ZÜRICH, SWITZERLAND, September 09 — Among running events only the 5000 was contested downtown on the first day of the Weltklasse meet. Here are our reports on the other 8 men’s races:
Men’s 100: Kerley The Strongest
With Tokyo winner Lamont Marcell Jacobs skipping the post-Games circuit this figured to be a battle between the other two podium placers, Fred Kerley and Andre De Grasse. That’s just how it played out, although the Canadian made it tighter this time around.
Ronnie Baker, always a quick starter, was out the best, already showing a narrow lead over fellow Americans Kerley and Trayvon Bromell at 20m. De Grasse was a half-meter back. At halfway Baker had increased his margin to a full meter over the other three, but by 80m the four were about even, with yearly list leader Bromell starting to show signs of slowing down.
Running in the center lane, the powerful Kerley bulled through in the last 10m, dragging De Grasse with him. Kerley edged across the line first, missing his PR by just 0.03 at 9.87 and De Grasse matched his at 9.89. Baker (9.91) and Bromell (9.96) also broke 10 as the wind was a slightly unhelpful –0.4.
Said Kerley, who won the ’18 DL 400 title, “Glad to finish this season out strong. Target for the next season: to keep on making history. I won my first Diamond League here, I won my second Diamond League here so I am pleased and happy about Zürich. Now, I have two more races to finish out the season.”
(wind –0.4): 1. Fred Kerley (US) 9.87; 2. Andre De Grasse (Can) 9.89 =PR; 3. Ronnie Baker (US) 9.91; 4. Trayvon Bromell (US) 9.96; 5. Akani Simbine (SA) 10.10; 6. Rohan Browning (Aus) 10.18; 7. Mike Rodgers (US) 10.23; 8. Silvan Wicki (Swi) 10.25; 9. Mudiyanselage Abeykoon (SrL) 10.25.
Men’s 200: Yet Another Bednarek Sub-20
The attrition of a long Olympic season diminished the field in the half-lapper, leaving only three solid contenders: Fred Kerley (lane 5), coming back little more than an hour after winning the 100; Olympic champion Andre De Grasse (6), who had tied his PR in finishing 2nd in the century; and silver medalist Kenny Bednarek (7), who hadn’t raced in 2 weeks.
The yellow head-banded Bednarek got out best, storming the curve like a beast. De Grasse trailed, running even with Josephus Lyles in 4. They both were ahead of Kerley, who seemed to have a hitch in his stride.
Bednarek hit halfway in 10.2, De Grasse and Lyles in 10.3. Kerley was a bit behind Canada’s Aaron Brown as both hit 10.4.
Any notion that Kerley might be the second man (after Noah Lyles in ’19) to win the DL 100/200 double faded as he struggled to answer Bednarek’s drive coming onto the straight.
At 150 the Wisconsin native led De Grasse 14.8–15.0, but the Canadian was moving faster, cutting the margin in half by 175 and at the finish falling just 0.02 short of Bednarek’s 19.70. Kerley came to life and closed well for a 19.83 to leave Brown and Lyles in 4th and 5th, both at 20.13.
With a 0.5 wind, Bednarek’s 19.70 missed his best by just 0.02. It was also his No. 11 legal sub-20 this season (a record) and his No. 13 including windies (another record).
“This was what I expected for this Diamond League Final,” he said. “I knew I had to execute it and to maintain the lead and that’s what I did and what I got. This is what I wanted to do, and this season is done after this.”
(wind +0.5): 1. Kenny Bednarek (US) 19.70; 2. Andre De Grasse (Can) 19.72; 3. Fred Kerley (US) 19.83; 4. Aaron Brown (Can) 20.13; 5. Josephus Lyles (US) 20.13; 6. Isaac Makwala (Bot) 20.31; 7. Vernon Norwood (US) 20.46; 8. William Reais (Swi) 20.49.
