ZURICH: Mondo Duplantis, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Noah Lyles showed off all their pedigree by setting meet records en route to victories at the Diamond League final in Zurich on Thursday.
Duplantis, after a rare defeat in Brussels last week, gave a masterclass in pole vaulting at a 25,000 sell-out Letzigrund Stadium, the Swede eventually winning with 6.07 metres.
“To end like this and be able to walk away with a win — my second Diamond League trophy and another meeting record — it is the perfect cherry on top,” the US-born Swedish vaulter said.
Fraser-Pryce stormed back to “remarkable” winning ways in the 100m having also suffered a rare blip in the Belgian capital.
The 35-year-old Jamaican clocked a meet record-equalising 10.65 seconds, just 0.03sec off her personal best and the seventh time this season she has gone under 10.70.
“This was remarkable, 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,” she said.
Lyles smashed Jamaican legend Usain Bolt’s 10-year-old 200m meet record by 0.14sec as he scorched through for victory in 19.52sec.
“Breaking the meet records and beating the fastests in the world, that’s what it’s all about. It just takes another year to run even faster,” said the two-time world 200m champion.
That top trio of athletes was part of 19 reigning Olympic champions, 21 world champions and 20 European champions in individual events on show for the final, a true feast of the highest-quality track and field.
Athletes were competing to bag a Diamond Trophy and prize money of $30,000, while in addition there were wildcard entries up for grabs for next year’s World Athletics Championships in Budapest.
World 200m champion Shericka Jackson made sure of a Jamaican one-two in the women’s sprint events as she blasted to a 21.80sec victory in her preferred distance after coming second behind Fraser-Pryce in the blue riband event.
In the absence of 400m hurdling compatriot Karsten Warholm, Jakob Ingebrigtsen was left flying Norway’s flag and duly made no mistake in the men’s 1500m, outsprinting the field to deprive Kenya’s Timothy Cheruiyot of a sixth consecutive Diamond League Final win.
Ingebrigtsen, the world 5,000m champion and Olympic and European 1,500m gold medallist, looked in electric form as he strode through the line in a world-leading 3:29.02.
“I am happy with tonight and also with the season overall. There are always things you can improve. You can always get better and I will try to do that,” the Norwegian said.
The men’s 400m hurdles were won by Brazil’s Mr. Consistency, Alison Dos Santos, in 46.98sec, leaving him unbeaten this season in the event in which he was also crowned world champion in Oregon.
Femke Bol of the Netherlands, a three-tme European gold medallist in Munich, easily won the women’s one-lap hurdles.
There was a treble Kenyan middle-distance triumph as Faith Kipyegon won the women’s 1,500m and Mary Moraa claimed the 800m title.
There was followed by world champion Emmanuel Korir producing a stunning burst to win the men’s 800m in 1:43.26.
Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan lived up to her billing as 100m hurdles world champion and world record holder by storming to a meet record of 12.29sec, smashing Gail Devers’ 22-year-old mark.
Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas was again a class apart in the triple jump, winning in 15.28m to retain her Diamond title, while Cuban Andy Diaz Hernandez snatched victory in the men’s jump-off from Portugal’s world and Olympic champion Pedro Pichardo.
Grenada’s three-time Olympic medallist Kirani James, in 44.26sec, and Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic, in a personal best of 48.99sec, won the 400m titles respectively.
The men’s 100m was taken by American Trayvon Bromell in 9.94sec, the sole sprinter to go sub-10sec, while teammate Grant Holloway raced to a 13.02sec victory in the 110m hurdles.
And Ukraine’s Yaroslava Mahuchikh capped off a season in which she won the world indoor title in Belgrade back in March by triumphing in the high jump with a best of 2.03m.
CHOPRA WINS FIRST DIAMOND LEAGUE TROPHY
Breaching the 90m mark would have been the icing on the cake but Olympic javelin champion Neeraj Chopra is far from disappointed having become the first Indian to win the Diamond League trophy.
The mop-haired 24-year-old fouled his first attempt but secured victory with his second throw measuring 88.44m under overcast conditions.
Czech Jakub Vadlejch finished second behind Chopra like in the Tokyo Olympics with a best attempt of 86.94m, while reigning European champion Julian Weber of Germany came third with 83.73m.
In a video conference with the Indian media on Friday, Chopra said he was not disappointed at falling short of the 90m mark.
“It is a magical mark, it’s a barrier, but let’s say I hit the 90m mark and do not win a medal, then what is the point?” he said.
“Winning a medal is the main thing, not the distance. I’m rather happy that I have been so consistent this season.
“I am under no pressure to breach the 90m mark. It will happen when it has to.”
Chopra, who has a personal best of 89.94m, took heart from his return from a groin injury that kept him out of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
The trophy wrapped up a memorable season for Chopra, who also became the first Indian to win a silver at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene in July.
Published in Dawn, September 10th, 2022