As the diamond League season finally comes to a close this week (7th – 8th), it suddenly dawns on fans that the track season is coming to an end and we will be going to miss track action for a very long time as track athletes go on a long break. It could be the last chance for most of the big stars to run the season’s world-leading times for this year.
However, the main focus will be to see the athletes that will walk away with diamond League trophies and wild cards to participate in the world athletics championships next year in Budapest.
It won’t matter the number of points one has coming into the final. A win secures the diamond league trophy.
As the world’s best of the best meet, the big names to watch in the sprints include Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Shericka Jackson, and Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan in the women’s events; and Noah Lyles and Alison Dos Santos in the men’s events.
Organizers of most high-level track and field events usually put the most anticipated race as the last on their event schedule. For the Zurich Diamond League event, the men’s 200m race will be the last event on the last day. All eyes will be on Noah Lyles who is in great form currently.
The only person Fraser-Pryce has lost to in the women’s 100m race this year is Jackson. She definitely will want to amend that at the final of the event on Thursday.
Dos Santos has been so dominant this year in the men’s 400m hurdles event and will be going into the final with 48 points, having won all the six diamond league races he ran. He will be hoping to end the year undefeated.
Middle and Long Distances
Interestingly, USA’s Athing Mu will not be in the final of the women’s 800m final in Zurich and leaves the race open amongst Keely Hodgkinson of Great Britain, Mary Moraa of Kenya, Ajee Wilson of the USA and others.
Interesting to watch in the men’s 800m is the world 1500m champion, Jake Wightman who is already qualified to compete in the final of both the 800m and 1500m races. This happens after he surprised the 800m specialists that included Canada’s Marco Arop and Kenya’s world champion, Emmanuel Korir at the Brussels Diamond League last week.
The man to beat in the men’s 1500m race will definitely be Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen who has been having a great year having ran a world-leading time of 3:29.05 in Lausanne. The World and Olympic champion still lack a diamond league trophy on his impressive resume and Zurich will be an opportune moment for him to achieve this.
While Hirut Meshesha has the highest points coming into the women’s 1500m final, the pre-race favorites are Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon and Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay who only raced in half the number of diamond league races that Meshesha did this year and earned enough points to be in the final. Kipyegon will be seeking to win a third diamond league trophy in this event.
The name of Tsegay is also in the women’s 5000m final that happens on the first day of the meeting. She will be going for the trophy against Kenya’s Margaret Chelimo and Beatrice Chebet, Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands, USA’s Alicia Monson, and three of her compatriots; Ejgayehu Taye, Fantu Worku, and Hawi Feysa, among others. The 5000m in Zurich takes place on a temporary track on the streets of the city center and the race qualifies to be classified as a road race.
Fresh from running the recent world-leading time of 12:45.71 which is the sixth in the world’s all-time list, Kenya’s Jacob Krop will be the favorite to take the men’s 5000m trophy on Wednesday. The Kenyan will face stiff competition, especially from the two runners who finished just behind him in Brussels. USA’s Grant Fisher will still be under the excitement of having just run a new American record of 12:46.96 and hoping to add a trophy to that success. Nicholas Kimeli had the world-leading time before Krop took it and could be plotting revenge.
In the 3000m steeplechase event, Soufiane El Bakkali is the clear favorite to win the men’s race in the absence of Ethiopia’s Lemecha Girma.
The new crop of Kenya’s stars in the women’s steeplechase race; Jackline Chepkoech and Faith Cherotich will be hoping to establish their names against some of the seasoned runners like Winfred Yavi of Bahrain, Werkuha Getachew of Ethiopia and Emma Coburn of the USA, among others in the women’s 3000m steeplechase race.