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 women’s races:
Women’s 100: A Third DL Crown For Thompson-Herah
Within just 27 days in July and August, starting with her repeat Olympic victory, Elaine Thompson-Herah had jetted to 3 of the fastest wind-legal 100 times ever. Here the 29-year-old Jamaican great added a runaway win in 10.65, to equal the No. 9 all-time mark.
Her dash at long last erased Evelyn Ashford’s 10.76 from ’84— a World Record at the time — as Weltklasse’s meet record.
“It has been a crazy season, a long one and a tiring one,” said Thompson-Herah after leaving Dina Asher-Smith (10.87), Ajla Del Ponte and Daryll Neita (both at 10.93) and the rest of the field in her wake. “I was so consistent because I was just keeping the faith in me and did not allow any negativity. I am really happy and grateful. I am tired now but this is my job.”
Starting in lane 4 with local heroes Del Ponte and Mujinga Kambundji to her right in 5 and 6 and Euro champ Asher-Smith to her left in 3, Thompson-Herah produced the fifth-fastest reaction time (0.139) but accelerated furiously through what looked to be the longest drive phase of the race. At 20m she ran even with Asher-Smith and American Javianne Oliver.
Though even with DAS, Kambundji, Neita and Oliver at 40m (5.1), Thompson-Herah glided away over the last 60. With no lean required, she finished 2m up on Asher-Smith, whose time was her seasonal best.
With an 0.6 wind behind the field, ETH’s time equated to 10.70 on the wind/altitude-adjusted compilation, a tie for the =No. 8 position.
“I have to give God thanks that I am healthy and that I could finish such a long season,” said Thompson-Herah, also won Diamond trophies in ’16 and ’17. “The audience was very warm and cheerful; I wished we had so many people to cheer in Tokyo on the finishline. This year, it was a long season with ups and downs, but next year the World Record is definitely on my mind.”
(wind +0.6): 1. Elaine Thompson-Herah (Jam) 10.65 (x, =9 W);
2. Dina Asher-Smith (GB) 10.87; 3. Ajla Del Ponte (Swi) 10.93; 4. Daryll Neita (GB) 10.93 PR; 5. Mujinga Kambundji (Swi) 10.94 PR; 6. Javianne Oliver (US) 11.02; 7. Natasha Morrison (Jam) 11.10; 8. Marie-Josée Ta Lou (CI) 11.22.
Women’s 200: Another WJR For Mboma
Barred from her previous flagship event, the 400, by DSD regulations, Christine Mboma continues to chart new waters in the 200. Exhibiting the same late-race strength she had in capturing Olympic silver, the 18-year-old Namibian claimed yet another World Junior Record.
In a depleted field that included only one other Tokyo finalist, Mboma drew lane 4, one inside Games 7th-placer Mujinga Kambundji. Outside of the Swiss were Mboma’s two biggest challenges, Tokyo 100 bronze medalist Shericka Jackson (6) and reigning world 200 champ Dina Asher-Smith (7).
Asher-Smith got out best and had a narrow lead over Jackson as they entered the stretch. As the Briton began to fade, Jackson stayed strong, but, predictably, Mboma was strongest of all, freight-training up the straight. She took over with perhaps 50m to go, but Jackson wasn’t through, pushing her all the way to the tape. The margin was just 0.03 for Mboma, 21.78–21.81, PRs for each.
“When I crossed the finishline, I did not know that I won,” said Mboma. “Then I just saw my name and I was like: ‘Wow, I won!’”
Mboma’s 21.78 clipped 0.03 off the World U20 Record she had set in Tokyo. She still has another year in the Junior ranks, but if she can learn to start and run the curve as well as she finishes, the WR period may well be within her grasp. Assuming that WA’s testo rules aren’t expanded to include the 200, that is.
(wind +0.6): 1. Christine Mboma (Nam) 21.78 NR, WJR (old WJR 21.81 Mboma ’21);
2. Shericka Jackson (Jam) 21.81 PR; 3. Dina Asher-Smith (GB) 22.19; 4. Mujinga Kambundji (Swi) 22.27; 5. Daryll Neita (GB) 22.81 PR; 6. Beth Dobbin (GB) 22.88; 7. Dezerea Bryant (US) 22.99; 8. Marije van Hunenstijn (Neth) 23.16.
