Previews05 Sep 2022

First six Diamond League wins to be secured on Zurich's Sechselautenplatz


Ryan Crouser competes in the 2021 Diamond League final in Zurich (© Getty Images)

Twelve meetings from May to September have all led to one final and now the Wanda Diamond League season reaches its climax at the Weltklasse Zurich in Switzerland on Wednesday and Thursday (7-8).

All 32 champions will be crowned during the two-day event, where Diamond trophies, top $30,000 prizes and wildcard entries to the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23 are all up for grabs. Competition will be fierce as rivalries are renewed and the best of the best aim to end their seasons on a high.

The first six titles will be secured on Sechselautenplatz – one of the city’s most famous squares on the shore of Lake Zurich. A temporary track and arena will host both shot put competitions and 5000m finals as well as the women’s pole vault and men’s high jump on Wednesday.

With so much to look forward to, here we preview the day one finals, with day two previews to follow. Times stated are local time (CEST) on Wednesday and are subject to change.

Ealey chases record

Women’s shot put, 4:55pm

Chase Ealey has set herself a US record aim for the Diamond League final and given the season she’s had so far, it’s a target that could be within reach. Unbeaten in finals this season, the 28-year-old threw a world-leading PB of 20.51m when winning the US title in June and then won world gold on her return to Hayward Field the following month, throwing 20.49m. She’s now just 12cm off the national record of 20.63m set by Michelle Carter when winning Olympic gold in Rio in 2016 and has surpassed 20 metres in seven competitions this year.

She’ll have to be at least near her best in order to see off some strong opposition, with Canada’s Sarah Mitton and Jessica Schilder of the Netherlands joining their US rival in having gone beyond 20 metres this season. Mitton threw 20.33m to win the Canadian title and then finished fourth in the world final before winning Commonwealth and NACAC gold, while world bronze medallist Schilder set a 20.24m national record to win the European title. The trio filled the top three spots during their last Diamond League clash in Silesia and they will renew their rivalry in a field also featuring Portugal’s Auriol Dongmo, Sweden’s Fanny Roos and Jamaica’s Danniel Thomas-Dodd.

Crouser aims to retain

Men’s shot put, 4:55pm 

USA’s world and Olympic champion Ryan Crouser suffered his first outdoor defeat since 2019 at the Diamond League meeting in Lausanne 10 days ago but returned to the top in Lucerne and now goes head-to-head with the man who beat him at Athletissima – his compatriot Joe Kovacs.

Crouser, who threw his world record of 23.37m in Eugene last year, was unable to train for three weeks leading up to Lausanne following Covid, while Kovacs achieved a 22.65m performance and he backed that up with 22.61m to win in Brussels – one of his five victories since claiming silver in the world final. Should he be back to full fitness, Crouser will be looking to retain the Diamond League title he claimed for the first time last year, while two-time world gold medallist Kovacs aims to regain the crown he claimed in 2015.

Among those looking to deny them will be New Zealand’s 2017 world champion Tom Walsh, who already has three Diamond League wins to his name from 2016, 2018 and 2019. Also looking to end the season on a high will be Croatia’s European champion Filip Mihaljevic, New Zealand’s Jacko Gill and Italy’s Nick Ponzio.

Morris and Murto aim high

Women’s pole vault, 5:30pm 

Both Sandi Morris and Wilma Murto have cleared 4.85m this season and will hope to take that form with them to Weltklasse. USA’s two-time world indoor champion Morris achieved her mark when securing her third world outdoor silver medal on home soil, while Finland’s Murto managed hers in Munich, where she gained European gold. Morris has won 11 of her 13 finals in 2022 and in the Diamond League that includes victories in Birmingham, Rabat and Rome.

After her sixth-place finish in the world final and European Championships win, Murto competed at the Athletissima in Lausanne and her third-place finish there secured her spot in the final, where she and Morris will also face Australia’s Commonwealth champion Nina Kennedy, who cleared 4.80m to claim world bronze in Oregon. In another top field, that trio takes on Slovenia’s world indoor bronze medallist Tina Sutej, four-time Diamond League champion and 2016 Olympic gold medallist Katerina Stefanidi of Greece, Italy’s Roberta Bruni and home star Angelica Moser.

