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News - 27.08.2013

Weltklasse Zürich 2013: Event by Event (as at: Tuesday, 27 August 9 pm)

The Weltklasse Zürich international programme of events will include the following 17 star-studded highlights.

Discus throw men (Thursday, 6.10pm): Another triple success for Robert Harting?
The men’s discus throw will be a remake of the Moscow final. Seven finalists of the world championships will enter the ring, including all medallists. Piotr Malachowski (POL), the runner-up in Moscow, needs to place second again in order to win the Diamond Race. Triple world champion Robert Harting (GER) could become a triple Zurich winner and win his first diamond. So far, he has won 40 out of 55 duels against Malachowski. If the two eternal rivals fail, world championship bronze medallist Gerd Kanter (EST) could be the one who laughs best.

Long jump men (Thursday, 6.15pm): New stars and a farewell
Former high jumper Alexandr Menkov of Russia had his timing right: a personal best performance (8.56m) at the world championships, in front of his home crowd. The first European long jump world champion ever won 4 Diamond League competitions this year, and will definitely pick up a diamond. The six world championships finalists who are lining up against him will be a tough challenge, nevertheless. The list of his opponents includes silver medallist Ignisious Gaisah (NED) and Luis Alberto Rivera Morales (MEX), the very first Mexican world championship medallist in a field event. 2004 Olympic champion and four-time world champion Dwight Philipps (USA) will conclude his successful career at Letzigrund Stadium this year. In contrast, Yves Zellweger, the fourth Swiss athlete to break the 8-metre barrier will make his debut at Weltklasse Zürich, one year prior to the European championships.

Pole vault women (Thursday, 7.05pm): Yarisley Silva would like to add a diamond to her bronze medal
USA vs. Cuba – or Olympic champion (Jennifer Suhr) vs. Olympic silver medallist (Yarisley Silva). Silva will enter the competition with the confidence of a world championship bronze medallist, a world leader, and a Diamond Race leader. Suhr, on the other hand, is a world championship silver medallist and world indoor record holder (5,02m). Silva will of course try to win the competition and add a Diamond Trophy to her medal. But this may be a tricky task to tackle: Silke Spiegelburg (GER), fourth in Moscow, lies in wait after her win in Stockholm. Swiss national record holder Nicole Büchler and Anna Katharina Schmid will be the two local heroes to measure up to the world’s pole vault elite.

1500 m wheelchair men (Thursday, 7.32pm): An extended victory lap
Honour to whom honour is due: Marcel Hug was the star of the IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon this year. He won the title in as many as five events: 400m, 1500m, 5000m, 10000m, and the marathon. And he added an 800m silver medal to his triumph. Last year, the wheelchair athletes had missed Weltklasse Zürich because of the Paralympics. They are back for an exciting race at Letzigrund Stadium. It will be one long victory lap for the five-time world champion. He plans to enjoy the race – and to win it.

High jump men (Thursday, 8pm): Will Bohdan Bondarenko fligh high again?
Javier Sotomayor (CUB) probably held his breath several times this summer. For whenever there was an opportunity, Bohdan Bondarenko tried to break the Cuban’s 20-year-old world record of 2.45. The 24-year-old Ukrainian high jumper came close in Lausanne, where he cleared 2.41m. And he tried again in Moscow. The attempt failed, but his result - 2.41m - was a world championship record. Now, back in Switzerland, the current dominator of the event will definitely try to jump high. Mutaz Essa Barshim (QAT) will be one of his toughest opponents. The young silver medallist (22) can jump 2.40m himself. Seven world championship finalists will guarantee an exciting, high-level event.

400m hurdles women (Thursday, 8.05pm): Another Zuzana Hejnová solo?
Zuzana Hejnová (CZE), 2012 Olympic bronze medallist, has been running in a league of her own this season. She won six IAAF Diamond League races and an almost logical title in Moscow. The 2013 diamond trophy will be hers, as well. The question to ask in her race seems to be: By what margin will she win this time? In Moscow, she ran a world leading time of 52.83, beating her runner-up by 1.26 seconds. In Stockholm, she won by 1.18 seconds.

Javelin throw women (Thursday, 8.10pm): A title, a diamond – and a third win at Weltklasse Zürich?
Christina Obergföll (GER) won silver and bronze Olympic medals, and two silver medals from world and European championships. But never a title. It must have felt like a curse had been lifted, when she was handed her very first gold medal in Moscow. As a consequence, her fiancé, two-time world championship bronze medallist Boris Henry, will take her last name after their wedding in September. Even though, the world champion is uncatchable in the Diamond Race, she will definitely try to win her third Weltklasse Zürich event in a row. However, former world champion and world leader Mariya Abakumova (RUS) will give it her best to be a spoilsport.