Men’s 400: Cherry Still On A Roll
Undefeated since he finished 4th at the Olympics, 0.02 behind bronze medalist Kirani James, Michael Cherry kept his post-Tokyo string perfect, this time pipping James by just 0.01 with a track-crashing lean at the line. The LSU alum set back James 44.41–44.42 for his 13th straight (including heats and finals) sub-45 since May.
The race went much as did the one Cherry won in Brussels 6 days ago. James (lane 5) pressed early and closed the stagger to Deon Lendore on his outside by the time he passed 200 in 20.9.
Cherry relies more on his finish and did so again here. After passing halfway in 21.1, he surged past Isaac Makwala, Lendore and James just before 300. James and Cherry both split 32.1.
As in Brussels, Cherry drew away in the straight, but this time James never let the gap grow to much more than half a stride. Some 5m before the line, the Grenadan pulled even if not an inch ahead.
Both leaned past their tipping points and the 6-foot-4 (1.98) Cherry, whose 3¼-inch (8cm) height advantage may have aided his cause, got his torso across just in front. He laughed and clapped his hands as he rested momentarily before picking himself up.
“It was a little bit of a hard race, a battle with Kirani, and I wanted to make sure to come out with the victory today,” said the winner. “Coming from the Olympics, I was very disappointed so I came out there and made a PR in Brussels. I told myself, ‘When I come out next time I want to take a win.’ The Olympic Games gave me a lot of experience and also a confidence that I can fight with the best in the world so I am sure I can get even better next season.”
1. Michael Cherry (US) 44.41; 2. Kirani James (Grn) 44.42; 3. Deon Lendore (Tri) 44.81; 4. Vernon Norwood (US) 44.84; 5. Liemarvin Bonevacia (Neth) 45.35; 6. Isaac Makwala (Bot) 45.41; 7. Ricky Petrucciani (Swi) 46.38; 8. Davide Re (Ita) 46.64.
Men’s 800: A Second Title For Korir
Hopes for a fast 2-lapper faded when no one went with rabbit Patryk Sieradzki, who had been charged with a 49.5 tempo (and hit 49.61). At the 200 in 24.3, it was Isaiah Harris who led the pack, followed by Olympic champion Emmanuel Korir, who soon moved ahead and led the group through 400 in 51.1. Canada’s Marco Arop stayed close as Clayton Murphy was among those hanging even farther back, 6th in 51.4.
Tokyo silver medalist Ferguson Rotich made his big move into the lead at 550, leading through 600 in 1:18.6 as Korir and Arop chased hard.
In the final 100, Korir pulled alongside his Kenyan countryman and gradually edged ahead, hitting the line in 1:44.56 to Rotich’s 1:44.96. Murphy, only 6th with 100 to go, finished faster than anybody and tagged Arop at the line, 1:44.21–1:44.23.
It was Korir’s second DL title, as he also won in ’18. “I think it was tough today,” he said. “But I managed to follow my strategy, tried to push it in the end and now I have this trophy and I am very glad. It takes a lot of perseverance and determination, training, hard work so it is great to take the second trophy.”
1. Emmanuel Korir (Ken) 1:44.56; 2. Ferguson Rotich (Ken) 1:44.96; 3. Clayton Murphy (US) 1:45.21; 4. Marco Arop (Can) 1:45.23; 5. Elliot Giles (GB) 1:45.25; 6. Isaiah Harris (US) 1:45.70; 7. Amel Tuka (Bos) 1:46.19; 8. Wycliffe Kinyamal (Ken) 1:46.52;… rabbit—Patryk Sieradzki (Pol) (49.61).
Men’s 1500: Cheruiyot Back On Top
After Jakob Ingebrigtsen beat Timothy Cheruiyot for the gold in Tokyo, then soundly thrashed him over a mile a few weeks later at Pre, one might have thought the tide had turned. Cheruiyot, who won their first 12 career encounters, proved he’s not done yet in capturing his fourth straight Diamond League title.
With Erik Sowinski dependably rabbiting and Stewart McSweyn following closely, the assurance of a fast race was high. Sowinski hit 400 in 55.29 followed closely by McSweyn (55.6), Ingebrigtsen (55.8) and Cheruiyot (56.0).