Another title for Tsegay?

Women’s 5000m, 5:35pm

Like last year, the 5000m races will be held on a temporary course around the Zurich Opera House. After winning the world indoor 1500m title in Belgrade, Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay went on to gain outdoor gold over 5000m in Oregon and now the world indoor 1500m record-holder will have a first Diamond Trophy in her sights. The 25-year-old’s 5000m PB of 14:13.32 was set last year, while she ran 14:26.69 when finishing second behind her compatriot Dawit Seyaum in Oslo.

Seyaum isn’t contesting the final in Zurich, but Tsegay will be joined on the start line by two other compatriots: Ejgayehu Taye and Hawi Feysa. World indoor 3000m bronze medallist Taye broke the world 5km record with her 14:19 run in Barcelona at the end of last year and given the 5000m in Zurich takes place on a temporary track on the streets of the city centre, the results will be classed as road performances for rankings purposes and Taye will certainly be one to watch.

USA’s Alicia Monson ran a big 3000m PB of 8:26.81 when finishing a close second in Lausanne, pipped on the line by Francine Niyonsaba having been a long-time leader, and will be looking to build on that with a strong 5000m performance. Four of the top five in Lausanne renew their rivalry in Zurich, Monson joined by Netherlands’ Olympic 5000m and 10,000m champion Sifan Hassan, who has raced sparingly this year following a full-on 2021 but won the 3000m in Silesia, and Kenya’s world 5000m silver medallist Beatrice Chebet and world 10,000m bronze medallist Margaret Kipkemboi. The field also features Britain’s Amy-Eloise Markovc, Australia's Rose Davies and Spain's Marta Garcia.

Barshim and Tamberi resume battle

Men’s high jump, 6:00pm

Mutaz Barshim will be aiming for his fourth Diamond Trophy win, while Gianmarco Tamberi will aim to retain his title when the joint Olympic champions clash again in Zurich. Since the World Championships in Oregon, where Barshim successfully defended his title and Tamberi finished fourth, the pair competed together in Monaco and Lausanne, but the last time they met was actually at Tamberi’s wedding at the start of this month, where the Italian’s good friend as well as rival Barshim was among the guests. Qatar’s Barshim won in Monaco and then finished second in Lausanne, where the win in challenging conditions was claimed by Ukraine’s world bronze medallist Andriy Protsenko on countback.

That trio will again battle for the top spot in Zurich along with USA’s JuVaughn Harrison, who won in Rome, plus Canada’s NACAC champion and Birmingham Diamond League winner Django Lovett and New Zealand’s Commonwealth champion Hamish Kerr.

Krop aims to build on Brussels brilliance

Men’s 5000m, 7:10pm

Kenya’s Jacob Krop moved to sixth on the world all-time list with his winning 12:45.71 run in Brussels to book his place in the final and will look to build on that when he goes up against some strong opposition in Zurich. The 21-year-old world silver medallist recorded the fastest time in the world so far this year to beat USA’s Grant Fisher and his Kenyan compatriot Nicholas Kipkorir, who will both also be on the start line on Wednesday. Fisher’s performance of 12:46.96 was a North American record that moved him to 12th on the world all-time list.

Ethiopia’s Berihu Aregawi won last year’s title on the city centre course and a few months later he further proved his road race strength, setting a world 5km record of 12:49 in Barcelona at the end of the year. His Diamond League campaign this season has included a win in Eugene in May was well as a runner-up finish over 3000m in Monaco, where victory was claimed by Burundi’s Thierry Ndikumwenayo in a world-leading PB and Diamond League record of 7:25.93. Other Diamond League meeting winners this season were Ethiopia’s Selemon Barega and Telahun Haile Bekele, plus South Sudan’s Dominic Lokinyomo Lobalu, and others joining them in the final include Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha and Kenya’s Cornelius Kemboi.

Jess Whittington for World Athletics