The last Diamond League meet of the season did not fall short of expectations. The world’s best athletes toed the line in Zurich looking to be crowned Diamond League champion and win $30,000 and an auto-qualifying spot to the 2022 World Championships in Eugene.
In the men’s 100m, Andre De Grasse equalled his personal best time of 9.89 to finish second in the final. It was once again U.S. sprinter Fred Kerley who ousted him for the Diamond League title by 0.02 of a second (9.87). De Grasse had a slower start compared to Kerley and Ronnie Baker, who led for 80 metres of the race, but finished third (9.91).
The night began with the women’s and men’s 400m. In both races, it came down to a photo finish to determine the winner. Quanera Hayes of the U.S. dipped at the line to get the auto-qualifier to worlds in 49.88 over silver medallist Mariliedy Paulino (49.96). Michael Cherry of the U.S. won his fourth consecutive race since the Tokyo Olympics, dipping his head at the line ahead of the three-time Olympic 400m medallist, Kirani James, in 44.41.
In the 3,000m steeplechase, both the men’s and women’s fields disregarded the pacemakers and settled into a tactical race. Hyvin Kiyeng had the lead going into the final water jump, but stumbled, giving Kenya’s Norah Jeruto the win in 9:07.43. Jeruto did not qualify for the Olympics despite running the world’s fast time earlier this year of 8:53. U.S. Olympic silver medallist Courtney Frerichs was third (9:08.59). The men’s race featured a strong field but was tactical early on. Olympic champion Soufiane El Bakkali waited for the last lap to make his move, but it was a little too late, as Benjamin Kigen sprinted across the line to take the Diamond League title (8:17.45).
The women’s 100m hurdles produced two national records between two unlikely race favourites. After missing out on a medal in Tokyo, Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan won the race in 12.42 seconds. Her time set an African and Nigerian national record. Heptathlete Nadine Visser finished second, setting a new Dutch national record of 12.51. Tokyo bronze medallist Megan Tapper was third (12.55). In the men’s 110m hurdles, the Olympic champion Hansle Parchment was beaten by American Devon Allen (13.06). Allen was fourth in Tokyo, and tonight he ran his season’s best time to win the Diamond League title in a photo finish.
The crowd in Zurich got a rematch of the Olympic 1,500m final as Sifan Hassan and Faith Kipyegon jostled for the elusive title of Diamond League champion. Hassan sat on Kipyegon for most of the race, until 300m to go. The two began to separate from the rest of the field, duelling it out over the last 100m. Hassan challenged Kipyegon to the finish, but couldn’t hold off the Olympic champion, and Kipyegon won the race in 3:58.33. American Josette Norris continued her fantastic season, finishing third in 4:00.41.
Four of the five fastest middle-distance runners in the world were in the men’s 1,500m final. Stewart McSweyn did what he does best by leading the race at a fast pace early on. New Olympic record holder Jakob Ingebrigtsen sat on McSweyn through 1,100m but was thrown off as his rival Timothy Cheruiyot of Kenya sprinted towards the lead, holding off the Olympic champion for first place (3:31.34). Cheruiyot just came off of a one-week break of competition due to a family emergency. Ingebrigtsen finished second (3:31.45) and McSweyn third (3:32.14). Olli Hoare of Australia was fourth, setting a new personal best of 3:32.66.
Every time Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah touches the track, she creates magic. Tonight, she shattered the meet record in 10.65 seconds. It is only a matter of time until she breaks the women’s 100m world record of 10.49. World 200m champion Dina Asher-Smith finished second in the 100m in a season’s best time of 10.87.
Canadian middle-distance runner Marco Arop represented Canada in the men’s 800m. Arop was jostling for position early against his competitors, but couldn’t find a position along the inside rail, which ultimately tired him out for the final kick. Arop finished fourth in 1:45.23 behind Olympic gold and silver medallists Emmanuel Korir and Ferguson Rotich. Bronze medallist from Rio 2016, Clayton Murphy, returned to the podium, finishing third in 1:45.21.
U20 world champion Christine Mboma broke her own world junior record to win the women’s 200m. Her time of 21.78 broke the African and national record of Namibia. Mboma began her career as a 400m runner, but had to switch her event due to the DSD rules set by World Athletics. 100m bronze medallist Shericka Jackson finished second in the 200, setting a new personal best of 21.81. Asher-Smith was third (22.19).
The last event on track had two Canadian athletes vying for the title. De Grasse ran his second-fastest time ever of 19.72, but it wasn’t enough to hold off the U.S. 200m star Kenny Bednarek (who was second to De Grasse in Tokyo), as he ran under 20 seconds for the eleventh time this season in 19.70. De Grasse finished in second place ahead of Kerley, who beat him over 100m earlier this evening. Canada’s Aaron Brown was fourth in 20.13.