Highlights from the 2021 Wanda Diamond League
After the first six meetings, which took place between May and July, the 2021 Wanda Diamond League series continued with events in Gateshead, Eugene, Lausanne, Paris and Brussels, before the final in Zurich in September.
In the second of a two-part series, we look back at the highlights of a memorable Wanda Diamond League season.
Gateshead, 13 July
Trayvon Bromell, 100m victor at the US Olympic Trials the previous month, won in 9.98.
Jamaica’s Rio 2016 100m and 200m champion Elaine Thompson-Herah earned a comfortable victory over the longer distance, clocking 22.43.
Mohamed Katir clocked a Spanish record of 7:27.64 as he held off Australia’s Stewart McSweyn in the men’s 3000m.
Portugal’s two-time world triple jump silver medallist Pedro Pichardo won with a final-round effort of 17.50m.
Eugene, 21 August
Double Olympic 100m champion Elaine Thompson-Herah ran a Jamaican and Diamond League record of 10.54, bolstering her position as the second-fastest women ever behind the late Florence Griffith-Joyner of the United States, who ran 10.49 in 1988.
Thompson-Herah, whose previous best was the 10.61 she set in retaining her Olympic 100m title, beat a field including Jamaica’s respective Olympic silver and bronze medallists, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson.
Fraser-Pryce, the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 gold medallist, was second in 10.73, with Jackson third in 10.76, equalling her personal best.
Norway’s 20-year-old Olympic 1500m champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen won the concluding Bowerman Mile in 3:47.24 to become the second athlete of the day to set a national and Diamond League record.
World No.1 Norah Jeruto, who missed the Olympics as she sought a transfer of allegiance from her native Kenya to Kazakhstan, beat a women’s 3000m steeplechase field including Uganda’s Tokyo 2020 gold medallist Peruth Chemutai with a winning run of 8:53.65, putting her third on the all-time list.
Three home Olympic champions earned victories. Ryan Crouser won the men's shot put with 23.15m, just 22cm shy of his June world record in Eugene. Nineteen-year-old Athing Mu dominated the women’s 800m in a personal best of 1:55.04, the eighth-fastest of all time, and Katie Nageotte won the women’s pole vault with 4.82m.
Home world champion Noah Lyles won the 200m in 19.52, just 0.02 off his best, which stood as the fastest time in 2021.
Lausanne, 26 August
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce defeated her Jamaican rival Elaine Thompson-Herah to win the women’s 100m in a personal best of 10.60 and move to third on the all-time list on a night when wind and rain blew several Olympic champions off course.
Thompson-Herah finished second behind her 34-year-old compatriot, despite clocking 10.64 with the benefit of a strong but legal following wind of 1.7m/s.
Olympic triple jump champion and world record-holder Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela won with a Diamond League record of 15.56m.
Another Tokyo winner, Ryan Crouser of the United States, earned his 22nd successive shot put victory with a meeting record of 22.81m, while Norway’s 20-year-old Olympic 1500m champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen won the men’s 3000m in 7:33.06.
Tokyo 2020 winners Mondo Duplantis and Hansle Parchment suffered rare defeats in the men’s pole vault and 110m hurdles respectively, with honours going to Olympic silver medallist Chris Nilsen and Devon Allen, both of the United States.
Paris, 28 August
Olympic champions Mondo Duplantis, Elaine Thompson-Herah and Hansle Parchment, all beaten in Lausanne two days earlier, earned emphatic victories.
Duplantis won the pole vault with a first-time clearance of 5.96m before clearing 6.01m. Thompson-Herah, running her third Diamond League 100m in the space of eight days, won in 10.72, and fellow Jamaican Parchment, eighth in the Lausanne 110m hurdles, clocked a season’s best of 13.03.
Rio 2016 800m silver medallist Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi won the women’s 3000m in a national and meeting record of 8:19.08 – the sixth-fastest time in history.
