ATHLETICS: Warholm 46.92, Miller-Uibo 21.74, Echevarria 28-4 1/2 in sensational Zurich final

Karsten warholm (NOR) edges Rai Benjamin of the U.S. in the 400 m hurdles in Zurich (Photo: IAAF)

The IAAF Diamond League finals are supposed to be among the best meets of the year and the 2019 Weltklasse Zurich was all of that and more, with sensational marks in multiple event, topped by the fastest 400 m hurdles race of all time.

The final event on the program, the year’s leading performers were in lane seven – Karsten Warholm of Norway (47.12) – and lane five, with Rai Benjamin of the U.S. (47.16).

As usual, Warholm got out fast and had a small lead by the third hurdle. Benjamin stayed close and was within striking distance when they came off the curve and into the final straight. But Warholm held form and was able to hold on during the run-in, barely, to finish in 46.92, the second-fastest time ever run.

Benjamin was at 46.98, the equal-third-fastest time ever and the first time in history that two men have run under 47 seconds in the same race. The all-time list after Zurich:

46.78 ~ Kevin Young (USA) ‘92
46.92 ~ Karsten Warholm (NOR) ‘19
46.98 ~ Abderrahmane Samba (QAT) ‘18
46.98 ~ Rai Benjamin (USA) ‘19
47.02 ~ Edwin Moses (USA) ‘83 and Benjamin ‘18

Samba has been out with injuries, but Warholm and Benjamin are on a collision course at the World Championships in Qatar at the end of September, and the world record is clearly in jeopardy.

So much more to talk about:

Men/100 m: American phenom Noah Lyles continued to show his progress in the 100 m, as he got a good start, ran right with Justin Gatlin for the first 60 m and then ran away to a solid 9.98 win over Zhenye Xie of China (10.04). Gatlin couldn’t find a finishing gear in the final 25 m and faded back to fourth in 10.08, with Jamaica’s Yohan Blake third in 10.07.

Lyles punctuated his win with a “Letzigrund leap” into the stands a la the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field after his win.

Men/800 m: The education of Donavan Brazier of the U.S. appears just about complete. Initially a wild front-runner prone to collapsing in the stretch, he gauged the hot early pace in this race perfectly. Only sixth with 200 m to go as Botswana’s Nijel Amos was running away to another sensational time, Brazier moved into overdrive and passed three on the curve, then ran down Emmanuel Korir (KEN) with 80 m to go and finally got past the teeth-gritting Amos with less than 50 m left.

Donavan Brazier of the U.S. passes Nijel Amos (BOT) on the way to winning in Zurich (Photo: IAAF)

Brazier – bringing back memories of Dave Wottle in the 1972 Olympic 800 m – crossed in 1:42.70, the third-fastest performance in American history. Only record-holder Johnny Gray has run faster: 1:42.60 in 1985 and 1:42.65 in 1988.

Said the winner, “I was just nervous and was thinking what my coach told to get a good position and do all my best. I’m quite amazed about my result, I just did my job and gave everything i had to make it to first place.”

Men/Pole Vault: This is what we’re going to see for years to come. Sweden’s Mondo Duplantis was perfect through 5.83 m (19-1 1/2), with American Sam Kendricks having missed once. But when Duplantis missed all three times at 5.93 m (19-5 1/2), it opened the door and Kendricks jumped through it on his third try to win the event, leading to an ecstatic run toward the stands to the cheers of the Swiss crowd. Poland’s Piotr Lisek and American Cole Walsh tied for third at 5.83 m (19-1 1/2), a lifetime best for Walsh.

Men/Long Jump: Don’t go anywhere if Cuba’s Juan Miguel Echevarria is jumping. Wildly inconsistent, his first effort in Zurich was tremendous, measured at 8.65 m (28-4 1/2) and ending the competition in the first round. It’s the equal-sixth-best performance this century:

8.74 m (28-8 1/4) ~ Dwight Phillips (USA) ‘09
8.73 m (28-7 3/4) ~ Irving Saladino (PAN) ‘08
8.68 m (28-4 1/2) ~ Juan Miguel Echevarria (CUB)
8.66 m (28-5) ~ Louis Tsatoumas (GRE) ‘07
8.66 m (28-5) ~ Echevarria ‘18
8.65 m (28-4 1/2) ~ Ivan Pedroso (CUB) ‘00
8.65 m (28-4 1/2) ~ Echevarria ‘19

The rest of Echevarria’s series was pass, foul, pass, pass, foul. South Africa’s Ruswahl Samaai got up for second at 8.20 m (26-11).

