Zurich, Sep 8 (AFP): Jamaican sprint queen Elaine Thompson-Herah will be one of 19 Olympic champions vying for prize money and glory in the Diamond League final in Zurich, just a month after the end of the Tokyo Games.
Thompson-Herah picked up three golds in the Japanese capital in the 100m, 200m and sprint relay, and will not have to face her compatriot and great rival Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in Zurich.
The Olympic champion timed the second fastest 100m ever run in Eugene last month, her time of 10.54sec just five-hundredths short of the record set by American Florence Griffith-Joyner in 1988.
Action at the bumper season finale gets under way on Wednesday, with the shot put, long jump, men’s and women’s 5000m and women’s high jump finals all to be held at the Sechselaeutenplatz square on the shores of Lake Zurich.
All 25 other finals are slated for Thursday at the iconic Letzigrund Stadium, where more than 20,000 spectators traditionally create a raucous atmosphere.
The winner in each discipline at the final receives $30,000 and a Diamond League trophy.
Norwegian Karsten Warholm takes to the track for the first time in the 400m hurdles since setting a sensational world record of 45.94sec when winning Olympic gold.
His American rival Rai Benjamin is absent, but Olympic bronze medallist Alison Dos Santos of Brazil will offer some competition.
Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas, another world record setter in Tokyo, will be in Zurich and is seemingly in good enough form to challenge the 15.67m mark she set in the triple jump.
Also present will be Sweden’s Armand Duplantis, at 21 already the dominant force in men’s pole vaulting.
A Diamond League winner at both Paris when he cleared 6.01m and Brussels (6.05m), the US-born vaulter tried on both occasions to get over 6.19m to better his own world record. He was not far away and it is surely now just a matter of time before he sets a new benchmark.
Ethiopian-born Dutch runner Sifan Hassan, who won two golds and a bronze in an unprecedented distance showing in Tokyo, races in the 1500m.
No Jacobs in 100m
The men’s 100m features a stellar field, albeit without Italy’s surprise Olympic champion Lamont Marcell Jacobs, who called an end to his season after the Games.
But American Fred Kerley and Canada’s Andre De Grasse, the silver and bronze medallists in Tokyo, and fourth-placed Akani Simbine of South Africa will be on the starting line.
Also present will be American Trayvon Bromell, who owns the fastest time of the year of 9.77sec but failed to make it past the semi-finals at the Olympics.
Bromell will take heart from finishing second behind Kerley at Brussels last week when all-rounder Kerley’s victory made him the first sprinter to win 100, 200 and 400m races in the Diamond League.
The women’s 200m features the prodigious talent of Namibian teenager Christine Mboma, a 400m specialist obliged to step down in distance due to World Athletics’ regulations on female athletes with high testosterone levels.
Mboma only made her first foreign trip in June. Two months later the 18-year-old claimed a surprise Olympic silver medal behind Thompson-Herah despite an ungainly start and sprinting technique.
She will again face Britain’s world champion Dina Asher-Smith, whom the Namibian beat in Brussels in her Diamond League debut last week.
Mboma’s teen compatriot Beatrice Masilingi, who was also barred from events between 400m and a mile, will push for a podium finish, along with Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson.