ZÜRICH, SWITZERLAND, September 08 — Among running events the 5000 was contested downtown on the first day of the Weltklasse meet. Here are our reports on the other 8 women’s track events:
Women’s 100: Yet Another 10.6 For SAFP
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is stuck in a rut. Fortunately, it’s a rut that all her rivals would love to be in: cranking out sub-10.7s.
That’s a barrier no one else has transcended with a legal wind this year, while the 35-year-old Jamaican has done it no fewer than 7 times: 10.62, 10.65, 10.66, 10.67(A), 10.67, 10.67, 10.67. Coming as it did into an 0.8 wind, the 10.65 she cranked in Zürich may be her finest race yet.
“This was remarkable,” she said, “and I am very proud that I came away with a 10.65 — I started with a 10.6 and I finish with a 10.6 so there is nothing more I could ask for.”
If anyone figured to be capable of giving SAFP a run for her money it was teammate Shericka Jackson, who a week ago had nipped her by 0.01 in Brussels. The favored pair lined up in the middle of the track, Jackson in 4, Fraser-Pryce in 5. Third Jamaican Natasha Morrison was bounced for a false start.
On the second try they were away fairly, SAFP having the fastest reaction time and the quickest pickup. She was already clearly ahead after only 3-4 strides and she never relinquished her lead. Her margin just grew and by the finish her gap over Jackson was 0.16.
The win gave her Diamond Trophy No. 4, a record, adding to the ones she picked off in ’12, ’13 and ’15. Amazingly, she hadn’t raced in Zürich since the last of those.
She said, “When I came out here, and saw the crowd, I said to myself, ‘Oh my God, there’s a lot of people!’ but you know, that is what track & field is all about. We want to have full stadiums, and sold-out crowds. We definitely want to feel that energy, as it really helps us athletes. We don´t want to be in a dead stadium where nobody understands what is going on.”
(wind –0.8): 1. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (Jam) 10.65 (x, =10 W) (=MR);
2. Shericka Jackson (Jam) 10.81; 3. Marie-Josée Ta Lou (CI) 10.91; 4. Daryll Neita (GB) 11.02; 5. Aleia Hobbs (US) 11.03; 6. TeeTee Terry (US) 11.10; 7. Sha’Carri Richardson (US) 11.13;… fs—Natasha Morrison (Jam).
Women’s 200: Jackson Dominant
She had already run 34 races this year (including heats) and her 2nd-place dash in the 100 was just 80 minutes earlier. Shericka Jackson nonetheless started the 200 looking to dominate.
The world champion — No. 2 on the all-time list with her 21.45 from Eugene — had even hinted at an interest in breaking Florence Griffith Joyner’s WR, possibly even here.
Though a record proved a bridge too far at the end of a 7-month season, the 28-year-old Jamaican looked tireless sprinting to a win by 8m.
Gabby Thomas at 22.38 produced her best race yet in a comeback from the hamstring injury that scuttled her at the USATF Champs. The Olympic bronze medalist led home U.S. WC team members Tamara Clark (22.42) and Jenna Prandini (22.45) from Euro titlist Mujinga Kambundji (22.65).
At the pre-meet press conference, Jackson had assured that the break after the 100 would be sufficient — “That recovery is enough for me. I want to challenge myself and I think here is the best place to do it.” — and it was.
Slotted in lane 5, Jackson erased the stagger to Prandini on her right inside of 50m. She reached the halfway mark in 11.0, some 3m clear and roared down the straight in 10.8 to cross the line 0.58 in front. Thomas slipped into 2nd just before the line. The wind reading was an unhelpful -0.9.
“I just wanted to come out here and take the win and run as fast as possible,” she said.
She also admitted the double took at least some toll: “I had the 100m in my legs. My season was magnificent. I have run so many fast times. It is a wonderful year for me. I am just grateful for everything that happened.”
(wind –0.9): 1. Shericka Jackson (Jam) 21.80; 2. Gabby Thomas (US) 22.38; 3. Tamara Clark (US) 22.42; 4. Jenna Prandini (US) 22.45; 5. Mujinga Kambundji (Swi) 22.65; 6. Tynia Gaither (Bah) 22.66; 7. Ida Kathrine Karstoft (Den) 22.80; 8. Beth Dobbin (GB) 23.83.
