Zurich Weltklasse: Karsten Warholm and Rai Benjamin BOTH Go Sub 47, Joshua Cheptegei Steals 5000, Noah Lyles Over Gatlin
August 29, 2019
The men’s action at Thursday’s Weltklasse Zurich meet, which served as the first of two 2019 Diamond League finals, lived up to the billing of a meet known as “the one-day Olympics.”
There was history in the men’s 400 hurdles, where Karsten Warholm defeated Rai Benjamin in the first race to feature two men under 47 seconds. The men’s 5,000 — the last one ever on the DL circuit — saw a brave front-running effort by Joshua Cheptegei rewarded with victory, while Noah Lyles added the 100m DL title to the two that he won over 200m in 2017 and 2018.
American Donavan Brazier also won a thrilling men’s 800 — and almost took down Johnny Gray’s American record in the process. That race gets its own recap here: LRC Donavan Brazier Runs 1:42.70 For the Win and Puts a Scare in Johnny Gray’s American Record.
Full men’s recap, beginning with the epic 400 hurdles tussle, below. *Full 2019 Zurich Weltklasse Results here
Men’s 400m Hurdles: Karsten Warholm wins the greatest 400m hurdles race
The sub-47 second club just doubled.
Karsten Warholm and Rai Benjamin put on a show in Zurich. Warholm went out hard, Benjamin charged back, and Warholm saved just enough for a burst at the final hurdle and the win in 46.92, the second fastest time ever, as Benjamin finished in 46.98. It was the first time in history two men went sub-47 in the same race.
Prior to tonight only two men ever had gone under 47: Kevin Young, with his world record of 46.78 in 1992, and Abderrahman Samba with his 46.98 last year.
Kevin Young was in Zurich, and he’ll leave the Swiss city with his world record, but just barely.
MB: Warhom 46.92!!!! Rai Benjamin 46.98 in the greatest 400m hurdle race ever.
400 Metres Hurdles - Men - Diamond Discipline 1 Warholm , Karsten NOR 46.92 2 Benjamin , Rai USA 46.98 3 McMaster , Kyron IVB 48.58 4 Copello , Yasmani TUR 48.58 5 Kendziera , David USA 48.98 6 Barr , Thomas IRL 49.17 7 Holmes , TJ USA 50.00 8 Hussein , Kariem SUI 50.04
Men’s 5,000: Joshua Cheptegei goes for it and holds on to win final DL men’s 5,000
With a mile to go in tonight’s Diamond League men’s 5,000 final, Joshua Cheptegei had to be feeling a little like the late comedian Rodney Dangerfield. What’s a guy gotta do to earn a little respect around here?
The Ugandan has amassed plenty of accolades during his career: 2017 World Championship silver medalist over 10,000, double Commonwealth champion at 5k/10k in 2018, World Cross Country champion in 2019. And he’s not just a long-distance specialist; earlier this summer, he took down a stacked field over 2 miles to win at the Prefontaine Classic.
Yet when Cheptegei opened a gap at the front of tonight’s race with six laps remaining, no one seemed to take the move seriously. So he grew that lead, lap after lap, and by the time the rest of the field realized what was happening, it was too late. In a brilliant run, Cheptegei covered his final 1600 meters, completely alone, in 4:03.1 to run a personal best of 12:57.41 and earn the 2019 Diamond League in what was the final DL 5,000 ever run (the IAAF is scrapping it from the DL program next year).
Cheptegei wasted little time getting to the front of the race behind pacers Ryan Gregson and Patrick Tiernan; he was the first racer at 200 meters and would not be passed the entire race. The top Ethiopians, meanwhile, took the opposite approach. At 1 kilometer, they occupied the bottom three places, with Yomif Kejelcha, Hagos Gebrhiwet, and Selemon Barega running 15th, 16th, and 17th; by the mile, they were over two seconds back of Cheptegei, but the Ugandan had not yet broken away from the main pack.
That changed when Cheptegei took off with six laps to go, yet it did not spur any of the Ethiopians to action; in fact, they were so far back that it may have been difficult for them to notice that Cheptegei had built up a 15-meter lead. Finally, with a mile to go, the Ethiopians spurred to action, and with 1400 to go they had joined the chase pack of Telahun Bekele and Kenyans Nicholas Kimeli and Stanley Mburu. American Paul Chelimo was just off of that pack, but fading and would wind up a total nonfactor in 8th in 13:14.18.
Even though the Ethiopian stars were now at the front of the chase pack instead of behind it, none of them wanted to risk sacrificing themselves to force the pace and reel in Cheptegei, with Barega, Kejelcha, and Kimeli trading off the lead of the chase pack. The result: Cheptegei actually grew his lead, to 25 meters with three laps to go and 30+ (4.8 seconds) with two to go.
