No fewer than 14 newly crowned Olympic Champions will be gunning for a perfect climax to their outdoor season, when the first leg of the Diamond League final takes center stage at Weltklasse Zürich on Thursday, Sept 1st.
These Champions will be going up against other Olympic medallists in what could be another rematch since the Rio Olympics, with the first 16 of 32 Diamond Race Champions being crowned in the Swiss city and going to get $40,000.
More interesting is the fact that the winners in Zürich will be awarded double points, a factor that could spring up surprise Diamond Trophy winners.
Top on the list of clashes is the women’s 200m, where four of the fastest women in history will go against each other, not just for the maximum points but to have the bragging rights as well.
New sprints sensation Elaine Thompson, will head the list having a Season’s Best (SB) of 21.78s which she ran to secure Double Sprints victory at the Olympic Games.
The Jamaican will be aiming to build on her Rio win when she squares up against Dafne Schippers who already leads the event Diamond Standings with an unassailable margin. Both women will also be on the look-out for specialist in the event/Olympic 400m Silver medallist, Allyson Felix not also forgetting veteran Veronica Campbell-Brown.
Olympic 3000m Steeplechase Champion, Ruth Jebet proved that her record breaking performance in Rio was no fluke, as just few weeks later at the Paris Diamond League, she clocked 8:52.78 to smash the World Record (WR).
The Bahrain youngster currently holds three of the four fastest times in Steeplechase history, all set this year and will be hoping to go under the 9 minutes mark once again or even surpass her WR, to crown her outstanding season with a Diamond Trophy.
She currently tops the standings with just four points ahead of Kenya’s Hyvin Kiyeng, which puts her in a tight position of not being crowned the Diamond Champion, if she makes a mistake by losing to the World Champion.
Another WR holder who will be on the spotlight is Kendra Harrison, in the women’s 100m Hurdles. Although she has already been declared as the Diamond Champion leading the standings with perfect points, but after missing out on the Olympic Games, the American will be gunning for another perfect run to cap off her unbeaten Diamond League season.
South Africa’s Caster Semenya, has won every 800m race she has competed in this year. The Olympic Champion takes the top position with just two points ahead of Silver medallist, Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi.
This leaves the race open, where a win is all that is needed, meaning one can only expect a fast race when both women line up on the track at the Swiss stadium.
Meanwhile in the men’s 100m, it’s expected to be a stiff contest where all athletes in the field are favourites for the maximum points. African Champion Ben Youssef Meite, currently has the brightest chance of taking home his first Diamond Trophy, if he gets a win or at least a second place finish.
The closest to upsetting his lead are USA’s Micheal Rodgers and European Champion, Churandy Martina who will both be gunning for maximum points as well to have their name on the trophy, while Jamaican pair of Asafa Powell and Omar Mcleod, although out of the Trophy Race won’t be push overs for the top three positions.
Olympic Champion Kerron Clement, World Champion Nicholas Bett, and Puerto Rico’s Javier Culson, will be going head to head in the men’s 400m Hurdles for a chance to walk away with the prize money.
Clement currently tops the standings with just 6 points ahead of Culson, while Bett will be hoping that the duo don’t get to finish in the top two, if he gets the win. This puts the race as a top notch one, where the winner takes it all.
Great Britain’s Laura Muir, produced the biggest upset at the Diamond League in Paris, when she handed Olympic Champion, Faith Kipyegon her first defeat this year in the women’s 1500m, clocking a World Lead (WL), Personal Best (PB) and National Record (NR) of 3:55.22.
Although the Kenyan leads the standings with 8 Points, the British athlete might just be in for another upset by claiming her first Diamond Trophy.
In the men’s Pole Vault, World Record holder, Renaud Lavillenie will be gunning for his seventh consecutive Diamond Title in Zurich, thereby being the first man in history to achieve the feat.
The Frenchman will be going for an Olympic re-match and probably a revenge on Brazil’s Thiago Braz, who was the surprise GOLD medallist in Rio.
Christian Taylor is another Olympic Champion that’ll be present in Zürich, aiming to defend his Triple Jump Diamond Trophy against a respectable field that includes Cuba’s Alexis Copello, teammates Chris Bernard and Omar Craddock.
Other Olympic Champions gunning for the Diamond Trophy are: Thomas Rohler (Men’s Javelin Throw), Ruth Beitia (Women’s High Jump) and Sandra Perkovic (Women’s Discus Throw).