Women/200 m: Could anyone stay with Shaunae Miller-Uibo (BAH), undefeated in this event since 2017. Answer: NO. She came off the turn just behind jet-starter Dina Asher-Smith (GBR) and then ran away from the field impressively in the final 50 m to finish in a world-leading 21.74, the equal-11th fastest time ever and the equal-fourth-fastest this century:

21.63 Dafne Schippers (NED) ‘15
21.66 Elaine Thompson (JAM) ‘16
21.69 Allyson Felix (USA) ‘12
21.74 Veronica Campbell-Brown (JAM) ‘08
21.74 Shaunae Miller-Uibo (BAH) ‘19

It’s the 12th straight win for Miller-Uibo in this event, dating back two years, but she won’t be able to run it at the World Championships because of the time schedule, with the 400 m being run at the same time.

Women/1,500 m: For a while it looked like Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba was going to run away from the field, but when the bell rang, there were six in the lead pack and the race was open. Dibaba still led, but then Dutch star Sifan Hassan moved into second place from German Konstanze Klosterhalfen with 250 m to go and moved into the lead with a half-lap remaining.

Hassan had the wheels on the final curve and strode away from everyone as Klosterhalfen gave chase and Dibaba faded. Hassan finished in 3:57.08, well ahead of a happy Klosterhalfen (3:59.08) and Canada’s Gabriela Debues-Stafford charged home third in a national record 3:59.99, ahead of Dibaba (4:00.86). American Jenny Simpson finished eighth in 4:03.50.

Women/3,000 m Steeple: Could anyone deal with Kenya’s world-record holder Beatrice Chepkoech? She went out fast, passing the pacesetter early in the race and was way out in front with two laps to go. But she was slowing; at the bell, however, she had a 50 m lead over Kenyans Hyvin Kiyeng and Emma Coburn of the U.S.

Chepkoech faded slightly, but had more than enough of a lead to win in 9:01.71, the 22nd-fastest time ever run. Kiyeng and Norah Jeruto moved strongly on the backstraight, as did Daisy Jepkemei (KEN: 4th) and German Gesa Krause (5th) while Coburn faded from third with 300 m left to sixth at the finish.

Women/400 m hurdles: World-record setter Dalilah Muhammad and young star Sydney McLaughlin hadn’t met since the USATF Nationals. Muhammad got out well again, but didn’t run away from McLaughlin as she did in Des Moines. Into the final straight it was McLaughlin who had the momentum and stormed to an impressive 52.85, a season’s best, with Muhammad fading to third (54.13) as Shamier Little came up for second at 53.86. That’s two wins in three tries for McLaughlin vs. Muhammad this season; the next one will be in Doha.

Zurich 400 m hurdles winner Sydney McLaughlin (USA) (Photo: IAAF)

Women/Triple Jump: A complete shocker, as Jamaica’s Shanieka Ricketts scored a lifetime best 14.93 m (48-11 3/4) on the final jump of the event to surprise world leader Yulimar Rojas (VEN), who took the lead herself in the sixth round at 14.74 m (48-4 1/2).

Women/Shot Put: China’s Lijiao Gong had the event in hand by the fourth round and won her third straight Diamond League title. But her 20.31 m (66-7 3/4) toss on her final throw extended her world lead and gave her a third straight Diamond League title. American Chase Ealey, quiet since her strong marks early in the season, set a lifetime best by a quarter-inch at 19.68 m (64-6 3/4), maintaining her position as no. 6 in U.S. history and claim second place.

There were four world-leading performances:

Men/400 m hurdles: 46.92, Karsten Warholm (NOR)
Men/Long Jump: 8.65 m (28-4 1/2), Juan Miguel Echevarria (CUB)
Women/200 m: 21.74, Shaunae Miller-Uibo (BAH)
Women/Shot Put: 20.31 m (66-7 3/4), Lijiao Gong (CHN)

The top eight places paid $50,000-20,000-10,000-6,000-5,000-4,000-3,000-2,000. The second Diamond League final comes on 6 September in Brussels (BEL). Summaries from Zurich.

IAAF Diamond League/Welklasse Zurich
Zurich (SUI) ~ 28-29 August 2019
(Full results here)

Men

100 m (wind -0.4 m/s): 1. Noah Lyles (USA), 9.98; 2. Zhenye Xie (CHN), 10.04; 3. Yohan Blake (JAM), 10.07. Also: 4. Justin Gatlin (USA), 10.08; … 8. Michael Rodgers (USA), 10.16.

800 m: 1. Donavan Brazier (USA), 1:42.70; 2. Nijel Amos (BOT), 1:42.98; 3. Brandon McBride (CAN), 1:43.51. Also: 5. Clayton Murphy (USA), 1:43.94.

