Six Olympic champions in six events on Sechseläutenplatz
All is ready for the second edition of Weltklasse Zürich on Sechseläutenplatz: Diamond Trophies will be awarded in two 5000m races, two shot put finals, the women’s pole vault and the men’s high jump.
Weltklasse Zürich on Sechseläutenplatz requires innovative infrastructure. The centrifugal forces developing in 5000m races or in the head-to-head wheelchair competitions, for instance, will be absorbed by the special temporary Conica track. So thankfully, there is no speed limit. The only restriction connected to the world’s longest track (560m): Any records athletes may set in the 5000m will not be ratified.
An aspect that does not dampen the excitement: Both athletes and fans are looking forward to two exciting 5000m finals. World champion Gudaf Tsegay (ETH) and Olympic champion Sifan Hassan (NED) will clash in the women’s race. The latter had come in sixth in Eugene, so, at this time, the odds may be in the world championship gold medallist’s favour. And there is world championship silver medallist and Commonwealth champion Beatrice Chebet (Ken), who will want to have a say in the outcome of the competition, as well.
Dominic Lobalu adds a Swiss touch to the line-up in the men’s race. A refugee from South Sudan, he has lived in St. Gallen for three years and has been training with the local club, together with coach Markus Hagmann. Their sessions seem to serve the purpose: Fans started to take notice, when Lobalu won the 3000m race at the Stockholm Diamond League meeting, in a sub 7:30 time, mind you. And he then went on to run an impressive 12:52.15 in the Brussels 5000m last week. Thus, Lobalu could be considered a secret favourite in the event on Sechseläutenplatz. In pole position to win, however, is Jacob Krop (KEN). The world championship silver medallist also holds the current world best performance. But it always seems wise to keep an eye on 10000m Olympic champion Selemon Barega (ETH) and 2021 winner Berihu Aregawi (ETH), as well.
US-American duel in the men’s shot put
Two of the three shot putters responsible for the US-American sweep in Eugene – naturally a very special highlight in championships on home soil – will compete on Sechseläutenplatz. Reigning Olympic and world champion and record holder Ryan Crouser seems to be the obvious favourite in the competition. However, when two Americans competed at Athletissima Lausanne recently, it was Joe Kovacs who prevailed. The field also includes Tom Walsh (NZL), 2017 world champion and fourth at the 2022 world championships. He will definitely want to intervene in the Crouser vs Kovacs duel.
US athletes have been at the centre of athletics attention in the women’s shot put, as well. In this case, it was Chase Ealey’s happy tears after her successful bid for the gold medal at Hayward Field. She claimed the title and was successful in the Diamond League, this year. Therefore, she plays the role of a top favourite on Sechseläutenplatz tomorrow. Her strongest opponent could be world championship bronze medallist and new European champion Jessica Schilder (NED).
Two reigning Olympic champions in the men’s high jump
Which Olympic champion is better rested after Gianmarco Tamberi’s (ITA) wedding? This may be the, maybe slightly unusual, question, when trying to predict the outcome in the men’s high jump. World champion Mutaz Essa Barshim was a guest at the European champion’s party. The two superstars get along very well, maybe also because they share the experience of becoming Olympic champion in Tokyo in 2021. This year, Barshim has had a better season so far. But of course, there is also world championship bronze medallist Andriy Protsenko (UKR), who will want to have a say in the matter.
An indoor world champion, the new European champion, and an experienced star?
World championship silver medallist Sandi Morris (USA) leads the field in the women’s pole vault. She is the only athlete to have cleared the 5m – and she is well known to the Zurich fans thanks to her appearance in the closing show. Together with 200m world champion Noah Lyles and the Baba Shrimps, she had performed the Weltklasse Zürich song “Souvenir”. Her best performance this season, 4.85m, is the same as Wilma Murto’s. Can the new European champion from Finland outjump Morris? And how will the experienced Katerina Stefanidi, Greece’s 2016 Olympic champion, fare? Swiss fans set their hope on European indoor champion Angelica Moser, of course. She is a member of the Zurich athletics club.