Women’s 400: Paulino Goes Sub-49
Marileidy Paulino, the flagbearer of the Dominican Republic’s recent successes in the sprint wars, led a Dominican 1–2 here as she took her NR into new territory with an impressive 48.99. The winning time was just 0.13 away from the meet record Jarmila Kratochvílová set 40 years ago.
The final lacked world champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo, but still had 5 athletes who had bettered 50 this season. Notably, it lacked any U.S. representation, the first time that has ever happened in a DL Final 400.
Paulino, the Olympic and WC silver medalist, took it out aggressively from lane 6. She immediately put distance on Barbadian Sada Williams in lane 5. On the backstretch the only challenge came from teammate Firodaliza Cofil.
Paulino held her off, and from the top of the turn mounted an impressive finishing drive, pulling away steadily to cross the line in a new world leader. Cofil was passed ever-so-slightly on the run-in by Candice McLeod, but the Jamaican faded to 4th (50.03) in the final steps as Cofil (49.93) and Williams (49.98) claimed 2nd and 3rd.
“Running a sub-49, a new national record, PB and a world lead feels amazing,” said the 25-year-old Paulino. “Last year, there was only one athlete from the Dominican Republic [at the DL Final], and now there are 3 of us, which shows how much Athletics is improving in our small country, with a lot of talent.”
1. Marileidy Paulino (DR) 48.99 NR (WL) (12, x W) (12.3, 11.3 [23.6], 11.9 [35.5], 13.5) (23.6/25.4);
2. Fiordaliza Cofil (DR) 49.93; 3. Sada Williams (Bar) 49.98; 4. Candice McLeod (Jam) 50.03; 5. Natalia Kaczmarek (Pol) 50.74; 6. Anna Kiełbasińska (Pol) 50.93; 7. Lieke Klaver (Neth) 51.55; 8. Stephenie Ann McPherson (Jam) 52.32.
Women’s 800: Moraa Has Learned
Mary Moraa, the WC bronze medalist and new find of the year, abandoned her unpredictable ways and ran this race like a veteran, capturing the Diamond Trophy in a steady 1:57.63.
The race got out a bit fast from a pacemaking perspective. Olivia Baker, charged with a 57.5 tempo, blistered the lap in 55.90 and left the field far behind. Just as well, perhaps, as from the start none showed any interest in going with her.
Instead, Moraa led the pack alongside France’s Rénelle Lamote at 27.2 and 57.6. They were closely followed by Sage Hurta (57.8). On the backstretch, the American passed Lamote and challenged Moraa as they passed the 600 in 1:28.2. Jamaica’s Natoya Goule was a tick behind. Then the Kenyan unleashed her finish and built a gap. Hurta soon yielded to Goule, but Moraa led the way to her first big win. Goule crossed 0.22 behind in 1:57.85 with Hurta at 1:58.47.
Keely Hodgkinson, who had won three major medals this summer, found herself out of juice here and never factored. She finished 5th in 1:59.06.
Said Moraa, “I am happy for my first Diamond Trophy, I am happy for my country, I am happy for my fans all over the world. Now, the season is over for me and we’ll have like 3–4 weeks off. Then I start my program for the next season and I will continue with the 800. I just know I have to improve my speed, I need to work on the 400.”
1. Mary Moraa (Ken) 1:57.63 (57.6/60.0); 2. Natoya Goule (Jam) 1:57.85 (57.9/60.0); 3. Sage Hurta (US) 1:58.47 (57.8/60.7; 4. Halimah Nakaayi (Uga) 1:58.82; 5. Keely Hodgkinson (GB) 1:59.06; 6. Anita Horvat (Slo) 1:59.25; 7. Renelle Lamote (Fra) 1:59.38; 8. Lore Hoffmann (Swi) 1:59.69; 9. Elena Bellò (Ita) 2:00.24;… rabbit—Olivia Baker (US) (55.90).
