Meseret Defar, Usain Bolt and Shara Proctor among winners at Weltklasse Zürich as 16 Diamond League titles claimed
It was an evening of many highly-anticipated clashes and the first of two finals in the 2013 IAAF Diamond League series didn’t disappoint, with 16 Diamond League titles claimed at the Weltklasse Zürich meet on Thursday.
Usain Bolt might have been made to work for his victory but a win is a win and although he was never in contention for the overall Diamond League title his 9.90 clocking was enough to see off his Jamaican team-mate Nickel Ashmeade and world 100m silver medallist Justin Gatlin of the US.
Overcoming a poor start, the sprint superstar, who won triple gold at the World Championships in Moscow, managed to make his way through the field to lead home eight athletes, all of whom ran sub-10.10.
Gatlin’s third place finish cemented his Diamond Race victory as Britain’s Adam Gemili, who became only the second ever Brit to run sub-20 seconds over 200m in Moscow, clocked 10.06 for eighth, a time just 0.01 off his personal best.
It was another race and another win for Bolt’s team-mate Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in the 200m as she secured victory thanks to a 22.40 clocking and with it the overall Diamond Race. Smooth round the bend, the double world champion stormed the home straight to again cross the line clear ahead of double world silver medallist Murielle Ahouré who clocked 22.66.
Defar wins 5000m head-to-head
Meseret Defar (pictured) extended her 5000m head-to-head record over fellow Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba to 15-11, as the two world champions met for a rare clash.
The pair avoided each other at the World Championships in Moscow meaning their match-up in Zurich was even more eagerly awaited and it was world 5000m champion Defar that made the most of her kick. Following world 10,000m champion Dibaba at the bell, Defar remained strong as her compatriot kicked earlier on, saving her surge for 80m to go when she came around Dibaba to storm down the home straight and take the win clear to secure not only victory on the night but the overall Diamond Race victory too.
A time of 14:32.83 saw Defar cross almost two seconds clear, with Dibaba clocking 14:34.82m. The final lap was timed at 58.48 but impressively Defar will have gone slightly quicker that that still as she was behind Dibaba at the bell. The pair will next battle it out over a half-marathon distance as they run the Great North Run in September.
Another victory for Sum
Eunice Sum added the Diamond Race title to her 800m World Championships crown as the Kenyan clocked 1:58.82 for the win ahead of Russia’s world silver medallist Mariya Savinova with 1:58.93. Sum’s victory in Moscow might have come as a surprise but she continued her winning ways to again prove her dominance in Moscow was no fluke.
In the men’s non-Diamond League 800m USA’s Nick Symmonds ran just one second slower than his silver medal-winning time in Moscow for the win in Zurich, his 1:43.56 enough to put him ahead of Poland’s Marcin Lewandowski with a 1:43.79 personal best. Britain’s Michael Rimmer and Andrew Osagie ran 1:45.34 and 1:45.80 for sixth and seventh respectively.
Merritt, Souleiman and Kipruto among Diamond Race winners
There was another highly-anticipated head-to-head in the men’s 400m as world champion LaShawn Merritt took on Olympic champ Kirani James. The pair looked pretty evenly matched too, running stride for stride before Merritt remembered his kick and pulled away on the home straight, clocking 44.13 to James’ 44.32 to also win the Diamond Race. Pavel Maslák followed them home in 44.91.
World 800m bronze medallist Ayanleh Souleiman was another athlete to already have a Diamond Race wrapped up ahead of Zurich action. His 1500m consistency had paid off and he demonstrated more of the same in the final race of the series clocking 3:31.64 for second behind Silas Kiplagat with 3:30.97.
Hillary Yego won the final Diamond League event of the evening, the 3000m steeplechase, thanks to a 8:08.03 clocking. But it was world silver medallist Conseslus Kipruto who secured the Diamond Race with his third place finish in 8:10.76.
Oliver and Hejnová reign supreme
World champion David Oliver continued his winning ways in the 110m hurdles, his 13.12 enough to see him take the win and with it the Diamond Race victory. The race seemed to be a battle between Oliver and Olympic champion Aries Merritt, but a clash with the seventh hurdle set Merritt back and their US team-mate Ryan Wilson came through to finish strongly and cross the line second with 13.24 ahead of Jason Richardson in 13.26 for a US top three. Merritt faded to sixth with 13.34 while Britain’s William Sharman clocked 13.42 for eighth.
With the diamond trophy secured, the question was how fast would 400m hurdles world champion Zuzana Hejnová go? The answer – 53.32 for another clear win, with Kaliese Spencer of Jamaica second thanks to a 54.22 season’s best. Britain’s Meghan Beesley clocked 55.96 for seventh ahead of world silver medallist Dalilah Muhammad of the US with 56.15.
