He who laughs the last laughs the best.
This seemed to have been the case in Zurich. It didn’t matter the number of Diamond League points the runners were coming with into the final. It was, that whoever crossed the finish line first got the trophy.
The women’s 400m trophy went out to Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic after he ran a new national record, world-leading, and personal best time of 48.99 to emerge victorious. Kirani James took the trophy in the men’s race.
The 100m races went out to the pre-race favorites. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce got sweet revenge on Shericka Jackson who had beaten her in the previous Diamond League race as she ran an amazing 10.65 that equaled the meeting record to win the women’s race. Trayvon Bromell won the men’s race in 9.94.
Moments later after suffering the defeat in the women’s 100m event, Jackson came back and won the trophy in the 200m event in 21.80.
As expected, Noah Lyles dominated the men’s 200m race after running a new meeting record of 19.52 and breaking the previous one that was set by Usain Bolt. Could this be a message to the legendary runner that his world record will be the next to go down?
Tobi Amusan also had a great day here. What else could an athlete ask for in a year more than what she has achieved? A world record, a world title, and a diamond league trophy finally went to the Nigerian athlete as she ended the season with an amazing meeting record time of 12.29 in the 100m Hurdles.
Kenyans dominated the distance events in Zurich as they appeared to be shifting their dominance from the steeplechase event given that the women’s 3000m steeplechase trophy on the second day went to Ethiopia’s Werkuha Getachew.
USA’s Emma Coburn was at the lead with 4 laps to go, then Wilfred Yavi took the lead with 3 to go. A pack of seven quickly reduced to three coming into the bell as Yavi increased the pace. She and Getachew were clear of the rest at the last water jump, but Yavi lost momentum at the last barrier and Gethachew seized the opportunity to overtake and go for the win running 9:03.57 against Yavi’s 9:04.47. Kenya’s youngster, Faith Cherotich finished 3rd in 9:06.14.
The men’s steeplechase race went to Morroco. Perhaps owing to the great confidence he had in himself, Soufiane El Bakkali brought the rear in the first stages of the men’s 3000m steeplechase race. But, after the 2000m mark, he was already shoulder to shoulder at the front with Kenya’s Amos Serem. He then began to pull ahead as they came into the bell, staying clear ahead of the rest. As Ethiopia’s Getnet Wale and Kenya’s Abraham Kibiwot fought hard for the second position, El Bakkali was already celebrating ahead of them as he crossed the finish line in 8:07.67. Wale edged Kibiwot in 8:08.56 against 8:08.61.
The pacesetter in the women’s 1500m race was well ahead of the group, and Faith Kipyegon appeared to be controlling the runners some meters behind the pacer. At some point, Laura Muir made a move as though to try and overtake, but Kipyegon reacted and maintained her lead on the inside lane.
Kipyegon was definitely counting on her strong finishing kick in the last 150m. Her time came and no one in the field could match her speed on the home straight as she went for the win in 4:00.44
Despite studying his moves and staying just behind Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen, Kenya’s Timothy Cheruiyot would watch helplessly as the gap between him and Ingebrigtsen stretched on the home straight. In another world-leading time, Ingebrigtsen won the diamond league trophy –the only major trophy that was missing in his cabinet- in 3:29.02. Cheruiyot followed in 3:30.27 ahead of Oliver Hoare of Australia who ran 3:30.59.
There was another dominance by Kenyans on the second day in the 800m event as Mary Moraa and Emmanuel Korir won the women’s and men’s races respectively. Korir ran a new world-leading time of 1:43.26 ahead of Canada’s Marco Arop who was a close second in 1:43.38. Jake Wightman who had the option to run in the 1500m event finished 3rd in 1:44.10.
The first day of the Diamond League final had been a great one for Kenya as Beatrice Chebet and Nicholas Kimeli had won their respective 5000m races.
As the two days of the Diamond League final came to an end, it was not only great news for the athletes who won the trophies, but also for the nations where they come from, given that the winners here will get wild cards and an extra entry for athletes from their countries at the next World championships in Budapest.