Women’s 1500: Kipyegon Stays On A Roll
By any measure, the steadiest high-stakes performer in the women’s metric mile over the past half-decade-plus has been Faith Kipyegon. The 28-year-old Kenyan star showed herself as such once again in defending her crown and raising to 10 finals the count on her streak of consecutive 1500 wins stretching back to June of ’21.
Though nemesis Sifan Hassan, with whom Kipyegon dueled to the title last year, raced in the 5000 this time (and placed just 5th), “Faith The Great” finished what for her constitutes a tactical run in 4:00.44 with a rip-roaring kick.
Her closing rush handled the bright breakout racer of the season’s closing weeks, Ciara Mageean (4:01.68), and a field that included WC medalists Gudaf Tsegay and Laura Muir.
As the field ignored rabbit Allie Wilson’s 64.2/2:11.3 pacing through the first two laps, Kipyegon (2:13.1) led the gaggled racer group the whole way.
The world and Olympic champion, Kipyegon threw down at the bell and by the time lap 3 (3:18.3) passed in 65.2, she was rolling, shorter of stature than most of the field but daring them to come get her.
Tearing off the final curve visibly full of powerful run, Kipyegon essayed closing splits that were zippy figures, indeed — 57.8, 42.1, 27.8, 14.3 — and won by 8m even though she let up in the last 10.
“It was a strong field and I was hoping that when I pushed, they would come with me and it would be a tough race,” she said. “I enjoyed it anyway, but it was really funny because I honestly believed they were coming with me so it almost felt that I was running on my own towards the end.”
Kipyegon made it clear also she feels at home at Letzigrund Stadium: “It is really special to race here, this is Zürich, and you can really hear it out there.”
1. Faith Kipyegon (Ken) 4:00.44 (3:18.38); 2. Ciara Mageean (Ire) 4:01.68; 3. Freweyni Hailu (Eth) 4:01.73; 4. Diribe Welteji (Eth) 4:01.79; 5. Laura Muir (GB) 4:02.31; 6. Gudaf Tsegay (Eth) 4:02.41; 7. Heather MacLean (US) 4:02.90; 8. Cory McGee (US) 4:04.63; 9. Axumawit Embaye (Eth) 4:05.91; 10. Hirut Meshesha (Eth) 4:06.28;… rabbit—Allie Wilson (US) (64.23, 67.15 [2:11.38]).
Women’s Steeple: The Newbie Confirms
Outside of her triumph in Brussels a week ago Werkuha Getachew had never won a major invitational before. The 26-year-old Ethiopian, still a neophyte in the steeple, did manage to claim the WC silver. Her conqueror there, Norah Jeruto of Kazakhstan, hasn’t raced since.
The rabbit took the field through the first kilo in 3:01.20, then left Emma Coburn in front of the pack. Coburn led for two laps, but the pace slowed as the storm gathered behind her. Bahraini Winfred Yavi, the Eugene 4th-placer, moved to the front then and did her best to shake Getachew and the rest. Ethiopia’s Zerfe Wondemagegn moved up to run alongside the leader for a while, giving the pace a boost.
The pack got smaller, Coburn losing touch at 2500m and with a lap to go, only 3 remained in contention: Yavi, Getachew and Wondemagegn. On the backstretch Yavi tried to get away, but Getachew stayed close.
On the last water jump, Yavi had the smoother clearance and looked like the winner, but the final barrier spelled her doom. She landed off-balance and lost a bit of her momentum. Getachew leaped at the opportunity and stormed by for a 9:03.57–9:04.47 win. Teenager Faith Cherotich (9:06.14) rallied and caught Wondemagegn (9:06.37) for 3rd as both PRed.
Said Getachew, “I have worked so hard for it. I think it is worth training the technique, that helped me to win today. I have an excellent coach, he puts an emphasis on that.”
1. Werkwuha Getachew (Eth) 9:03.57; 2. Winfred Yavi (Bhr) 9:04.47 (6:08.31);
3. Faith Cherotich (Ken) 9:06.14 PR (3, 6 WJ);
4. Zerfe Wondemagegn (Eth) 9:06.37 PR; 5. Jackline Chepkoech (Ken) 9:11.06; 6. Sembo Almayew (Eth) 9:14.10; 7. Emma Coburn (US) 9:20.00; 8. Nataliya Strebkova (Ukr) 9:32.90; 9. Chiara Scherrer (Swi) 9:34.52; 10. Daisy Jepkemei (Kaz) 9:47.50;… rabbit—Virginia Nyambura (Ken) (3:01.20).