5000m women (Thursday, 8.13pm): Defar vs. Dibaba - the first encounter in more than a year
They had avoided each other at the world championships in Moscow: Tirunesh Dibaba (ETH) won her fifth world championship gold medal in the women‘s 10 000, and Meseret Defar (ETH) took her second 5000m title. In Zurich, the best female long distance runners of our time will line up against each other for the first time since the Olympic Games in London. Defar (1.) defeated her fellow countrywoman (3.) by a small margin in the 5000m final on that occasion. However, Dibaba leads 12:11 when looking at their head-to-head record. To snatch the diamond from her colleague, Dibaba will have to beat Defar and place among the top three athletes. Her little sister, Genzebe Dibaba, will be in the race, as well. And so will five US American runners, including Molly Huddle, who will try to break the 3-year-old national record (14.44.76).

800m men (Thursday, 8.34pm): A win for team USA after 20 years?
Even though there is no Diamond Race in the men’s 800m, four Moscow finalists will compete in what will be an exciting trial of strength. The start list includes world leader Duane Solomon (USA) and also Nick Symmonds (USA) whose silver medal has been the first world championship medal in the men’s 800m for the team of the United States. In addition, there will be Brandon Johnson, a former 400m hurdler (silver medallist at the 2004 world junior championships) and third at the US trials this year. In Zurich, a new generation of American 800m runners will try to win the event for the first time in 20 years. 18-year-old Olympic bronze medallist Timothy Kiptum (KEN) did not qualify for Moscow. To him, the race at Weltklasse Zürich will definitely be a highlight of the season. Finally, former European champion and world championship fourth Marcin Lewandowski (POL) will try to keep the long tradition of brilliant European 800m runners alive.

Long jump women (Thursday, 8.35pm): Showdown between Brittney Reese and Blessing Okagbare
Her dream of winning her third consecutive world championship title was almost over. But then Brittney Reese snatched the last spot in the Moscow final with a jump of 6.57m,  and only thanks to a better second attempt. Once in the final, the Olympic champion rose to the challenge.  She was the only athlete breaking the 7-metre barrier with her 7.01m jump, beating Blessing Okagbare (NIG) only by 2 cm.  Both of them won two Diamond League events and placed second twice. Even though Okagbare, who is also the world championship bronze medallist in the 200m, could try to win a diamond in the sprint event, she decided to concentrate on long jumping in Zurich. Swiss national record holder Irene Pusterla, who placed third at Weltklasse Zürich 2010, will be competing in the international programme of the meeting for the fourth consecutive time.

200m women (Thursday, 8.44pm): A diamond for triple world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce?
Her triumph at the world championships matched the one of her famous fellow countryman. Just like Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (JAM) won three titles – in the 100m, the 200m and with the 4x100m relay team. “Pocket Rocket’s” pink hairdo got everybody’s attention, and was an effective reference to her hair salon in Kingston.  Murielle Ahouré (CIV) will probably be her toughest adversary when it comes to the Diamond Race once again. The double silver medallist may be out for revenge. If she wins, the diamond will be hers. 21-year-old double national champion Mujinga Kambundji will be looking forward to meet the fastest in the world again after the world championship heats.

1500m men (Thursday, 8.51pm): Another high-level race for Giraffe
His height (1.88m) and his majestic running style earned Asbel Kiprop (KEN) the nickname “Giraffe”. He stands out in any 1500m field. He is both the tallest and usually the fastest man in the race. In Monaco, the 2008 Olympic champion ran 3:27.72, the fastest time any athlete clocked since 2004 (Bernard Lagat 3:27.40/Hicham El Guerrouj 3:27.64 in Zurich). In Stockholm, the first race after the second world championship title, Kiprop had to make do with the sixth position, a result that slowed him down in the Diamond Race. He will not be able to catch up with 800m world championship bronze medallist Ayanleh Souleiman (DJI), who will pick up the diamond on Thursday. With his bronze medal at the 2011 world championships and a silver medal in 2013, US runner Matthew Centrowitz is slowly approaching the phalanx of African top middle distance runners. 

