The 2021 athletics season comes to a close with a stacked Zurich Diamond League over two days from September 8th. The world’s best will hope to bag the Diamond League title and in the process earn USD 30,000.
Day One – September 8th
The schedule for the first day of competition is as follows (all times are local time in Switzerland)
- 16.55 – Shot Put Women & Shot Put Men
- 17.35 – 5000m Women
- 17.50 – High Jump Women
- 18:00 – Long Jump Women & Long Jump Men
- 19:10 – 5000m Men
Day Two – September 9th
The schedule for day two is as follows (all times are local time in Switzerland).
- 18:15 – Pole Vault Women
- 18:20 – Discus Women & Discus Men
- 18:40 – Triple Jump Women & Triple Jump Men
- 19:04 – 400m Women
- 19:15 – 400m Men
- 19:26 – 3000m Steeplechase Women
- 19:46 – 100m Hurdles Women
- 19:58 – 110m Hurdles Men
- 20:06 – 1500m Women
- 20:17 – 1500m Men
- 20:21 – Pole Vault Men
- 20:22 – Javelin Men & Javelin Women
- 20:25 – High Jump Men
- 20:29 – 100m Women
- 20:38 – 100m Men
- 20:46 – 3000m Steeplechase
- 21:03 – 800m Women
- 21:13 – 800m Men
- 21:25 – 400m Hurdles Women
- 21:35 – 400m Hurdles Men
- 21:44 – 200m Women
- 21:52 – 200m Men
Events to watch
All of them.
Here’s an event by event preview of what to watch on Wednesday and Thursday.
Shot Put Women
None of the Tokyo top three are in Zurich. In their absence Auriol Dongmo will hope to pick up the Diamond League crown. She was fourth in Japan.
Shot Put Men
The men’s event is stacked. Ryan Crouser leads an Olympic podium featuring Joe Kovacs and Tomas Walsh. Filip Mihaljevic was third in Lausanne and will hope to maintain his Swiss form.
Francine Niyonsaba will hope to show her dominance over 5000m in the absence of Olympic Champ Sifan Hassan. The Burundi athlete was controversially disqualified in Tokyo but has since won over 3000m in Paris (8.19.08) and in Brussels over 5000m (14.25.34). The top six in Brussels are all in Zurich with Ejgayehu Taye having finished a narrow second to Niyonsaba. Olympic silver medalist Hellen Obiri was third in Brussels and may hope to take the sting out of Niyonsaba’s kick.
High Jump Women
Nicola McDermott got the better of Mariya Lasitskene in Paris and will hope to turn the tables on the Olympic champ once more. Yaroslava Mahuchikh, Tokyo’s third placer also beat Lasistkene in Brussels and will fancy her chances in Zurich.
Iryna Gerashchenko will also be in the mix and was third in Paris and fourth in Tokyo.
Long Jump Mens
This isn’t an all star cast for Zurich but it will be interesting nonetheless. London 2017 bronze medalist Ruswahl Samaai will hope to challenge European indoor silver Thobias Montler. Steffin McCarter of USA has jumped 8.26m this year but failed to qualify for the Olympic final.
Long Jump Womens
Olympic Champ Malaika Mihambo heads up the Zurich field in her first competition since the Olympic Games. Ivana Spanovic will likely prove the greatest challenge with wins in Florence, Stockholm and Lausanne this year. Watch out also for Bekh-Romanchuk who won in Gateshead as well as Jazmin Sawyers who has proved consistent this year.
Zurich will witness a real exciting Diamond League final over 5000m and the first part of a Jakob Ingebrigtsen double attempt. I expect him to win over 5000m but he will be challenged by Berihu Aregawi who pushed him all the way over 3000m in Lausanne and 10,000m Olympic Champ Selemon Barega who has not since reached his Tokyo highs (5th in Lausanne over 3000m, 2nd at the Pre Classic over two miles).
Pole Vault Womens
Katie Nageotte lost her first competition of the year but is undefeated in eleven outings since. The Olympic champ won at Haywards Field at the end of August and will hope to take the Diamond League crown. The next two would appear to be the Olympic podium. Anzhelika Sidorova was second in Toyko and won in Padova on Sunday. Holly Bradshaw will head to Zurich free from pressure after her Olympic bronze and could challenge for the top spot. Katerina Stefanidi, the Rio Olympic champ doesn’t seem to be able to find that kind of form this year.