By the 800 (1:51.07), a gap had started to open up between that group and the rest of the field, led by Spain’s Mohamed Katir. At 850, Cheruiyot surged past Ingebrigtsen. He stayed on McSweyn’s shoulder around the turn, then passed him as they approached the bell (2:34.5).
Cheruiyot led past the 1200 in 2:49.33 (Ingebrigtsen 2:49.5). Katir and Olli Hoare had bridged the gap to the leaders and the 5 contenders sprinted down the backstretch.
The battle between Cheruiyot and Ingebrigtsen raged every remaining step of the distance, the Norwegian pulling nearly even on the final stretch. This time, Cheruiyot would not be headed. In the final steps, both started to lean early and the Kenyan ran into lane 2 to maintain his lead. Ingebrigtsen almost lost control of his stride, putting his hand on Cheruiyot’s shoulder to stay upright as they finished in 3:31.37 and 3:31.45.
Katir had gotten into 3rd on the last turn but McSweyn fought his way past him as did Hoare, the two Aussies going 3-4 in 3:32.14 and 3:32.66 (a PR for Hoare).
“We fight in every race,” said runner-up Ingebrigtsen of his rivalry with Cheruiyot.
“That was good but a very tight race,” noted the winner. “I need to defend my World title at next year’s championships. That is my target now, but I need to work out because I know Jakob is going to continue to get better.”
1. Timothy Cheruiyot (Ken) 3:31.37 (2:49.33); 2. Jakob Ingebrigtsen (Nor) 3:31.45; 3. Stewart McSweyn (Aus) 3:32.14; 4. Olli Hoare (Aus) 3:32.66 PR; 5. Mohamed Katir (Spa) 3:32.77; 6. Ronald Kwemoi (Ken) 3:33.34; 7. Charles Simotwo (Ken) 3:34.24; 8. Ignacio Fontes (Spa) 3:34.45; 9. Bethwel Birgen (Ken) 3:46.01;… rabbit—Erik Sowinski (US) (55.29, 55.78 [1:51.07]).
Men’s Steeple: Ignoring The Rabbit
A stiff 8-minute tempo was requested of pacemaker Wilberforce Kones, but when no one followed, he backed off. Still no one came after him, as the trail pack, led by Tokyo 4th-placer Getnet Wale, and then bronze medalist Benjamin Kigen, didn’t trail very well.
The pack was crowded, with Leonard Bett taking his turn at the front as everyone, including Olympic champ Soufiane El Bakkali, stayed close.
At 2K in 5:38.08, Kones still sported a significant lead, which encouraged speculation that just maybe this rabbit — who owns an 8:21.42 PR — was going to stay in the race.
Finally, with only 2 laps left, Kones veered off and left the lead to Wale and Bett. Kigen reclaimed the lead approaching the bell, followed by Wale, El Bakkali, Hillary Bor and Abraham Kibiwot. Those were the 5 contenders when with 300 left, Kigen launched a sprint that no one had an answer for. By the time he reached the water jump, his margin looked almost insurmountable.
El Bakkali started driving hard on the turn, moving into 2nd after the water and chasing Kigen down the straight. The Kenyan, however, had built just enough cushion to hold on to victory in 8:17.45, just ahead of El Bakkali’s 8:17.70. Kibiwot finished well for 3rd in 8:18.16.
“Today was not a matter of time, but it was a matter of winning,” said the victor. “I was comfortable all the time during the race. The pace was good for me and in the last lap I felt that I was still strong. On the home straight I felt Soufiane coming strong behind me, but I struggled and I fought. Normally I am not so strong on the last 100m, but I made it.”
