Previews06 Sep 2022

Top track clashes across the board as athletes target trophies in Zurich


Jasmine Camacho-Quinn and Tobi Amusan at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Stockholm (© Getty Images)

The world’s greatest athletes will aim to earn a final piece of hardware this season when the Letzigrund Stadium hosts the second day of the Wanda Diamond League final in Zurich on Thursday (8).

The first day of Weltklasse Zurich action will see six Diamond League champions crowned on Sechselautenplatz before the remaining 26 titles are decided on the second day of competition. As well as Diamond trophies and top $30,000 prizes, there are also wildcard entries to the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23 to be won.

With so much to look forward to, here we take a look ahead to Thursday’s stadium track action, with the field events previewed here. The first part of our preview, focusing on Wednesday’s street events on Sechselautenplatz, is here.

Times stated are local time (CEST) on Thursday and are subject to change.


Dominican duo duel over one lap

Women’s 400m, 7:04pm

The past two Diamond League 400m races have been won by athletes from the Dominican Republic; world and Olympic silver medallist Marileidy Paulino won in Lausanne with 49.87, then teammate Fiordaliza Cofil won in Brussels with a PB of 49.80.

The two women, who formed part of the Dominican Republic’s triumphant mixed 4x400m team at the World Championships, will now line up as the favourites in Zurich, where they’ll also face world bronze medallist Sada Williams, European silver medallist Natalia Kaczmarek and Jamaica’s world and Olympic finalist Candice McLeod.

James eyes third Diamond Trophy

Men’s 400m, 7:15pm

Eleven years have passed since Kirani James won his first Diamond Trophy. It has been seven years since the Grenadian 400m runner earned his second one. But the multiple world and Olympic medallist could land his third Diamond Trophy with victory in Zurich.

James, who turned 30 last week, has won four of his seven races this year. The only man to have beaten him is world champion Michael Norman, who won’t be in Zurich. That’s not to say James will have it easy, though. World bronze medallist and European champion Matt Hudson-Smith is also entered, as are US duo Bryce Deadmon and Vernon Norwood.

Clash of the global champions

Women’s 100m hurdles, 7:25pm

Tobi Amusan produced one of the biggest surprises of the World Championships when she sped to a world record of 12.12 in the semifinals of the women’s 100m hurdles, following it with a wind-assisted 12.06 in the final to win gold. The Nigerian went on to win the Commonwealth title in a Games record of 12.30.

Since taking bronze at the World Championships, though, Jasmine Camacho-Quinn has been undefeated. The Olympic champion won in Stockholm, Silesia, Lausanne and Brussels, setting meeting records at the three most recent meetings, and beating Amusan in Lausanne.

The duo will clash again in Zurich, along with Olympic silver medallist Kendra Harrison, world silver medallist Britany Anderson, world indoor silver medallist Devynne Charlton and 2019 world champion Nia Ali.

Teenager Chepkoech takes on talented trio

Women’s 3000m steeplechase, 7:33pm

Three women in the steeplechase field have broken nine minutes this year, but the woman of the moment is Jackline Chepkoech.

The 18-year-old Kenyan missed out on making the World Championships final, but rebounded well to win the Commonwealth title in 9:15.68, a PB which she then reduced to 9:09.72 in Monaco five days later. More recently, the 2021 world U20 champion smashed her PB when winning in Brussels with 9:02.43, making her the second-fastest U20 athlete in history for the steeplechase.

Jackline Chepkoech wins the 3000m steeplechase at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Brussels

Jackline Chepkoech wins the 3000m steeplechase at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Brussels (© AFP / Getty Images)

World silver medallist Werkuha Getachew finished second in Brussels and will be out for revenge. World bronze medallist Mekides Abebe and Paris Diamond League winner Winfred Yavi are the other women in the field to have broken nine minutes this year, so will most likely be Chepkoech’s toughest opponents.

Broadbell the man to beat

Men’s 110m hurdles, 7:52pm

Two-time world champion Grant Holloway and Olympic champion Hansle Parchment will square off in the 110m hurdles in Zurich, but Jamaica’s Rasheed Broadbell could perhaps be the biggest danger.

The 22-year-old missed the World Championships final by just 0.01, but since then has been unbeaten, winning at the Commonwealth Games, at the Continental Tour Gold meeting in Szekesfehervar (beating Holloway), at the Diamond League meeting in Lausanne (beating Holloway and Parchment) where he set a PB of 12.99, and then in Luzern (beating Parchment).

World silver medallist Trey Cunningham, who finished ahead of Holloway and Parchment in Lausanne, will also be in Zurich in what looks set to be a highly competitive and thrilling race.

Kipyegon hoping to wrap up perfect year

Women’s 1500m, 7:59pm

Two-time world and Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon is looking to cap an undefeated season at 1500m, and a win in Zurich would mean a third Diamond Trophy for the Kenyan middle-distance runner.

