Elaine Thompson wins the 200m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Zurich (© Jean-Pierre Durand)
The much-hyped battle of the global champions in the women’s 200m at Zurich’s Weltklasse meeting more than lived up to expectations on Thursday (1) as Elaine Thompson set an IAAF Diamond League record of 21.85.
Unlike at the past two global championships, the Jamaican found herself trailing Schippers at halfway with world 400m champion Allyson Felix close behind.
Schippers, the world 200m champion, held her form well down the home straight and looked set to take the win, but double Olympic champion Thompson dug in over the closing stages and just managed to edge ahead of her rival before the line, winning in 21.85 to Schippers’ season’s best of 21.86.
Felix, who didn’t make the US 200m team for Rio, clocked a season’s best of 22.02 in third place.
At the end of the evening, Thompson ran the second leg for the victorious Jamaican team in the 4x100m, with two-time Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown anchoring them to a win in 41.65. Olympic champions USA botched their second exchange and were disqualified.
Powell takes Diamond Race
It took Asafa Powell just 9.94 seconds to go from fourth to first in the overall Diamond Race standings in the 100m.
The points situation was so close that any one of the eight men lining up in Zurich could have, in theory, walked away with the Diamond Trophy. But ultimately the experience of the Jamaican shone through as he powered his way to victory in 9.94, his 97th time under 10 seconds in wind-legal conditions.
Ivory Coast’s Ben Youssef Meite led the Diamond Race going into Zurich. A second-place finish behind Powell would have been enough for him to hold on to his lead, but instead he was pipped to second place by just four thousandths of a second by South Africa’s Akani Simbine, both men clocking 9.99.
Olympic bronze medallist LaShawn Merritt had to work hard for his Diamond Race victory in the 400m.
The two-time world champion held off a strong finish from Grenada’s Bralon Taplin to win by 0.06 in 44.64. He ended the season with 50 points to win his third Diamond Trophy.
The women’s 100m hurdles was similarly a lot closer than expected, but world record-holder Kendra Harrison managed to pull off her sixth IAAF Diamond League victory of 2016, winning in 12.63.
To date, the only outdoor final that Harrison has lost all year was the US Olympic Trials, which cost her a place at the Olympics.
Britain’s Cindy Ofili finished second in 12.70 with USA’s 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper Nelson taking third in 12.73.
Olympic 400m hurdles champion Kerron Clement also had to work hard for his win.
The two-time world champion was level with Javier Culson and 2014 European champion Kariem Hussein for the first half of the race. Hussein appeared to be edging ahead as the field entered the home straight, while Clement staggered over the penultimate hurdle.
But Clement made up the ground he had lost and caught his opponents just before the line, winning in 48.72.
The finishing order of the top six reflected their final positions in the Diamond Race with Culson taking second in 48.79 and a fast-finishing LJ van Zyl – a late replacement for world champion Nicholas Bett – finishing third in 48.80.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF