December 13, 2017

Diamond League: Zurich

I was very unlucky to actually be away and miss almost the entirety of the World Championships, being updated only by Twitter. This was a shame because I would miss out on some great live athletics, including the likes of the men’s 5000m final. Despite all of this, I have managed to catch up on all of the action which I missed and have been able to reflect on what has been a brilliant Championships in the midst of the all the doping scandals and new IAAF Presidency elections.

Since the Championships have finished, things have not slowed down whatsoever. Within a week of the last event, the Zurich Diamond League, the penultimate major calendar event took place yesterday, Thursday evening.

Looking at the start lists, it would appear ion the face of things a meeting of great races and competitions. In almost every event, the fields which had been assembled pretty much resembled the very same ones which had formed in the World Championship finals. All of the world’s newly crowned champions were out once more to show their new found dominance.

Men’s 1500m

No athlete would be able to show their class more than Abel Kiprop. Although a World Record pace had been requested, no one would take this up and the field would be bunched, a long way down on the pacemaker who went through 800m in 1:55.21.

A more interesting tactic would be used by Hendrik Ingebrigtsen, making a long run for home over the last 800m, but was inevitably caught 200m out. This allowed Kiprop to once more come from behind and surge past a tiring field to win in 3:35.79. This race was definitely one which displayed the tiredness in the legs of all those athletes who went through the round in Beijing, many of whom not being able to respond to the change in pace.

Men's 1500m Results
Men’s 1500m Results

Men’s and Women’s 800m

David Rudisha is known to struggle running in the rain, saying after the race:

I could not really move well, I think it was because of the rain.

As with the 1500m, the athletes in the 800m really struggled. The conditions throughout the night were far from good and this showed to not favour the out and out favourite of David Rudisha who was looking for a fast race. The tactics he would adopt would follow the same way in which the Beijing final did. After a slow first lap here of about 54 seconds, Rudisha couldn’t hold off the charge down the backstretch, giving up the lead. Eventually, it would be world silver medalist , Adam Kszczot who won in a time of 1:45.55 with Rudisha 4th.

Men's 800m Results
Men’s 800m Results

The women’s 800m would be a race of redemption. Throughout the whole season, it looked as if there was no way past the dominant Kenyan, Eunice Sum. However she would lose out on gold in Beijing and came here to redeem herself. This certainly happened. Here, Sum would win in one of the slower times of the year of 1:59.14. Behind her, there was a great run from Lyndsey Sharp in 2nd with 1:59.37.

Women's 800m Results
Women’s 800m Results

Men’s 3000m SC and Women’s 3000m

Although many may not have been surprised by the final winning got the men’s steeplechase in the world championships, the lack of competitiveness by the two world leaders of Evan Jager and Birch was somewhat surprising to me. Personally, I believed that Jager would be right up there contending for gold but didn’t have it on the day.

Here in Zurich, all those big names barring the winning, Ezekiel Kemboi were running, including other Kenyans who didn’t make the world championship teams. It would actually turn out to be one of these Kenyans, Paul Koech who took the win in a slow race once again of 8:10.24, with Beijing medalists struggling in 6th and 7th.

Men's 3000m SC Results
Men’s 3000m SC Results

Finally, one of the most anticipated races of all was the rematch between Almez Ayana and Genzebe Dibaba, this time over 3000m. Both athletes had come away from Beijing with Gold, Ayana in the 5000m and Dibaba in the 1500m. Here the athletes would meet in the middle, matching speed with strength giving us a great race.

Inevitably, the race was between no other athletes bar these two, with a gap of almost 80m opening up just after half way. Despite this, the pace wasn’t too fast with conditions once more hiding this possibility along with the evident tiredness from the previous weeks exertions. The 1500m world record holder obviously didn’t have the required endurance, having focussing on the middle distance rather than the longer distances over the second half of the season. This allowed Ayana to stretch away to win comfortably in 8:22.34.

Women's 3000m Results
Women’s 3000m Results

You can find all of the results here.

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