110m hurdles (Thursday, 9.02pm): Champions vs. record holders 
31-year-old David Oliver (USA) had to wait quite some time before he could pick up his first world championship title. Winning in Moscow was the first of two major goals for his season this year. The Arsenal fan, who loves chocolate and feels at home in Zurich, would like to conclude the summer by winning a diamond. The race will be challenging, as he will be facing six world championship finalists, including world record holder Aries Merritt (USA), and 2008 Olympic champion and former world record holder Dayron Robles (CUB). For once, however, Olympic champions and world record holders will have to try and seize their role of outsiders...

800m women (Thursday, 9.10pm): A diamond for the winner 
She surprised everyone at the world championships: Eunice Jepkoech Sum (KEN) took the title, maintaining Kenya’s dominance in the 800m. Pamela Jelimo missed the championships because she became a mother, and Janeth Jepkosgei has been injured. Jepkoech Sum, a cousin of 2007 world champion Alfred Kirwa Yego, is a former handballer and only took up running after giving birth to her daughter four years ago. With Janet Jepkosgei as her mentor, she qualified for the world championships in 2009 (800m) and for the Olympic Games in 2012 (1500m). In Zurich, the new world champion will be facing five Moscow finalists, including Olympic and world championship silver medallist Mariya Savinova. The winner of the race will be rewarded with a diamond. U23 European championship bronze medallist Selina Büchel, had been successful in the national programme in 2012. This year, the young Swiss talent will gather experience in her first appearance on the big stage.

400m men (Thursday, 9.20pm): James vs. Merritt 
It was a considerable blow and a downer when young Olympic and former world champion Kirani James (GRN) had to pass on the crown to 2008 Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt (USA) who is six years his senior. Merritt had wrestled all his competitors down in the Moscow final, running a world leading time of 43.74 and taking the title for a second time after 2009. 21-year-old James ended up coming in seventh. He returned home to the island of Grenada in the Caribbean Sea and rested to gain new energy for the showdown at Letzigrund Stadium. When looking at their head-to-head record, James is leading 5:3. In the hunt for the diamond, he is merely two points ahead of Merritt. Merritt and James will be joined by four world championship finalists in their Weltklasse Zürich race.

100m Men (Thursday, 9.28pm): Two European sprinters to challenge the king of sprint  
Gold medals number 6, 7, and 8 made triple world record holder Usain Bolt the most successful world championship athlete of all times, overtaking the legendary Carl Lewis.   Over the course of his career, Lewis had won eight times in Zurich. Bolt will compete for the sixth time at Letzigrund Stadium, and he could score his fourth win this year. In addition to four top sprinters from Jamaica and three stars from the USA, there will be two European talents lining up for the race: 21-year-old Jimmy Vicaut (FRA), who ran his first sub-10-second time this year and 19-year-old Adam Gemili (GBR), who broke the 20-second barrier in the 200m. Gemili had been invited to run in the A race last year, but had not felt quite up to the challenge yet at the time...

3000m Steeplechase men (Thursday, 9.35pm): Battle of the generations 
Whenever there is a title in store, Ezekiel Kemboi (KEN) seems to be among the contenders. With his two Olympic and three world championship gold medals, he is the most successful athlete in the 3000m SC. His fellow countryman, young Conseslus Kipruto may have travelled to Moscow unbeaten and as a Diamond League leader, but it was his experienced colleague who took gold again, leaving him with the silver medal. In Zurich, Kipruto will step on the track knowing that he needs a place in the top three in order to win the Diamond Race. Kemboi, however, would like to win for the fourth time at Weltklasse Zürich, and to dance with the crowd again. Mahiedine Mekhissi Benabbad (FRA), European record holder, Olympic silver medallist and world championship bronze medallist will try to spoil the party. He is currently the only white athlete who can be a match in this specialty event of East African runners.

4x100m Women (Thursday 9.50pm): a prestigious premiere at the Zürich Trophy 
After six years, the Zürich Trophy will be a women’s relay race for the first time. Once again, the event will wind up the evening’s programme of events. One year prior to the European athletics championships at Letzigrund Stadium, the race will be an ideal indicator for the successful Swiss national team (a top 16 team in the past two years). They will line up against the superpowers of sprint – Jamaica with Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and the US – and the European top teams of Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Italy, and Ukraine. Which squad will be the very first women’s team to win the Zürich Trophy?

At the IAAF Diamond League final events, athletes can score double points. 8 points will be awarded to the winner of a Diamond Race, 4 points to the athlete placing second, and 2 points to the athlete placing third. At level score and the same number of wins, the better result at the final event will count. Athletes are required to compete at the Diamond League final events in Zurich or Brussels to win a Diamond Race.