Valarie Allman is winless since her Tokyo triumph, coming third in Paris and second in Brussels. Yaime Perez won in Lausanne with Sandra Perkovic winning in Paris. These three should be some way ahead of the rest of the field.
Daniel Stahl is undefeated in Diamond League fixtures this year. The Olympic champion’s greatest challenge looks set to come from compatriot Simon Pettersson who is the only man to defeat the Swede this year. Lukas Weißhaidinger was third in Tokyo. Kristjan Ceh will hope to break into contention and was third in Brussels. Fedrick Dacres was second in Brussels and will hope to build on that form.
Triple Jump Womens
Yulimar Rojas is the best triple jumper in history and has now jumped beyond 15.50 twice in legal conditions. She won hansomely in Lausanne and will be challenged by Olympic silver medalist Patricia Mamona. We could witness something special in Zurich.
Triple Jump Mens
Pedro Pichardo is the Olympic Champ and has lost just once this year, winning Diamond Leagues in Gateshead and Eugene in the process. In his absence Tokyo bronze medalist Hugues Fabrice Zango won in Paris. Olympic silver medalist Zhu Yaming will not be in Zurich. Mohamed Yasser Triki was second in Paris.
Marileidy Paulino (2nd in Tokyo) is the stand out in a strong field which includes Stephenie Ann McPherson (4th), Candice McLeod (5th), Jodie Williams (6th) and Quanera Hayes (7th). Paulino should win, having only lost to Shaunae Miller-Uibo this year and won recently in Lausanne and Paris.
Kirani James and Michael Cherry look set to battle it out for Diamond League honours. The pair were separated by just two-hundredths of a second in Tokyo for third and fourth. Isaac Makwala will hope to also be in the mix.
3000m Steeplechase Womens
Norah Jeruto, Courtney Frerichs and Olympic champ Peruth Chemutai lead a full strength steeplechase field. Jeruto impressed in Eugene having missed the Olympics and has also won in Doha earlier this year. Frerichs became the first American to break 9 mins behind her and Hyvin Kiyeng will always compete off the back of her Tokyo bronze. Chemutai suffered an Olympic hangover in Eugene and will hope to surprise the field once more.
100m Hurdles Women
With Jasmine Camacho-Quinn and Keni Harrison both not in Zurich Megan Tapper will hope to take the Diamond League title. Nadine Visser beat Tapper in both Paris and most recently Brussels to take the win and will head to Tokyo sky high in confidence. Tobi Amusan of Nigeria was second in Brussels.
110m Hurdles Men
Olympic Champ Hansle Parchment heads to Zurich having won in Paris and without the challenge of Grant Holloway. Devon Allen ran strongly in Paris and will challenge once more as will his US teammate Daniel Roberts. Ronald Levy, the Olympic third placer, will always challenge and beat Parchment in the Jamaican Olympic trials.
Faith Kipyegon versus Sifan Hassan in another likely classic over the metric mile. Kipyegon is 2-1 over Hassan this year and will hope Hassan makes a long bid for home. Twice Kipyegon has come past her over the final 100m. Expect another battle royale up front. Laura Muir, the Tokyo silver medalist, is missing.
Tired legs represent Timothy Cheruiyot‘s best chance of beating Jakob Ingebrigtsen with the Norwegian running the 5000m the day before. Such a double may mean Cheruiyot or Stewie McSweyn takes it out hard early and this could mean a fast fast race.
Watch out also for Abel Kipsang, Tokyo’s fourth placer who faded down the final straight but still ran sub 3.30.
Pole Vault Mens
Another Diamond League, another Mondo Duplantis exhibition? Highly likely. Mondo has got over the disappointment of a fourth place finish in Lausanne to win in both Paris and Brussels breaking the meeting record on both occassions. Sam Kendricks and Chris Nilsen (winner in Lausanne) will provide the usual challenge with Ernest John Obiena having broken the Phillipines national record in jumping 5.91m to finish second in Brussels.