Brussels, 3 September
Mondo Duplantis, Sifan Hassan and Michael Cherry broke meeting records in the penultimate Wanda Diamond League meeting of the season.
Tokyo 2020 champion Duplantis won the men’s pole vault with a first-time clearance of 5.91m before bettering his meeting record of 6.00m by going over 6.05m at his third attempt.
Hassan, the Olympic 5000m and 10,000m champion, won the mile by more than six seconds, breaking Faith Kipyegon’s meeting record with 4:14.74 for the fifth-fastest performance in history.
Cherry, who was beaten to 400m bronze by just 0.02 in Tokyo, clocked a lifetime best of 44.03 to take 0.03 off Michael Johnson’s meeting record from 1998.
Eighteen-year-old Christine Mboma of Namibia won the women’s 200m in 21.84 on her Diamond League debut.
Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba won the women’s 5000m in a national record of 14:25.34.
Zurich, 8-9 September
Anzhelika Sidorova became only the third woman to clear 5.00m outdoors as she won the Diamond League pole vault title with a clearance of 5.01m.
The performance by the authorised neutral athlete, who won the 2019 world title and took silver at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, had only been bettered outdoors by Russia’s Yelena Isinbayeva, who set the world record of 5.06m in the same Letzigrund Stadium 12 years earlier.
It puts Sidorova third on the overall list of women pole vaulters, behind Isinbayeva’s outdoor mark and the 5.03m cleared indoors by London 2012 Olympic champion Jenn Suhr of the United States.
Sidorova’s was the standout performance of a Weltklasse meeting which determined the 25 final Diamond Trophy winners – each earning a $30,000 prize and a wildcard entry to next year’s World Athletics Championships in Eugene – following the previous day’s programme of seven finals at the Sechselautenplatz.
Olympic men’s pole vault champion Mondo Duplantis had three good but unsuccessful attempts to raise his world record to 6.19m having won the Diamond League title with a meeting record of 5.98m which he soon raised to 6.06m.
Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon and Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands, respective Olympic and world 1500m champions, battled all down the final straight before the former prevailed in a scintillating women’s 1500m final in 3:58.33, with Hassan clocking 3:58.55.
In the men’s 1500m final a similarly pulsating event saw Kenya’s world champion Tim Cheruiyot earn a measure of recompense for his Olympic defeat by Jakob Ingebrigtsen as he won by half a stride in 3:31.37, with the 20-year-old Norwegian clocking 3:31.45.
Jamaica’s double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah won the women’s 100m in a meeting record of 10.65, with second place going to Britain’s world 200m champion Dina Asher-Smith, whose Olympic ambitions had been undermined by an untimely hamstring injury, in a season’s best of 10.87.
Namibia’s 18-year-old Christine Mboma, who took Olympic 200m silver behind Thompson-Herah in a world U20 record of 21.81, lowered that mark to 21.77, an African record, in earning her first Diamond Trophy.
Tokyo 2020 silver medallist Fred Kerley won the men’s 100m in 9.87, with Canada’s Olympic 200m champion Andre De Grasse second in 9.89, equalling his personal best.
De Grasse finished ahead of Kerley in the men’s 200m, clocking 19.72 to the US sprinter's 19.83, but both were beaten by Kenny Bednarek, the Olympic 200m silver medallist, who clocked 19.70.
Olympic champion and world record-holder Karsten Warholm successfully defended his 400m hurdles Diamond League title in 47.35, with Brazil’s Olympic bronze medallist Alison Dos Santos second in 47.81.
Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy, who shared the Olympic men's high jump title with Mutaz Barshim of Qatar, ended his season on a high as he won with a 2.34m clearance.
The women’s Olympic triple jump champion, Yulimar Rojas, also produced a winning flourish with a best effort of 15.48m.
Britain’s 19-year-old Olympic 800m silver medallist Keely Hodgkinson won the Diamond League title in 1:57.98.
Mike Rowbottom for World Athletics