5,000 m: 1. Joshua Cheptegei (UGA), 12:57.41; 2. Hagos Gebrhiwet (ETH), 12:58.15; 3. Nicholas Kimeli (KEN), 12:59.05. Also: 8. Paul Chelimo (USA), 13:14.18; 9. Ben True (USA), 13:18.27.

110 m hurdles (non-Diamond League; +0.8); 1. Pascal Martinot-Lagarde (FRA), 13.51; 2. David King (GBR), 13.58; 3. Cameron Fillery (GBR), 13.74 m.

400 m hurdles: 1. Karsten Warholm (NOR), 46.92; 2. Rai Benjamin (USA), 46.98; 3. Kyron McMaster (IVB), 48.58. Also: 5. David Kendziera (USA), 48.98; … 8. T.J. Holmes (USA), 50.00.

High Jump: 1. Andriy Protsenko (UKR), 2.32 m (7-7 1/4); 2. Brandon Starc (AUS), 2.30 m (7-6 1/2); 3. Tihomir Ivanov (BUl), 2.30 m (7-6 1/2). Also: 7. Jeron Robinson (USA), 2.24 m (7-4 1/4).

Pole Vault: 1. Sam Kendricks (USA), 5.93 m (19-5 1/2); 2. Mondo Duplantis (SWE), 5.83 m (19-1 1/2); 3. tie, Cole Walsh (USA) and Piotr Lisek (POL), 5.83 m (19-1 1/2). Also: 5. Chris Nilsen (USA), 5.73 m (18-9 1/2).

Long Jump: 1. Juan Miguel Echevarria (CUB), 8.65 m (28-4 1/2); 2. Ruswahl Samaai (RSA), 8.20 m (26-11); 3. Tajay Gayle (JAM), 8.20 m (26-11).

Javelin: 1. Magbus Kirt (EST), 89.13 m (292-5); 2. Chao-Tsun Cheng (TPE), 89.05 m (292-2); 3. Andreas Hofmann (GER), 87.49 m (287-0).

Women

200 m (-0.4): 1. Shaunae Miller-Uibo (BAH), 21.74; 2. Dina Asher-Smith (GBR), 22.08; 3. Elaine Thompson (JAM), 22.44.

400 m: 1. Salwa Eid Naser (BRN) 50.24; 2. Shakima Wimbley (USA), 51.21; 3. Lisanne de Witte (NED), 51.30. Also: 7. Kendall Ellis (USA), 51.92; 8. Jessica Beard (USA), 52.60.

800 m (non-Diamond League): 1. Eunice Sum (KEN), 2:00.40; 2. Kate Grace (USA), 2:00.66; 3. Hedda Hynne (NOR), 2:00.79.

1,500 m: 1. Sifan Hassan (NED), 3:57.08; 2. Konstanze Klosterhalfen (GER), 3:59.02; 3. Gabriela Debues-Stafford (CAN), 3:59.59. Also: 8. Jenny Simpson (USA), 4:03.50.

3,000 m Steeple: 1. Beatrice Chepkoech (KEN), 9:01.71; 2. Hyvin Kiyeng (KEN), 9:03.83; 3. Norah Jeruto (KEN), 9:05.15. Also: 6. Emma Coburn (USA), 9:10.01.

400 m hurdles: 1. Sydney McLaughlin (USA). 52.85; 2. Shamier Little (USA), 53.86; 3. Dalilah Muhammad (USA), 54.13. Also: 8. Ashley Spencer (USA), 56.90.

Pole Vault (non-Diamond League; held in train station): 1. Anzhelika Sidorova (RUS), 4.87 m (15-11 3/4); 2. Katie Nageotte (USA), 4.82 m (15-9 3/4); 3. Alysha Newman (CAN), 4.82 m (15-9 3/4). Also: 4. Sandi Morris (USA), 4.72 m (15-6 3/4).

Triple Jump: 1. Shanieka Rickets (JAM), 14.93 m (48-11 3/4); 2. Yulimar Rojas (VEN), 14.74 m (48-4 1/2); 3. Liadagmis Povea (CUB), 14.49 m (47-6 1/2). Also: 4. Keturah Orji (USA), 14.43 m (47-4 1/4).

Shot Put: 1. Lijiao Gong (CHN), 20.31 m (66-7 3/4); 2. Chase Ealey (USA), 19.68 m (64-6 3/4); 3. Christina Schwanitz (GER), 19.37 m (63-6 3/4). Also: 8. Jessica Ramsey (USA), 18.27 m (59-11 1/4).

Javelin: 1. Huihui Liu (CHN), 66.88 m (219-5); 2. Kelsey-Lee Barber (AUS), 64.74 m (212-5); 3. Nikola Ogrodnikova (CZE), 63.05 m (206-10).