Women’s 100H: Amusan Just Wanted To Win
“The start is still the weakest part of my race. I have still something to improve,” said Tobi Amusan after producing the second-fastest wind-legal time of her career, 12.29.
Indeed, the 25-year-old Nigerian hadn’t looked smooth coming out of the blocks, but nonetheless reached the first barrier as quickly as anyone. Expected major challenger Keni Harrison — who had preceded Amusan as WR holder — smacked the initial obstacle and was instantly out of the picture.
Over the early hurdles Amusan (lane 4) had Olympic champ Jasmine Camacho-Quinn (5) and Britany Anderson (6) as company with Tia Jones (8) also moving well on the outside.
Amusan was clearly in the lead and stretching her margin by hurdle 7, where JCQ was beginning to fade and Jones had assumed the runner-up position over Anderson. That’s how they stayed, Amusan winning by 0.11, with Jones (12.40) missing her week-old PR by just 0.02. Anderson (12.42) and Camacho-Quinn (12.49) also broke 12.50.
It has been quite the breakthrough campaign for the 22-year-old Jones, who began the year with a PR of 12.84 that dated back to ’16, and was faster than that in 18 of her 22 races.
Amusan was happy to set a new Weltklasse record, but said, “When you are running against a very strong field, the only thing you really want is to win, no matter the meet record. You are just a part of it, you just want to win.”
(wind –0.3): 1. Tobi Amusan (Ngr) 12.29 (MR); 2. Tia Jones (US) 12.40; 3. Britany Anderson (Jam) 12.42; 4. Jasmine Camacho-Quinn (PR) 12.49; 5. Devynne Charlton (Bah) 12.66; 6. Nia Ali (US) 12.67; 7. Pia Skrzyszowska (Pol) 12.72; 8. Keni Harrison (US) 13.02; 9. Ditaji Kambundji (Swi) 13.22.
Women’s 400H: A Busy Year For Bol
In an era where so many runners minimize their competitive appearances, Femke Bol is an anomaly. The Dutch star came to Zürich with no fewer than 28 races on her dance card: 3 in the 200, 10 in the 400, 1 in the 300H, 4 in the 4×4 and most importantly 10 in the 400H.
No. 11 in her cash cow event was Zürich and she romped to a successful defense of her DL crown. The favored Bol was drawn in lane 6, with former WR holder Dalilah Muhammad on her inside.
Typically, the American went out hard and at the top of the backstretch had almost made up the stagger on Bol. Meanwhile in lane 3 Panamanian Gianna Woodruff was also out strongly, holding down 2nd. The long-legged Bol moved well down the backstretch and by the fifth hurdle was rising over the barrier almost in sync with Muhammad.
They stayed together around the curve but coming into the final straight Bol slingshotted into the lead and just steadily pulled away, crossing the line in 53.03.
Muhammad slowed markedly approaching the final barrier and Woodruff and Jamaican Janieve Russell both began to close in on her. They eased by in the final 10m, timing 53.72 and 53.77 as Muhammad ended up 4th at 53.83.
Bol already had her post-season plans mapped out, explaining, “I will go on holiday with the prize. I always say that if I win a lot of money, I will put it all towards a holiday. I am going to Greece — actually, it is already booked, it is nothing too luxurious, just a nice holiday to lie on the beach for 2 weeks. I will be happy.”
1. Femke Bol (Neth) 53.03; 2. Gianna Woodruff (Pan) 53.72; 3. Janieve Russell (Jam) 53.77; 4. Dalilah Muhammad (US) 53.83; 5. Rushell Clayton (Jam) 54.25; 6. Viktoriya Tkachuk (Ukr) 54.79; 7. Anna Ryzhykova (Ukr) 55.06; 8. Ayomide Folorunso (Ita) 55.86. ◻︎