES: 100m
The 100m dash is the cynosure of every athletic meet. It was no different at Zurich. Over the decades, the 100m competition has become so fierce that no one can really predict who would ultimately win the race and the title as the fastest man of the meet. Noah Lyles has displayed immense talent and enjoys his races like no other athlete. His confidence is truly remarkable and his celebrations with break-dancing have become synonymous on the world stage.
Gatlin powered the field but soon was caught by Lyles. Lyles jumped to celebrate his win the crowd for few clicks. Clocking 9.98s, Lyles has announced his arrival at the shorter version. His expertise lies in 200m. On the outer side, China’s Xie powered himself to the second spot clocking 10.04s and with Blake finishing third in 10.07s. Gatlin finished a poor fourth clocking 10.08s. It will be interesting to see Noah Lyles doubling up at the World Championships in Doha.
SIFAN HASSAN: 1500m
The women’s 1500m race was touted as the duel between the 1500m World Champion Dibaba and the Mile World Record holder Sifan Hassan. The race started with a good pace with Dibaba placing herself behind the pacer Pryce. Realizing Dibaba’s move, Hassan was quick to place herself at the right place behind Dibaba and Tsegay. After the second lap, Dibaba played a tactical move by slowing down considerably. Almost the whole bunch of runners got together.
The Oregon Salazar’s teammates Sifan Hassan and Klosterhalfen were among the first four with Dibaba still leading the race. At the bell, almost everyone started their move. With 250m to go, Hassan simply glided past Dibaba with her brilliant burst. Klosterhalfen and Canadian Debues-Stafford were on Dibaba’s heels. Hassan was simply unstoppable. Klosterhalfen crossed Dibaba followed by Stafford. Sifan Hassan clocked 3:57.08 to clinch the race. Klosterhalfen clocked her Season’s Best with 3:59.02 in the second spot. Canadian Debues-Stafford established new Canadian National Record clocking 3:59.59.
Dibaba finished a distant fourth clocking 4:00.86. Hassan and Klosterhalfen celebrated their wins joyfully and shared the moment with Stafford. Sifan Hassan has displayed great acumen in reading races one after another. The Dutch athlete is one of the most amazing middle-distance runners in the world. Her phenomenal range and command over the 1500m, a Mile, 5000m and 10,000m is second to none. It will be interesting to see Hassan running 1500m at the World Championships in Doha.
DONAVAN BRAZIER: 800m
The men’s 800m race started at a blistering speed. Nijel Amos led the field behind the pacer. The race was run simply outstandingly by the scattered field with Amos leading till the very last. However,
American Donavan Brazier kept his cool to overpower the rest of field in the last 100m. Amos had run out of his steam and had to content watching Brazier passing him at the finish line clocking 1:42.70. It was Brazier’s Personal Best. It was one of the fastest 800m races run at the Diamond League meet.
SYDNEY MCLAUGHLIN: 400m Hurdles
The World Record holder Delilah Muhammad was expected to win the women’s 400m Hurdles. However, the race was a great shock for one and all at the stadium. As the race started Muhammad raced like a true champion with Sydney McLaughlin following on her heels. However, in the 8th track, Sprunger was leading till the 300m-mark. McLaughlin and Muhammad gained their grounds to outpace Sprunger. In the last 100m, McLaughlin was in excellent form to lead the pack with Muhammad and Little on her heels.
McLaughlin just couldn’t believe at what had just happened! She was in total disbelief to have beaten the World Record holder clocking the Season’s Best of 52.85s. Little was second with a time of 53.86s followed by Muhammad in 54.13s. It was 1-2-3 for the Americans. McLaughlin is young and is in top form. The race was the ‘Shock of the Evening’ for Delilah Muhammad to lose the race to McLaughlin.
JOSHUA CHEPTEGEI: 5000m
The African nations are producing distance runners in dozens. The competition has become fierce than before. No single athlete is able to dominate respective races, because of the abundance of talent from multiple African nations. The 5000m race had all the big names like Khejelcha, Barega, Gebrhiwet, Cheptegei, Bekele, Mburu, Chelimo and others. However, it was the confidence of Cheptegei, which triumphed over the talented bunch like a true champion.
Right from the word go, the Ugandan Cheptegei placed himself behind the two pacers, while others stuck to their own tactics. With the pacers having done their job, Cheptegei maintained his momentum to lead the race in great style. With three laps to go, Cheptegei was almost 15 to 20m ahead of the bunch. As he was nearing the finish line, he maintained his pace to increase the lead even further. Barega, Khejelcha, Gebrhiwet and Bekele tried their best to narrow the gap, but it was too late. Cheptegei won the race clocking his Personal Best of 12:57.41, followed by Gebrhiwet in 12:58.15 with Kimeli in third place clocking 12:59.05.
SALWA EID NASER: 400m
Salwa Eid Naser from Bahrain has dominated the women’s 400m discipline throughout this season. She has consistently ruled the field with her super-judged race one after another triumphing over others. She is simply above the rest. She won her first Diamond League race at the Shanghai meet clocking the Season’s Best of 50.65s on the 18th of May 2019. Then she clipped her own timing in Rome clocking 50.26s. She went onto further better her own time clocking 50.13s at the Rabat meet.
On the 5th of July 2019 at Laussane, Naser ran a sub-50s race to equal the Meet Record by clocking 49.17s. It was also her Season’s Best. The women’s 400m World Record of 47.60s is held by East Germany’s Marita Koch. Naser has to really work hard to reach a sub-48s to erase the World Record. At the Zurich meet, Naser gained her fluid pace at 100m and by 200m was ahead of the rest of the field. Naser’s domination was evident with the 6 to 7 metres’ gap she left at the finishing line clocking 50.24s to lift the cash prize of $50,000 and the coveted Diamond League trophy.