A look ahead to Thursday’s Weltklasse Diamond League action at the Letzigrund Stadium
Top-class athletics returns to Zurich’s Letzigrund Stadium on Thursday evening with Weltklasse Zürich taking place less than two weeks after the European Championships came to an end.
Many newly-crowned European champions – together with 13 world leaders, 11 reigning world champions and 10 reigning Olympic champions – will be in action at this Diamond League meeting, which is the first of two finals with Brussels to come on September 5.
The Zurich leg of the Diamond League series has been called the one-day Olympics such is the depth of talent always in the fields and this year’s edition appears to be no different.
Stakes will be as high as double points are available in the Diamond Race – eight points for each winner of a Diamond Race event, four points to the athlete placing second and two points to the athlete placing third.
With women’s 100m Diamond Race leader Tori Bowie missing through injury, the event is wide open and double European sprint champion Dafne Schippers will be hoping to continue her winning ways on the Letzigrund Stadium track.
The Dutch heptathlete’s decision to focus on the sprints at the Euros paid off as she claimed victory in both the 100m and 200m, but at Weltklasse she’ll be up against another strong field featuring Jamaicans Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Kerron Stewart, Olympic 200m champion Allyson Felix, Britain’s European 100m bronze medallist Ashleigh Nelson, double Commonwealth champion Blessing Okagbare, double world silver medallist Murielle Ahouré, France’s seven-time European medallist Myriam Soumaré and home favourite Mujinga Kambundji, who set two national 100m records and a Swiss under-23 200m record at the European Championships.
Kambundji’s compatriot Kariem Hussein will also again be looking to impress in-front of a home crowd fresh from his European 400m hurdles victory and will face a field including two-time Olympic gold medallist Felix Sanchez and world champion Jehue Gordon.
After his 600m win in Birmingham, David Rudisha will be back in his main event and hoping to show he is close to his best again after a late start to his season due to injury. He’ll face a tough task, though, as he takes on this year’s world No.1 Nijel Amos, plus world champion Mohammed Aman and European champion Adam Kszczott.
Jennifer Simpson will be aiming to repeat her winning tactics from Stockholm in the women’s 1500m as she faces the likes of world leader and European champion Sifan Hassan, world champion Abeba Aregawi, world and Commonwealth 800m champion Eunice Sum and world bronze medallist Hellen Obiri, while the men’s 5000m field has 11 sub-13 runners, including world No.1 Mukhtar Edris, plus Britain’s double European medallist Andy Vernon.
The men’s 200m line-up features four sub-20 performers, including Christophe Lemaitre and Nickel Ashmeade, plus Britain’s James Ellington. Britain’s European 400m champion Martyn Rooney goes up against world champion LaShawn Merritt and this year’s world No.3 Isaac Makwala in the one-lap event.
Sprint hurdler Queen Harrison will be hoping to continue her winning form from Birmingham as she takes on Olympic champion Sally Pearson, world champion Brianna Rollins and Britain’s European champion Tiffany Porter.
In the field, Sandra Perkovic will seek to continue her discus dominance, while David Storl will look to continue his winning ways in the shot.
Fresh from her 1.96m British outdoor record, Isobel Pooley takes on the likes of Ruth Beitia and Blanka Vlasic in the high jump, while Fabiana Murer and Jenn Suhr go in the pole vault and Julius Yego, Ihab Abdelrahman and Antti Ruuskanen are among those to contest the javelin.
Usain Bolt might have withdrawn from the meeting having decided to end his season early, but that doesn’t mean the men’s 100m – not a Diamond League event on this occasion – lacks quality. Britain’s newly-crowned European champions Adam Gemili and James Dasaolu are set to line up alongside four of the top-ten sprinters of all time – Nesta Carter, Richard Thompson, Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay. Britain’s Chijindu Ujah is among those to race the ‘B’ 100m.
» A timetable and startlists can be found here