Javelin Throw Mens
Johannes Vetter has only lost twice this year. Once in Paris in the final three despite throwing further than anyone else in the field and in Tokyo in failing to get within 15 metres of his lifetime best. If he can throw anywhere near his best it is his title to lose. Anderson Peters was the man to beat him in Paris. No-one bar Vetter has thrown over 90 metres. The Olympic champ, Neeraj Chopra, is not in Zurich.
Javelin Throw Womens
Maria Andrejczyk should win in Zurich. The Polish athlete was only beaten by Liu Shiying in Tokyo who is not in Switzerland. Barbara Spotakova, the two time Olympic Champ has not been in that sort of form this year. Christin Hussong was ninth in Tokyo but has won in Rovereto and Oslo in the Diamond League this year. She may well prove the greatest challenger.
High Jump Mens
Gianmarco Tamberi heads to Zurich as the Olympic Champ and favourite for the Diamond League title. Maksim Nedasekau could challenge but has blown hot and cold this year, most recently coming sixth in Chorzow. His 2.37m in Tokyo earned him the bronze medal. Ilya Ivanyuk has won Diamond Leagues in Doha, Florence and Lausanne and will be confident of taking the title in Switzerland.
Elaine Thompson-Herah is the fastest women alive and now the second fastest in history. The Jamaican, in the absence of Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, should take the Diamond League title. Dina Asher-Smith, Marie-Josee Ta Lou and Alja Del Ponte will all hope to close the gap.
The 100m title is wide open with Andre De Grasse, Ronnie Baker, Akani Simbine, Fred Kerley and Trayvon Bromell all with realistic chances. Kerley won in Brussels ahead of Bromell. De Grasse ran 9.74 in wind illegal conditions to win in Eugene and may start the slight favourite.
3000m Steeplechase Mens
Soufiane El Bakkali failed to finish in his last outting in Paris, a fixture in which Benjamin Kigen set the world lead. El Bakkali is otherwise undefeated this year in the event, though he has raced sparingly. Kigen and Kibiwot look set to take the race to the Moroccan alongside Toyko silver medalist Lamecha Girma.
In the absence of Athing Mu, Natoya Goule may be the favourite for the Diamond League title. The Jamaican held off the challenge of Keely Hodgkinson and Jemma Reekie to win in Brussels. Kate Grace has been consistent ever since failing to qualify for Tokyo and was second at the Pre Classic beating Reekie, Goule and Hodgkinson. Outside them Habitam Alemu was sixth in Tokyo and fourth in Brussels.
Another wide open race sees a whole host of potential winners. Wyclife Kinyamal won in Paris ahead of compatriot Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich. Kinyamal also won in Doha earlier this year but failed to progress from his heat in the Kenyan trials. Marco Arop was third in Paris but has won in Lausanne and Eugene this summer. Emmanuel Korir is the Olympic champ and finished third in Eugene and second in Lausanne. Elliot Giles may fancy himself in a tactical race though he was only fourth in Eugene and fifth in Paris.
400m Hurdles Women
Femke Bol heads to Zurich with the confidence of beating Dalilah Muhammad in Lausanne. Neith Muhammad nor Sydney McLaughlin head to Switzerland. In their absence Anna Ryzhkyova and Shamier Little look set to cause the greatest threat in what may be a one-sided race.
No Rai Benjamin but most of the rest of the Olympic final head to Zurich. Karsten Warholm will face the challenge of Alison Dos Santos. Kyron McMaster (4th in Tokyo), Yasmani Copello (6th) and Rasmus Mägi (7th) all feature.
The top three from Brussels all travel to Zurich with Christine Mboma having won last time out. Shericka Jackson will hope to hold on this time as will an improving Dina Asher-Smith. Marie-Josee Ta Lou will do the 100m, 200m double.
Tokyo’s top two will square off once more. Kenny Bednarek overcame Fred Kerley amongst others in Lausanne and will aim to deny Andre De Grasse the Diamond League title. De Grasse is flying an will take some stopping having won over 100m in Eugene to add to his Olympic title. De Grasse and Kerley are racing both the 100m and 200m.
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