She has raced just once since the World Championships; in a world record attempt in Monaco, she came tantalisingly close to the mark with 3:50.37. She’ll start as the overwhelming favourite in Zurich, where her main focus will be on winning, not on records. But the likes of world 5000m champion Gudaf Tsegay, Olympic silver medallist Laura Muir, Brussels Diamond League winner Ciara Mageean and Ethiopian duo Diribe Welteji and Freweyni Hailu will ensure the pace – and the race – is a good one.

Ingebrigtsen targets first trophy

Men’s 1500m, 8:10pm

He may still be just 21, but Jakob Ingebrigtsen has already achieved a lot in his career: world and Olympic titles, multiple European gold medals, world indoor records and world-leading times. But a Diamond Trophy is one of the few things missing from the Norwegian’s cabinet.

Jakob Ingebrigtsen celebrates his Bowerman mile win in Eugene

Jakob Ingebrigtsen celebrates his Bowerman mile win in Eugene (© Diamond League AG)

When it comes to the Diamond League, Timothy Cheruiyot has dominated in recent years, winning four trophies between 2017 and 2021. Ingebrigtsen, however, has had the upper hand this year. Despite his shock defeat at the World Championships, Ingebrigtsen won at the Diamond League meetings in Eugene, Oslo and Lausanne, the latter with a world-leading 3:29.05.

Cheruiyot will be on the start line in Zurich, as will Commonwealth champion Oliver Hoare, Kenya’s Abel Kipsang, in-form Australian Stewart McSweyn and Olympic bronze medallist Josh Kerr.

"I feel better going into this race than I did last year, because I felt a bit tired after my great race in Tokyo," Ingebrigtsen explained at the pre-event press conference. "I’ll probably have to thank Jake for that (for beating him to the world title in Oregon). I have something that I want, I’m still very hungry to get a good race and to finish the season off in a good way."

Fraser-Pryce out for revenge

Women’s 100m, 8:23pm

All good things must come to an end, and for Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce that meant her streak of victories and sub-10.70 runs. The five-time world champion returned from an injury niggle to race in Brussels last weekend, where she was beaten by 0.01 by fellow Jamaican Shericka Jackson, the world 200m champion.

It was far from a disaster for Fraser-Pryce, though, who still clocked a remarkable 10.74. And that race could be just the motivation she needs to secure another Diamond Trophy in Zurich.

Jackson will no doubt be her toughest rival once again, while the competitive line-up also includes African record-holder Marie-Josee Ta Lou, Jamaica's Natasha Morrison, US trio Aleia Hobbs, Sha’Carri Richardson and Twanisha Terry, and Britain's Daryll Neita.

"It has been an incredible season and I know we say the Diamond League Final is a big event, and it is, but I must say female sprinting in the 100m has been big," said Fraser-Pryce. "It doesn't matter where the event is, the ladies are going to show, and I think that's definitely a plus. When you stand on the line, you have to be ready for the competition – the energy is high and the expectation is good and I think the crowd deserves that."

El Bakkali hopes to end Diamond Trophy drought

Men’s 3000m steeplechase, 8:31pm

He is the world and Olympic champion and has won all of his races on the Diamond League circuit this year, but Soufiane El Bakkali has not yet won a Diamond Trophy.

Despite being beaten in the past five Diamond League finals, the Moroccan steeplechaser will be the overwhelming favourite in Zurich, having had one of his best seasons to date. He won in Doha and Rabat, the latter with a world-leading 7:58.28. He then won at the World Championships in Oregon and continued his winning ways with an 8:02.45 victory in Lausanne.

Ethiopia’s Getnet Wale, the 2019 Diamond League winner, will be in Zurich, so too will Commonwealth champion Abraham Kibiwot and African champion Hailemariyam Amare.

New Diamond League winner guaranteed in men’s 100m

Men’s 100m, 8:49pm

Despite the presence of vastly experienced sprinters Trayvon Bromell, Andre De Grasse and Yohan Blake, none of the entrants for the men’s 100m in Zurich have previously won a Diamond Trophy at any distance, meaning a new name will be added to the list of winners.

Bromell, the world bronze medallist, won in Silesia last month in 9.95, while his season’s best is 9.81. 2011 world champion Blake has a season’s best of 9.85, and he won in Leverkusen in 9.96 at the end of August. De Grasse, the Olympic 200m champion, has not yet broken 10 seconds for 100m this year, but the Canadian is a man for the big occasion so could pull something special out of the bag in Zurich.

Bol seeks back-to-back trophies

Women’s 400m hurdles, 8:59pm

Three weeks after winning three gold medals at the European championships, Dutch 400m hurdler Femke Bol will attempt to win her second successive Diamond Trophy.

The Olympic bronze medallist has won all but one of her races this year, her only defeat coming at the hands of Sydney McLaughlin at the World Championships. But with McLaughlin seemingly having wrapped up her season, the Diamond League title will be Bol’s for the taking.