1. Benjamin Kigen (Ken) 8:17.45; 2. Soufiane El Bakkali (Mor) 8:17.70; 3. Abraham Kibiwot (Ken) 8:18.16; 4. Leonard Bett (Ken) 8:20.20; 5. Getnet Wale (Eth) 8:21.11; 6. Takele Bikila Tadese (Eth) 8:21.68; 7. Hillary Bor (US) 8:24.81; 8. Ahmed Abdelwahed (Ita) 8:25.06; 9. Mohammed Tindoufti (Mor) 8:25.33;… rabbit—Wilberforce Kones (Ken) (2:46.62, 5:38.08).
Men’s 110 Hurdles: Allen Holds Off The Jamaicans
“When I start pretty well, I finish well,” said Devon Allen of his wire-to-wire win in 13.06, the No. 2 time in his career.
After local favorite Jason Joseph was tossed for a false start, the two Jamaicans, Olympic champion Hansle Parchment in 4 and bronze medalist Ronald Levy in 6, had an empty lane between them. Allen, the Tokyo 4th-placer, stood in 4, Daniel Roberts in 3.
At the gun, no one reacted faster than Allen’s 0.115. He translated that speed into the best start, reaching the first hurdle inches ahead of Parchment.
The two stormed down the track just ahead of Roberts and Levy, clearing the barriers cleanly. Parchment, however, could not make a dent in Allen’s lead, which started visibly growing after hurdle 7.
At the same time, Levy starting coming hard on the outside, passing Parchment before the last hurdle and running so close to Allen that it is impossible to say who led most of the final 10m.
At the line, the camera had the final say, calling Allen the winner by a mere 4-thousandths (13.053–13.057) over Levy, with Parchment 3rd in 13.17.
Said Allen, “I was trying to keep it clean and hopefully I can break 13 seconds in my next races [he has 2 more] and that would be a good sign for next year. To be honest, this has been my best season ever. I was most consistent, close to the PB so it was pretty good.”
(wind +0.6): 1. Devon Allen (US) 13.06; 2. Ronald Levy (Jam) 13.06; 3. Hansle Parchment (Jam) 13.17; 4. Daniel Roberts (US) 13.31; 5. Paolo Dal Molin (Ita) 13.43; 6. Finley Gaio (Swi) 13.72; 7. Koen Smet (Neth) 13.77;… fs—Jason Joseph (Swi).
Men’s 400 Hurdles: There Can Be Only One
All eyes, naturally, were on Olympic champion/WR holder Karsten Warholm. Chopping 0.84 from a 29-year-old standard in two whacks will do that for an athlete.
Also, a post-Tokyo flat 400 performance in Lausanne that lacked for oomph heightened curiosity.
Warholm won handily in 47.35 to claim his second DL crown. “I had a plan,” he said, “and my plan was to go very, very hard the first 8 hurdles.” After that he’d take it home. He followed his plan to a T after a pair of aborted starts, the second of which DQed Yasmani Copello.
After the gun that counted, Warholm blasted as is his wont and within about 8 seconds had gobbled the stagger from his lane 7 slot to Constantin Preis in 8.
The Norwegian touched down off hurdle 8 in 33.0, about a second off his scorching Tokyo touchdown. Into the straight off barrier 9, Warholm led Tokyo bronze medalist Alison dos Santos and Kyron McMaster in the lanes to his inside by a couple of feet. He charged, full of momentum, off No. 10 and passed the finish strip 3m ahead of dos Santos at 47.81.
“That was the important thing,” Warholm said, “to get the win — and to be able to do it was a big achievement for me. I think!
“I have few more small meets, and Nationals and those things, but this was my last one which was really important to win, and I am very happy to win it. I just want to go back to training — that’s what I love to do, and what I’ve got to do, but it’s also going to be very nice to have a break from competition.”
1. Karsten Warholm (Nor) 47.35; 2. Alison dos Santos (Bra) 47.81; 3. Kyron McMaster (BVI) 48.24; 4. Rasmus Mägi (Est) 48.84; 5. Constantin Preis (Ger) 49.08; 6. Ramsey Angela (Neth) 49.39; 7. Chris McAlister (GB) 49.73;… fs—Yasmani Copello (Tur).