Proctor beats Worlds medallists for DL title
Britain’s Shara Proctor saw off all three World Championship medallists to claim victory in the long jump and with it the overall Diamond League title. Olympic and world champion Brittney Reese managed a best of 6.37m for seventh while Blessing Okagbare jumped 6.76m for second and Ivana Spanovic 6.73m for third to repeat the places they managed in Moscow.
It was in Switzerland back at the beginning of July that the now world champion Bohdan Bondarenko cleared the best height in 19 years – 2.41m – a height he equalled when winning in Moscow. A world record attempt in Zurich was always going to be on the cards and the Ukrainian didn’t disappoint, clearing 2.33m for the win after just two first time clearances all evening before going on to attempt 2.46m. Unlike his other previous attempts he didn’t look close however, knocking the bar off with his hand, and one attempt was enough, but his victory on countback was also enough for the overall Diamond League win.
A season’s best of 4.79m from Germany’s Silke Spiegelburg, who finished fourth in Moscow but won at the last Diamond League meet in Stockholm, saw her claim another of the 16 Diamond League titles on offer. The pole vault competition had seen Olympic champion Jenn Suhr exit early on with a no mark after pulling out at 4.62m. Brazil’s Fabiana Murer cleared 4.72m for second on countback ahead of Olympic silver medallist Yarisley Silva, who claimed bronze in Moscow.
Surprise wins for Kanter and Visser
There were a couple of surprise wins early on in the evening’s action as world bronze medallist Gerd Kanter of Estonia threw a season’s best of 67.02m in the discus to see him ahead of three-time world champion Robert Harting of Germany with 66.83m. Poland’s world silver medallist Piotr Malachowski would have had the diamond trophy wrapped up had he finished in the top two, but a best of 63.70m for seventh was all he could manage, leaving Kanter to claim the trophy.
Another athlete to have already secured his diamond trophy before Thursday’s event was Russia’s world champion Aleksandr Menkov. All he needed to do was line up, and that he did, with his best jump of 7.94m only enough for seventh. It was a personal best 8.32m from Zarck Visser that won on the night as South African athletes filled the top two spots - Godfrey Khotso Mokoena second with 8.11m ahead of world bronze medallist Luis Rivera of Mexico with 8.09m. Britain’s Chris Tomlinson leapt a best of 7.96m for fourth.
Joining Menkov as a pre-Zurich winner was world javelin champion Christina Obergföll of Germany who had also already done enough to secure the Diamond trophy. She was looking to win her third consecutive Weltklasse Zürich event, but former world champion Mariya Abakumova of Russia put a stop to that, adding more than five metres to the best of 63.36m that Obergföll could manage for second. A best of 68.94m saw Abakumova win on the night, with Obergföll’s compatriot Linda Stahl third with 63.24m.
Adams continues dominance to claim first Diamond trophy of 2013
Valerie Adams was the first athlete to claim a Diamond trophy in 2013, the four-time world shot put champion securing victory in style with a best of 20.98m on Wednesday evening. The mark, which also saw Adams record a world lead, meeting record and Oceania indoor record, was part of another consistent series of strong throws from the Olympic champ. The second-round throw added one centimetre to her mark recorded in the first round and Adams went on to follow a foul in the third round with 20.66m, 20.76m and 20.42m.
Adams was the only athlete to better the 20m mark in the competition, and incidentally all her legal throws were bigger than any other athlete has managed this year. Russia’s London 2012 silver medallist Yevgeniya Kolodko recorded an indoor best of 19.97m to finish just over a metre behind winner Adams, while Michelle Carter of the US finished third with a best of 19.88m.
Also competing at Zurich Main Station in a shot showcase the day before the main meeting, World Championships silver medallist Ryan Whiting of the US secured his spot at the top of the men’s Diamond event with a best throw of 22.03m for victory. He now need only line up in the final in Brussels on September 6 to claim overall victory.
Two-time World champion David Storl of Germany finished second with 21.19m while Canada’s World bronze medallist Dylan Armstrong finished third with 21.19m.
Weltklasse Zürich was the first of two finals in the IAAF Diamond League, with the series coming to an end in Brussels next week. Half of the Diamond League winners have already been decided – each of them scooping $40,000 and a Diamond trophy – while the remaining winners will be crowned in the Belgian capital on September 6.
100m: Justin Gatlin (USA)
400m: LaShawn Merritt (USA)
1500m: Ayanleh Souleiman (DJI)
3000m steeplechase: Conseslus Kipruto (KEN)
110m hurdles: David Oliver (USA)
High jump: Bohdan Bondarenko (UKR)
Long jump: Aleksandr Menkov (RUS)
Discus: Gerd Kanter (EST)
200m: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (JAM)
800m: Eunice Sum (KEN)
5000m: Meseret Defar (ETH)
400m hurdles: Zuzana Hejnová (CZE)
Pole vault: Silke Spiegelburg (GER)
Long jump: Shara Proctor (GBR)
Shot: Valerie Adams (NZL)
Javelin: Christina Obergfoll (GER)
» For full results from Zurich click here