Women’s 400: Hayes Strikes Back
After her 7th in Tokyo, Quanera Hayes came to Zürich looking for redemption. Having not won a race in 4 tries since her Olympic Trials victory, she knew it might be an uphill battle.
The American champ found herself in lane 7, with most of the heavy hitters out of her sight line. Silver medalist Marileidy Paulino in lane 5, Tokyo 4th-placer Stephenie Ann McPherson in 4. Jamaica’s Candice McLeod, the Tokyo 5th-placer, was in 8.
Hayes got out well but was by no means the fastest. In lane 1, Lieke Klaver led for the first half (23.7), with McPherson at 24.1 and Kaylin Whitney 3rd in the same time.
On the final turn, Hayes turned it on, moving from 4th to 1st, hitting 300 in 36.4. That put her a notch ahead of both McPherson and Paulino as Klaver started to fade hard.
Paulino’s normally fast finish wasn’t fast enough to catch the American, who clocked 49.88 to the Dominican’s 49.96. Sada Williams of Barbados caught McPherson on the line for 3rd, 50.24-50.25.
“It’s like a night and day difference here compared to Tokyo,” said Hayes, “Coming here and having this crowd and hearing everyone cheer. It really is a night and day difference. It’s amazing, truly amazing. I really was not expecting to run this fast. I was just praying to God I would come here and just run. Didn’t expect any kind of time. I’m glad I was able to give it to the crowd, and go after it.”
1. Quanera Hayes (US) 49.88; 2. Marileidy Paulino (DR) 49.96; 3. Sada Williams (Bar) 50.24; 4. Stephenie Ann McPherson (Jam) 50.25; 5. Candice McLeod (Jam) 50.96; 6. Natalia Kaczmarek (Pol) 51.00; 7. Lieke Klaver (Neth) 51.09; 8. Kaylin Whitney (US) 51.19.
Women’s 800: Hodgkinson Takes The Long Way
A crowded field of 10 went off at the gun and quickly bunched up behind rabbit Noélie Yarigo. Many of them were still around when the real racing finally began with 200 to go.
Yarigo’s 27.0 and 57.2 splits led the way after the first 200 and 400. After pacing the pack around the next curve she dropped out after 500m. Meanwhile, Natoya Goule had adopted a run-the-shortest-distance-possible strategy, latching onto a spot on the rail after the original break and never letting go.
Young Briton Keely Hodgkinson, on the other hand, moved onto the Jamaican’s right shoulder and spent much of the race running extra meters on the curves. When the bell rang, Goule was at 57.6, Hodgkinson and teammate Jemma Reekie at 57.8 and American Kate Grace at 57.9.
They remained in that order with 200 to go, Goule’s 1:28.6 putting her 0.1 up on the 19-year-old Hodgkinson. Around the final curve Grace pulled even with Reekie, and with 100 to go Goule and Hodgkinson were neck-and-neck with Grace now only 0.1 down.
With some 40m to go Goule’s tank began to run dry as Hodgkinson pulled away for a 1:57.98 win. Meanwhile, Grace continued her feverish charge to the wire, pulling even with Goule just inches from the line as they crossed in a decision the naked eye couldn’t discern, but the photo gave the decision to Grace as both were given 1:58.34s.
And that’s a wrap for Hodgkinson, who was emphatic in now being ready for a vacation in Greece. “I don’t want to see a track for those 10 days,” she said, “and I am leaving my running shoes at home.”
1. Keely Hodgkinson (GB) 1:57.98 (57.8/60.2); 2. Kate Grace (US) 1:58.34 (57.9/60.4); 3. Natoya Goule (Jam) 1:58.34 (57.6/60.7); 4. Jemma Reekie (GB) 1:58.61 (57.8/60.8); 5. Halimah Nakaayi (Uga) 1:58.89 (58.1/60.8); 6. Habitam Alemu (Eth) 1:59.48; 7. Catriona Bisset (Aus) 1:59.66; 8. Lore Hoffmann (Swi) 2:00.25; 9. Lovisa Lindh (Swe) 2:00.84;… rabbit—Noélie Yarigo (Ben) (57.11).
