Just days after the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, the first of the last two Diamond League finals took place in Zurich as athletes aim to end the season on a high. It was another avenue to win titles, with sixteen athletes winning Diamond Race trophies in their respective events.

It has been a good season for Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and she signed off the year in style winning the women’s 100m in 10.93s to take home the Diamond Race (DR) trophy. Coming into Zurich having 12 points on the log, Fraser-Pryce who last week successfully defended her World title in Beijing, only needed a Top 3 finish to win star prize.

There were concerns if Okagbare was going to feature as she had to withdraw from her 200m race at the World Champs with a reported Hamstring injury. However the African Record holder lined up and ran a very good race to finish 2nd in 10.98s and place 2nd in the overall standings with 10 points, behind Fraser-Pryce’s 16 points that got her the trophy.

Talking about a developing rivalry, Almaz Ayana and Genzebe Dibaba are both bringing a tasty appeal to the long distance races. Just as she did at the World Champs, Ayana made it a double over Dibaba, powering to victory in the women’s 3000m with a Meeting Record of 8:22.36.

It looked like Dibaba was going to avenge her 5000m loss, hanging in there with Ayana, but the latter didn’t give her any room to come in as there was little she could do with Ayana in the form of her life. Although Dibaba clinched the Diamond Race (DR) trophy having placed 2nd with 8:26.54, the expression on her face after the race summed up her disappointment seeing as she was beaten again by Ayana.
The men’s 400m provided another excitement with the quartet of: LaShawn Merrit, Kirani James, current world champion Wayde Van Niekerk and Isaac Makwala all lined up. However, it was the experienced Merritt who got the better of the field to win in 44.18s. James cliched the DR trophy with his 2nd place finish of 44.28s and Niekerk finished 3rd in 44.35s.

It has been an impressive second half of the season for Zuzana Hejnova, winning the women’s 400m Hurdles with a time of 54.47s. Having won the World title, she undoubtedly was the favourite and she responded with the win to take the DR trophy ahead of Jamaica’s Kaliese Spencer who finished 4th in the race. Despite her good start to the season, Spencer has not had a good 2nd half, even finishing out of the medals at the Championships.

Making his second appearance in the Diamond League this season, Nigeria’s Miles Ukaoma finished 6th in the men’s 400m Hurdles with a time of 50.08s. Kariem Hussein won the race in 49.16s.

Three Kenyans won the DR in their events. Jairus Kipchoge Birech finished 2nd in the men’s 3000m Steeplechase with a time of 8:15.64 which was enough to win him the trophy, while Eunice Sum who finished 3rd at the World Champs, got the better of Marina Arzamasova (World Champion) winning the women’s 800m in 1:59.14. However, the most impressive of the East Africans was Asbel Kiprop who yet again allowed his competitors to run themselves out as he stormed from behind to win the men’s 1500m in 3:35.79.

The biggest surprise of the night came from the loss of World Champion David Rudisha, who went out hard but couldn’t sustain the tempo in the men’s 800m. World Championships Silver medallist, Adam Kszczot won the race in 1:45.55 with Taoufik Makhloufi 2nd in 1:45.62. Last year’s winner, Mohamed Aman was 3rd in 1:45.83 as Rudisha came in 4th at 1:45.91.

Russia’s Sergey Shubenkov did it again, following up his win in Beijing to win the men’s 110m Hurdles in a time of 13.14s. Having lost his title to Shubenkov last week, America’s David Oliver finished 2nd in 13.30s and was able to secure the DR trophy.

 

Field Events:
Just days after leaping a National Record of 7.01m, Ivana Spanovic set a new one of 7.02m to win the women’s Long Jump in Zurich. Tianna Bartoletta who won a world title ten years after her first one, finished 2nd with 6.97m and secured the DR trophy. So was another world champion, Great Britain’s Greg Rutherford who matched Marquis Dendy’s 8.32m in his fifth attempt in the men’s Long Jump to be able to take home the trophy.

Piotr Malachowski survived a scare in the men’s Discus, leaving it late to produce a 65.04m in his final attempt which secured him 2nd place and enough to earn him 21 points, winning the title ahead of his compatriot, Robert Urbanek who won with 65.78m and finishing with 19 points.

She might not have won in Beijing, but World Record holder Barbora Spotakova won the women’s Javelin with her 64.31m attempt to win the trophy. Germany’s Christina Schwanitz won the women’s Shot Put with her 19.91m throw, and also the title.

Just as Mutaz Essa Barshim found some joy in the men’s High Jump, shaking off his poor form prior to the World Championships to win with his 2.32m clearance, taking the title ahead of Bohdan Bondarenko and Zhang Gouwei who both exited at 2.30m.

With the final Diamond League meet coming up next week in Zurich, many athletes are aiming to win more titles to end the season with some sort of fulfillment.

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