Thursday, August 29, 2019

Zurich Weltklasse Diamond League Finals

Karsten Warholm and Rai Benjamin 
Rewrite Record Book in Zurich

by Mark Cullen
copyright 2019. All Rights Reserved.

Karsten Warholm edged Rai Benjamin in the men's 400m hurdles Diamond League final in Zurich Thursday night.

But what an edge! The #2 time ever over the =3rd: 46.92 to 46.98. Warholm recovered from a stutter-step approach to the 9th hurdle to win by a close but convincing margin.

To put a finer point on it, they are both faster than Edwin Moses, whose PB and one-time world record stands at 47.02.
photo by Jiro Mochizuki
Shanieka Ricketts (Jam) won a dramatic triple jump final as defending world champion Julimar Rojas of Venezuela took the lead on her last jump, only to be pipped, as our European counterparts are wont to say, on her final jump, the very last of the competition. Rojas jumped 14.74 and seemed to have it won until Ricketts responded with a national record 14.93. "I do not yet know what I will do with the money," said Ricketts, underscoring the rarity of a triple jumper seeing a $50,000 payday.

Shaunae Miller-Uibo is the best women’s 200m runner in the world; she dominated a stellar field in 21.74, and yet she will not be able to run a 200/400 double due to an unfavorable World Championships time schedule. The single-session adjusted-for-heat Worlds schedule is more compact than the more traditional morning/evening sessions and therefore gives athletes fewer options when it comes to running multiple events.
Letzigrund Stadium, Zurich
Mark Cullen photo
Noah Lyles will not be in the 100m at Worlds after a decisive win here, as he has chosen to focus on the 200m. The surprise of this race was not so much Lyles' 9.98 win but Justin Gatlin's fading 4th in 10.08.

Donavan Brazier (US) gave the men’s 800m field plenty to think about for Worlds. Brazier scared Johnny Gray's American Record, missing it by .10 with his come-from-behind 1:42.70. Nigel Amos will be remembered for going out too fast and tying up badly down the stretch, but he still finished 2nd - thereby tying his worst place-finish of the year.

Brazier's win opens a 4th place on the US 800m squad, and the lucky winner of the new spot is Brannon Kidder of the Brooks Beasts. The top six were under 1:44, and the Doha race is beginning to look very much like it has the potential to come close to the 2012 Olympic greatest-ever men's 800m - in which Amos finished 2nd.

Much - too much - was made in the track press of Emma Coburn's attempt to break 9:00 in the steeplechase. It is beginning to take on uncomfortable parallels to Evan Jager's pursuit of sub-8:00. Better to focus on the competition and the place, and this just wasn't Coburn's day, as even she acknowledged. Gesa Felicitas Krause (Ger) ran an impressive PR/NR of 9:07.51, less than six seconds behind world record holder Beatrice Chepkoech's winning 9:01.71.

In the men's 5000m, Uganda's Joshua Cheptegai added the Diamond League title to his 2019 World Cross Country title. He ran away from a star-studded field and open a gap that could not be breached by the best runners in the world. When will they take him seriously? A world track title in Doha will make him hard to beat as male Athlete of the Year. His 12:57.41 was the only PB in the race - rather tasty frosting on this cake, if you ask me.

Sam Kendricks won the pole vault with a 3rd attempt clearance at 5.93, while Siffan Hassan and Kostanze Klosterhalfen gave the Oregon Project a 1-2 finish in the 1500.
Sifan Hassan and Kostanze Klosterhalfen celebrate 1-2 finish in 1500m
photo by Jiro Mochizuki
Chase Ealey (US) was a notable 2nd in the women's shot put in 19.68 behind Gong Lijao's world leading winner. Might the US have a World medal in the offing?

Cuba's Juan Michel Echavarria's winning long jump of 8.65 is a nifty meet record, Diamond League record, personal best, and form chart rewriter going into Worlds.

Sydney McLaughlin declared herself to be "shocked and amazed" as she turned the tables on world record holder Dalilah Muhammad in the women's 400m hurdles. Her 52.85 is a season's best and .65 short of Muhammad's standard.

At the end of this marvelous day, Warholm and Benjamin are joined in history as the first to break 47.0 in the same race. At the start of the day, Warholm's PB was .04 ahead of Benjamin's, 47.12 to 47.16.

Benjamin broke 47.0 and now is .06 behind.

What's a guy to do?!