ZÜRICH, SWITZERLAND, August 31 — With the stadium packed and buzzing on post-WC energy, women’s Budapest champions found success more often than the men.
In the meet’s Thursday session in storied Letzigrund Stadium, Sha’Carri Richardson got things started against a field that included Olympic 100 champion Elaine Thompson-Herah just to her right in lane 5. ETH has pushed through injury issues this season and ran just a heats relay leg for Jamaica in Budapest. Still, a meeting between the current short dash queen and the 2-time 100 OG medalist veteran occasioned obvious interest. After Thompson-Herah won in their first two encounters in ’21 and ’22, Richardson had prevailed by 0.01 in their most recent matchup in Lucerne last year.
Richardson, showing no signs of a post-WC letdown, started well as did Budapest relay mate TeeTee Terry to her left and Kiwi Zoe Hobbs. Around 30m, though, world-titlist sharpness reemerged and Richardson tore away from the rest with unmatchable turnover to win by about a meter in 10.88. A photo-read was needed to separate Jamaican Natasha Morrison from Thompson-Herah, both at 11.00. Local fave Mujinga Kambundji came next at 11.08.
“I am feeling really good for being able to finish this season as fast as I can,” Richardson declared. “I am definitely grateful, and I am excited with the way this season is going. Today, I felt like I executed, and I felt good about my performance — my body felt very good afterwards, but, obviously there is still room to improve.”
Having for the first time carried peak performance late into an international campaign, Richardson made it clear this pleases her: “Honestly, just knowing that my training has gotten me here — physically training, mentally training, emotionally training myself — to understand what it takes to finish an entire season and beyond the World Championships. Everything has been for one, my mind, body, and soul.”
Of the other dash clash, the 200, to follow later in the program, Richardson said, “I like watching races. I like being in them, but sometimes it is better watching them.”
The half-lap for which Richardson was a spectator went decidedly the way of another Budapest winner, Shericka Jackson. The 2-time Worlds gold medalist — who had unfurled the No. 2 all-time clocking, 21.41, in Budapest — gobbled up the stagger to Budapest 5th-placer Darryl Neita by around 90m and proceeded to drop the field early in the straight.
At the line Jackson crossed in front by 3m, nearly half-a-second in front of Neita, 21.82–22.25. American Kayla White’s 22.33 carried her home ahead of Kambundji.
Jackson indicated she’s not yet ready to give in to late-season celebration. “I am OK,” she said. “I have two more races; my last one will be in Eugene [at the DL Final]. This full house is wonderful, I enjoyed the atmosphere a lot. I wanted to come out here and perform.”
The most closely-eyed matchup of Budapest champions came the evening before in Zürich’s Hauptbahnhof. Vaulters Katie Moon and Nina Kennedy — who in Budapest became the first two athletes to share a WC gold — this time met in the less traditional indoor venue of a train station. And not while hefting poles into a railway carriage.
With Sandi Morris — she of 2 indoor world crowns and 3 outdoor silvers — Switzerland’s Angelica Moser and Briton Molly Caudery also in the mix, Moon came in a bar higher than Kennedy and Morris at 15-3½ (4.66). As Kennedy had, she cleared on her first try. No one else got over on first.
Strategy came into play at the next setting, 15-7¼ (4.76). After Kennedy, and every other competitor still in it, missed her first attempt, Moon passed. Morris and then Kennedy made it over on third tries. Now there were three.
Locking into another duel, Kennedy and Moon both catapulted over 15-9¼ (5.81) on first. Morris, who had missed her initial attempt, proceeded to pass. So did Moon after Kennedy popped over 15-11¼ (4.86) on first. Moon, passing to the next bar, watched as Morris was unable to negotiate the height.
The next bar was 16-1¼ (4.91), PR territory for Kennedy, a centimeter higher than the lifetime best she had cleared in Budapest — also meet record altitude. The Australian sprang over it on first for the world lead followed by a Moon miss and pass to take her last two at 16-3¼ (4.96). Both her tries there were misses and Kennedy, already at personal max altitude climbed no higher either.
But a meet record at Weltklasse — that’s no joke. “I wanted to put on a good show tonight and I guess Katie and me did this,” Kennedy said. “The energy from the crowd helped me so much, the runway was so fast. I just wanted to have fun today. I was thinking that maybe 4.80 was possible or 4.85 — but 4.91!
“Katie pushed me to this height. I won here last year and now this year. The bar was in line with the [station’s] windows, so visually that was a challenge. But you have to embrace that. Now I will fly home to Australia before traveling to Eugene where I hope to win the final.”
In the steeplechase, as in Budapest, the finish order in front was Winfred Yavi, Beatrice Chepkoech, Faith Cherotich (Kenya) — yet with a much closer margin between the first 2, 9:03.19–9:03.70.