Femke Bol on her way to a 400m hurdles win at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Lausanne

Femke Bol on her way to a 400m hurdles win at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Lausanne (© AFP / Getty Images)

Former world record-holder Dalilah Muhammad, who finished one place behind Bol at the World Championships, will be hoping for a strong finish to what has been a frustrating season for the 2016 Olympic champion. Jamaican duo Janieve Russell and Rushell Clayton should also feature at the front end of this race.

Dos Santos eyes one more victory

Men’s 400m hurdles, 9:09pm

Despite his impressive breakthrough in 2021 to earn Olympic bronze, few would have predicted that Alison Dos Santos would be quite the dominant he has become in 2022.

The 22-year-old Brazilian has won all of his races so far, including Diamond League victories in Doha, Eugene, Oslo, Stockholm, Silesia and Brussels. The high point of his season, though, came with his triumph at the World Championships in 46.29 – a time that, up until last July, would have been a world record.

France’s Wilfred Happio and USA’s Khallifah Rosser have both smashed through the 48-second barrier this year and have been consistent on the international circuit, so they’ll likely be Dos Santos’s closest rivals in Zurich.

Hodgkinson and Moraa set to clash once more

Women’s 800m, 9:19pm

The women’s 800m proved to be one of the most thrilling races of last month’s Commonwealth Games. Mary Moraa, who took bronze behind Keely Hodgkinson at the World Championships, struck gold in Birmingham on the Briton’s home soil. It was the Kenyan’s second win over Hodgkinson this season, having also won in Stockholm.

Hodgkinson, the Diamond League winner last year, now has a chance to settle the score. Moraa won’t be easy to beat, though, as she recently reduced her 400m PB to 50.67 in Lausanne and that kind of speed is unmatched in this field.

Jamaica’s Natoya Goule and France’s Renelle Lamote, the winners in Monaco and Lausanne respectively, are also entered, as is 2019 world champion Halimah Nakaayi.

Two world champions, two laps of the track

Men’s 800m, 9:31pm

Olympic champion Emmanuel Korir had a slow start to his season, but the Kenyan turned his fortunes around just in time for the World Championships, where he struck gold. He then went on to win at the Diamond League meeting in Silesia.

Jake Wightman, the surprise 1500m winner at the World Championships, was unable to add further gold medals to his tally at the Commonwealth Games (1500m bronze) or European Championships (800m silver), but the Briton has been in fine form on the Diamond League circuit, winning the 1000m in Monaco in a PB of 2:13.88 and the 800m in Brussels in another PB, 1:43.65, and beating Korir in the process.

The two world champions will clash again in Zurich, where they’ll also face world bronze medallist Marco Arop of Canada and Commonwealth champion Wycliffe Kinyamal of Kenya.

Jackson at the double

Women’s 200m, 9:42pm

Since the Diamond League Final became a one-meeting affair last year, no athlete has yet managed to win more than one trophy in any given season. But Shericka Jackson could become the first to achieve that feat.

Of course, before turning her attention to her specialist event, the 200m, she would have to win the 100m – which is no mean feat but also not impossible, given she won in Brussels last weekend. But whatever happens in the shorter sprint, Jackson will start as the overwhelming favourite for the 200m. She clocked a world-leading 21.45 – the second-fastest time in history – to win the world title, and has also won in Rome, Silesia and Szekesfehervar this year.

Olympic bronze medallist Gabby Thomas is the only woman to have beaten Jackson over 200m this year, but that was back in May in Doha when Jackson wasn’t near her peak and before Thomas picked up a niggling injury. The US sprinter has recovered enough to compete in Zurich, and will be joined on the start line by European champion Mujinga Kambundji and world finalist Tamara Clark.

"I want to challenge myself and I think here is the best place to do it," said Jackson. "When you come to a Diamond League Final, you have to come with your A game. I love competing here. Last year was good, I came so close to a diamond. The competition here is always good."

Lyles chases fifth Diamond Trophy

Men’s 200m, 9:52pm

Two-time world 200m champion Noah Lyles already owns four Diamond Trophies, and there’s a strong chance he’ll earn a fifth in Zurich when he contests his specialist event.

Noah Lyles wins the 200m at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Lausanne

Noah Lyles wins the 200m at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Lausanne (© AFP / Getty Images)

The 25-year-old has pieced together one of the greatest ever 200m campaigns, having won all 11 of his races at the distance this year, heats and finals. He has broken 20 seconds in all of them, while his past five finals were all won in sub-19.7 times.

"It’s been a long year, but I’ve enjoyed all of it," he said. "I still feel springy, ready to go. Practice today was just like if I was getting ready for a World Championships. I’m ready to run something fast."

But if the recent Diamond League meeting in Brussels taught us anything, it’s that even the biggest of favourites can have a bad day. USA’s Kenny Bednarek, who took Olympic silver ahead of Lyles last year before winning the Diamond League title, is entered, as is world bronze medallist Erriyon Knighton, Olympic champion Andre De Grasse, world indoor 400m champion Jereem Richards and world mixed 4x400m champion Alexander Ogando.

It’s a fittingly competitive final event in what has been an enthralling Diamond League season across the board.

Jon Mulkeen for World Athletics