Women’s 1500: Kipyegon Makes It 3 In A Row
Like the men’s 1500, the women’s sparkled among the meet’s diamonds as a rematch of pitted rivals who had fought for Tokyo gold just over a month earlier.
The principals, Faith Kipyegon and Sifan Hassan, raced devil-may-care about the time: this was a footrace with crossing the line in front the sole objective.
So it was that the field ignored the 63.32 tempo set down by rabbit Chanelle Price over the first 400, opting instead to follow Tokyo 6th-placer Linden Hall as she split 64.2 and then 2:10.3 — some 8m behind Price with 700 remaining.
By the time Price pulled aside after 1000 (2:42.6) the gap had diminished to less than 5m. Over the next 100 Josette Norris, continuing a 1500 breakthrough she began at Pre, surged from 6th to 4th at the bell.
Around the curve and down the backstretch Norris chased Kipyegon and Hassan, eyes on their backs as the trio reached 200 to go. Then Kipyegon’s sprint for home proved unmatchable — for everyone.
As the legs of the two-time Olympic champ beat out a quick, powerful cadence, Hassan swung wide to try to pass on the final bend but could never shrink the margin to less than a foot and a half.
Hassan leaned before the line but crossed a meter behind Kipyegon. 3:58.33–3:58.55. Norris followed in 4:00.41, 0.34 off her PR set placing 3rd at Pre and well clear of Marta Pérez (4:01.94).
Dutch star Hassan got Kipyegon’s number by a spot at the ’19 World Champs and in their next meeting after that at the Florence DL in June. Kipyegon, 27, has won all three of their matchups since (Monaco DL, OG, DL Final).
Here again her closing figures told the tale: 14.1, 28.0, 58.4 to 14.2, 28.2, 58.6 for Hassan.
“We gave the leading girl a big gap,” said Kipyegon of her run to the second Diamond trophy of her career. “I was controlling the pace in front. I was confident that in the last lap I could do better and it worked.”
Said Hassan, “Faith Kipyegon, she is really one of the greatest athletes. Today was my last race and I wanted to give everything. And I did that and I am happy about it. After Tokyo I took a break and it was hard to get back mentally and physically. It was difficult.”
1. Faith Kipyegon (Ken) 3:58.33 (3:15.41) (14.1, 28.0, 58.4); 2. Sifan Hassan (Neth) 3:58.55 (14.2, 28.2, 58.6); 3. Josette Norris (US) 4:00.41 (15.2, 29.8, 60.3); 4. Marta Pérez (Spa) 4:01.94; 5. Helen Schlachtenhaufen (US) 4:02.30; 6. Linden Hall (Aus) 4:03.50; 7. Axumawit Embaye (Eth) 4:04.18; 8. Winnie Nanyondo (Uga) 4:04.80; 9. Katie Snowden (GB) 4:06.46; 10. Sarah Healy (Ire) 4:18.60;… rabbit—Chanelle Price (US) (63.32, 65.62 [2:08.94]).
Women’s Steeple: Tanui From The Front
On a streak of sorts after her 8:53.65 win at Pre, Norah Tanui ran to win, following rabbit Fancy Cherono through the K in 3:00.23 and staying in or near the lead for the entire distance.
At 3 to go, right when many expected Frerichs to attempt another bold mid-race move, she found herself boxed. When she got out a half-lap later, it was clear she was doing all she could to hold on.
Tanui passed 3K in 6:08.10 as Ethiopia’s Mekides Abebe, the Tokyo 4th-placer, moved up to challenge. Kiyeng responded, forcing herself into 2nd behind Tanui.
At the bell, Abebe bolted into the lead, but not for long. On the backstretch, both Tanui and Kiyeng jumped her, one on each side. Tanui caught a break when Kiyeng stumbled at the waterjump.
Frerichs, who had appeared to be struggling, suddenly found her kick and caught Abebe after splashdown and then nearly ran down Kiyeng. Tanui took the win in 9:07.33, with Kiyeng at 9:08.55 and Frerichs at 9:08.74. Abebe finished 4th in 9:09.59.
‘When I started I felt strong because I was well prepared,” said Tanui. “But I feared the Ethiopians. At the last hurdle I felt my body move, so strong, so I tried; I kicked and it worked. It is a surprise, but I was also well prepared.”