Although she fouled twice, Yulimar Rojas found greater consistency than at Worlds, three bounds beyond 15m, two of them at 49-8½ (15.15), as she won by more than a foot from Shanieka Ricketts.
ZÜRICH DL WOMEN’S RESULTS
100(-0.2): 1. Sha’Carri Richardson (US) 10.88; 2. Natasha Morrison (Jam) 11.00; 3. Elaine Thompson-Herah (Jam) 11.00; 4. Mujinga Kambundji (Swi) 11.08; 5. Shashalee Forbes (Jam) 11.12; 6. TeeTee Terry (US) 11.13; 7. Zoe Hobbs (NZ) 11.14; 8. Tamara Clark (US) 11.23.
200(-0.8): 1. Shericka Jackson (Jam) 21.82; 2. Daryll Neita (GB) 22.25; 3. Kayla White (US) 22.33; 4. Kambundji 22.46; 5. TeeTee Terry (US) 22.57; 6. Anthonique Strachan (Bah) 22.65; 7. Jenna Prandini (US) 22.78; 8. Tamara Clark (US) 22.94.
Non-DL 400: 1. Shaunae Miller-Uibo (Bah) 51.83; 2. Annina Fahr (Swi) 51.97.
800: 1. Laura Muir (GB) 1:57.71; 2. Catriona Bisset (Aus) 1:58.77; 3. Adelle Tracey (Jam) 1:59.05; 4. Nia Akins (US) 1:59.29; 5. Renelle Lamote (Fra) 1:59.33; 6. Raevyn Rogers (US) 1:59.35; 7. Audrey Werro (Swi) 1:59.50 PR; 8. Lore Hoffmann (Swi) 2:00.09; 9. Natoya Goule-Toppin (Jam) 2:00.10 (56.47); 10. Sage Hurta-Klecker (US) 2:00.51; 11. Halimah Nakaayi (Uga) 2:01.25.
St: 1. Winfred Yavi (Bhr) 9:03.19; 2. Beatrice Chepkoech (Ken) 9:03.70; 3. Faith Cherotich (Ken) 9:07.59 (6:05.58); 4. Luiza Gega (Alb) 9:09.64 NR; 5. Marwa Bouzayani (Tun) 9:11.98; 6. Zerfe Wondemagegn (Eth) 9:13.73; 7. Lomi Muleta (Eth) 9:14.66; 8. Olivia Gürth (Ger) 9:21.82; 9. Alicja Konieczek (Pol) 9:21.89 PR; 10. Peruth Chemutai (Uga) 9:23.79; 11. Courtney Wayment (US) 9:24.77;… rabbit—Fancy Cherono (Ken) (2:59.22).
100H(-0.2): 1. Danielle Williams (Jam) 12.54; 2. Alaysha Johnson (US) 12.58; 3. Keni Harrison (US) 12.59; 4. Tia Jones (US) 12.62; 5. Megan Tapper (Jam) 12.64; 6. Ditaji Kambundji (Swi) 12.73; 7. Nia Ali (US) 12.75; 8. Devynne Charlton (Bah) 12.75.
Non-DL 4 x 100: 1. Netherlands 42.86; 2. Switzerland 42.94; 3. Australia 43.21; 4. Finland 44.23.
PV(8/30; indoors @ Hauptbahnhof): 1. Nina Kennedy (Aus) 16-1¼ (4.91) NR (WL) (6, x W; in/out: =7, x W) (14-9½, 15-3½, 15-7¼ , 15-9¼, 15-11¼, 16-1¼, 16-3¼ [xxx]) (4.51, 4.66, 4.76 , 4.81, 4.86, 4.91, 4.96 [xxx]);
2. Katie Moon (US) 15-9¼ (4.81); 3. Sandi Morris (US) 15-7¼ (4.76); 4. Angelica Moser (Swi) 15-3½ (4.66); 5. Molly Caudery (GB) 15-3½ PR; 6. Elisa Molinarolo (Ita) 14-9½ (4.51); 7. tie, Tina Šutej (Slo) & Amálie Švábíková (CzR) 14-9½;… nh—Wilma Murto (Fin).
TJ: 1. Yulimar Rojas (Ven) 49-8½ (15.15) (49-2½, f, 48-2¾, 49-8½, f, 49-8½) (15.00, f, 14.70, 15.15, f, 15.15); 2. Shanieka Ricketts (Jam) 48-6 (14.78); 3. Liadagmis Povea (Cub) 48-4 (14.73); 4. Leyanis Pérez (Cub) 47-11¾ (14.62); 5. Thea LaFond (Dom) 47-3¾ (14.42); 6. Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk (Ukr) 47-1¾ (14.37); 7. Dariya Derkach (Ita) 46-6¼ (14.18); 8. Ottavia Cestonaro (Ita) 46-3½ (14.11); 9. Kim Williams (Jam) 45-1½ (13.75); 10. Keturah Orji (US) 44-5½ (13.55).