Zurich stages the climax to this season’s premier elite athlete grand prix series on Wednesday and Thursday this week
The 2021 Diamond League season got off to an uncertain start with the first meeting in Rabat hastily moved to Gateshead due to the pandemic. Planned meetings in China were also called off, but many events on the calendar did manage to take place successfully and everything draws to a conclusion on Wednesday (Sept 8) and Thursday (Sept 9) in Zurich.
Athletes across 32 events will be battling for a $30,000 prize and a wildcard entry to the World Championships in Oregon next year. Wednesday’s events take place on the Sechseläutenplatz – a large square on the bank of Lake Zurich – with 5000m runners racing on a unique 560m temporary track with raised bends, whereas jumpers and shot putters will compete in a street athletics-style contest in front of around 2500 spectators.
On Thursday a further 25 finals will take place at the Letzigrund Stadium in front of an estimated 20,000 crowd as the Swiss city hosts all the Diamond League final events for the first time.
How to watch: For viewers in the UK the meeting is on BBC2, BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport website from 16:30-18:30 BST on Wednesday and 18:00-21:00 BST on Thursday. Keep an eye on AW’s social media channels and website for all the news, results and video interviews too.
Wednesday September 8
The meeting takes place around a month after the Tokyo Olympics finished and there are plenty of tired legs. These include Jakob Ingebrigtsen, who has decided to tackle the 1500m only in Zurich on Thursday instead of doubling in the 5000m on Wednesday too.
The longer race will still be a great contest though as Olympic 10,000m champion Selemon Barega takes on fellow Ethiopian Yomif Kejelcha among others. A number of British athletes are competing in Zurich as well and they include Andy Butchart in this event on what will be a surreal experience on a 560m outdoor track with banked corners.
Francine Niyonsaba will hope to continue her winning form in the women’s 5000m but is up against Olympic silver medallist and world champion Hellen Obiri plus Ejgayehu Taye.
Zurich will see many of the Olympic finals effectively re-run and these include the men’s shot put where gold medallist and world record-breaker Ryan Crouser takes on fellow American Joe Kovacs and New Zealand’s Tom Walsh.
The women’s high jump is similar with Mariya Lasitskene, Nicola McDermott and Yaroslava Mahuchikh renewing their rivalry.
In the long jump, meanwhile, Britain’s Jazmin Sawyers faces a strong field led by seven-metre jumpers Malaiko Mihambo of Germany and Ivana Španović of Serbia.
Timetable (local times – CEST)
16:55 Shot Put Women
16:55 Shot Put Men
17:35 5000m Women
17:50 High Jump Women
18:00 Long Jump Men
18:00 Long Jump Women
19:10 5000m Men
Thursday September 9
Elaine Thompson-Herah headlines a women’s 100m that includes Brits Dina Asher-Smith and Daryll Neita and Swiss sprinters Mujinga Kambundji and Ajla Del Ponte but Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is not racing.
Asher-Smith is entered to race the 200m too with fellow Brit Beth Dobbin although the favourite will be in-form Christine Mboma of Namibia.
Keely Hodgkinson and Jemma Reekie provide more British interest in the women’s 800m with the event including Natoya Goule, the Jamaican who beat Hodgkinson last week in Brussels. Elliot Giles goes in the men’s 800m as well.
Norwegian stars Ingebrigtsen and Karsten Warholm are both in action. The Olympic 1500m champion faces world champion Timothy Cheruiyot and Abel Kipsang of Kenya plus Stewart McSweyn of Australia.
Warholm races over 400m hurdles for the first time since his world record in Tokyo with Britain’s Chris McAlister among the entries.
Sifan Hassan, the Olympic 5000m and 10,000m winner, faces the athlete who beat her to the 1500m title in Tokyo – Faith Kipyegon of Kenya. Britain’s Katie Snowden is among the entries too.
Olympic pole vault champion Katie Nageotte of the United States faces fellow pole vault medallists from Tokyo, Anzhelika Sidorova of Russia and Holly Bradshaw of Britain, while 2016 Olympic champion Katerina Stefanidi of Greece adds to the quality.
The men’s pole vault is similar with Olympic champion Mondo Duplantis of Sweden facing Olympic silver medallist Chris Nilsen and world champion Sam Kendricks of the United States.
Triple jumper Yulimar Rojas is perhaps one of the strongest favourites of the two-day meeting. The question is not ‘will she win?’ but ‘can she improve her world record?’
In the women’s discus, Sandra Perkovic is looking for a record-equalling seventh Diamond League trophy but the Croatian faces Olympic champion Valarie Allman of the United States and Cuban Yaime Perez.
Elsewhere, the men’s 100m sees Andre De Grasse of Canada taking on Americans Fred Kerley and Trayvon Bromell among others. Marileidy Paulino leads a women’s 400m line-up that includes Britain’s Jodie Williams, while another Brit, Cindy Sember, is part of a women’s sprint hurdles field that includes Brussels winner Nadine Visser.
Timetable (local times)
18:15 Pole Vault Women
18:20 Discus Women
18:20 Discus Men
18:40 Triple Jump Women
18:40 Triple Jump Men
19:04 400m Women
19:15 400m Men
19:26 3000mSC Women
19:46 100mH Women
19:58 110mH Men
20:06 1500m Women
20:17 1500m Men
20:21 Pole Vault Men
20:22 Javelin Men
20:22 Javelin Women
20:25 High Jump Men
20:29 100m Women
20:38 100m Men
20:46 3000mSC Men
21:03 800m Women
21:13 800m Men
21:25 400mH Women
21:35 400mH Men
21:44 200m Women
21:52 200m Men
Entries and results, CLICK HERE