She clarified that she missed the Olympics because she is in the process of changing her nationality to Kazakhstan: “There were some issues.”
1. Norah Tanui (Ken) 9:07.33 (6:08.10); 2. Hyvin Kiyeng (Ken) 9:08.55; 3. Courtney Frerichs (US) 9:08.74; 4. Mekides Abebe (Eth) 9:09.59; 5. Celliphine Chespol (Ken) 9:10.26; 6. Winfred Yavi (Bhr) 9:12.41; 7. Peruth Chemutai (Uga) 9:20.16; 8. Roseline Chepngetich (Ken) 9:21.67; 9. Gesa-Felicitas Krause (Ger) 9:32.69; 10. Purity Kirui (Ken) 9:38.56;… rabbit—Fancy Cherono (Ken) (3:00.23).
Women’s 100 Hurdles: A Battle Of PRs
After a frustrating Olympic 4th, Tobi Amusan told herself, “If I didn’t get a medal in Tokyo, the least I can do is get a Diamond League Trophy — and I just did that!”
After a crowd-noise-caused “false start” resulted in a no-fault callback, things went off very evenly. Tokyo 3rd- and 7th-placers Megan Tapper and Gabbi Cunningham were first over the initial barrier, Amusan and Nadine Visser just a hair behind. Visser, 5th in the Games, continued to move well, perhaps briefly being in the lead before Amusan on her immediate left reclaimed it and by hurdle 6 was moving away.
Finish times were fast across the board as Amusan’s 12.42 (wind +0.4) was a PR by 0.06 and a new Nigerian Record. Visser’s 12.51 improved her Dutch Record by 0.07. Tapper’s 12.55 missed her PR by 0.02 in 3rd and American Payton Chadwick PRed at 12.62 in 4th.
Said Amusan, who was the ’17 NCAA champ for UTEP before turning pro after her sophomore year, “The hurdles is a very mental event, and my coach is always telling me I need to focus on myself and execute. Once you execute, you don’t have a problem going over the hurdles.”
(wind +0.4): 1. Tobi Amusan (Ngr) 12.42 NR; 2. Nadine Visser (Neth) 12.51 NR; 3. Megan Tapper (Jam) 12.55; 4. Payton Chadwick (US) 12.62 PR; 5. Cindy Sember (GB) 12.71; 6. Gabbi Cunningham (US) 12.79; 7. Luca Kozák (Hun) 12.90; 8. Ditaji Kambundji (Swi) 13.01; 9. Tejyrica Robinson (US) 13.70.
Women’s 400 Hurdles: Is This A Rerun?
Femke Bol and Shamier Little became quite the regular playmates in the Olympic year, the DL Final marking their fifth head-to-head of the season.
The result in Zürich followed the same general pattern as their earlier meetings in Stockholm, Székesfehérvár, Gateshead and Lausanne: they were evenly matched through much of the race, either being in a position to win as they entered the homestretch, but the Dutchwoman simply proving to be too smooth as the race wound down.
Here, Little was drawn in 3, a corridor inside Bol. The American was out fastest to the first hurdle and had an 0.1 lead over her rival as they started down the backstretch. But by the time they reached the halfway point Bol had reversed the margin.
Around the final curve Little pounded a little harder and pulled up to Bol’s side. They rose as one over hurdle 8, but Bol responded to have a fractional edge at barrier 9. And just like that it was over. In the last couple of strides to the final obstacle Bol remained smooth while Little started to look ragged. Bol pulled away easily on the run-in, scoring a 52.80–53.35 win.
“I am really happy,” said the winner, who had produced her third-fastest time ever. “Before the race I made a plan with my coach to get a good time and win with the MR and I got both. In the last 100m I was full of lactic acid, I had to push so hard. It is great to run such a time this late in the season.”
1. Femke Bol (Neth) 52.80; 2. Shamier Little (US) 53.35; 3. Anna Ryzhykova (Ukr) 53.70; 4. Viktoriya Tkachuk (Ukr) 53.76 PR; 5. Gianna Woodruff (Pan) 54.50; 6. Nnenya Hailey (US) 55.06; 7. Janieve Russell (Jam) 55.74; 8. Léa Sprunger (Swi) 55.87.