That lead had barely shrunk at the bell, at which point Gebrhiwet took off and the chase truly began, with Barega and Kejelcha following behind him. With 200 to go, Cheptegei’s lead had been cut in half as Barega moved into second place. Gebrhiwet reclaimed second coming off the final turn, but Cheptegei, sensing the pressure building behind him, had a response before Gebrhiwet could mount a serious challenge and would power down the home straight for a big win. Though he had run his last lap in “only” 59.3 compared to Gebrhiwet’s 55.7, Cheptegei covered his final 800 in 2:00.1 and his final 1600 in 4:03.1 to earn a well-deserved victory.
5000 Metres - Men - Diamond Discipline 1 Cheptegei , Joshua UGA 12:57.41 2 Gebrhiwet , Hagos ETH 12:58.15 3 Kimeli , Nicholas Kipkorir KEN 12:59.05 4 Bekele , Telahun Haile ETH 12:59.09 5 Barega , Selemon ETH 12:59.66 6 Kejelcha , Yomif ETH 13:01.38 7 Mburu , Stanley Waithaka KEN 13:06.29 8 Chelimo , Paul USA 13:14.18 9 True , Ben USA 13:18.27 10 Balew , Birhanu BRN 13:21.13 11 Butchart , Andrew GBR 13:24.46 12 Ingebrigtsen , Henrik NOR 13:30.78 13 McSweyn , Stewart AUS 13:32.33 14 Wanders , Julien SUI 13:45.18 Gregson , Ryan AUS DNF Hadis , Abadi ETH DNF Tiernan , Patrick AUS DNF
Quick Take: This victory will not change Cheptegei’s plans; he will run the 10k only in Doha
When we spoke to Cheptegei after his win at Pre, he said he would be doing the 10,000 only in Doha. And after the race, today, he affirmed that choice.
“In Doha I will not compete in the 5k but the 10k,” Cheptegei said. “Winning the gold medal there would be special because I have never won a track gold at World Championships.”
It certainly doesn’t help that, for some reason, the 5k final before the 10k final at Worlds this year.
Interestingly, Cheptegei was one of several DL winners on the night who won’t be running that event at Worlds. Noah Lyles (100) and Shaunae Miller-Uibo (200) won’t run those events in Doha, and Sifan Hassan (1500) has said she’s doing the 5k/10k at Worlds.
Quick Take: What took the Ethiopians so long to respond to Cheptegei’s move?
Cheptegei likes to push from a long way out, and after his win at Prefontaine, one would think that the rest of the field would have learned to take any move he made seriously. Yet the Ethiopians stars — Barega, Kejelecha, and Gebrhiwet — were content to hang out at the back of the pack and did not respond until it was too late.
One possible explanation: they may have been more concerned with racing each other than racing for the overall win. The Ethiopian selection process for Worlds remains a mystery, and while the win would have been a nice goal for all of them, we imagine the Ethiopians were even more concerned with not losing to a fellow countryman.
Season’s best is usually an important consideration for the Ethiopian team, and if that’s how this team is picked, it would result in Bekele (12:52), Barega (12:53), and Gebrhiwet (12:54) going to Worlds, with reigning champ Muktar Edris the fourth entrant since he has the bye.
Meanwhile, it’s not looking good for Yomif Kejelcha. While he has won two Diamond Leagues this year, he was the fourth Ethiopian finisher today and is only fifth on the 2019 Ethiopian list. He may have to settle for the 10k only in Doha.
Quick Take: Kenya may have a new star in Nicholas Kimeli
Kenyan men’s 5,000m running has been struggling in recent years. They had no men in the 2016 Olympic final and just one in the 2017 World Championship final (who finished 13th). In 2016, 2017, and 2018, no Kenyan ran faster than 12:59.44. Nicholas Kimeli has now bettered that mark twice in 2019, as he ran 12:57.90 in Hengelo and 12:59.05 for third tonight. Considering this was a World Championship-final quality field, he has to be viewed as a serious medal threat in Doha.
Quick Take: Paul Chelimo’s medal chances aren’t looking great
Chelimo has medalled at the last two global championships, so we’re not totally writing him off — he’s always been better in championship races than on the circuit. That said, he has not been up to his usual standard in 2019. Though he was 2nd at the Pre Classic, he was 12th, 6th, and 8th in his other DL races and was upset by 34-year-old Lopez Lomong at USAs. He was not competitive tonight (8th, 13:14)and has some serious work to do if he is to keep his medal streak alive in Doha.
Men’s 100: Noah Lyles wins
37-year-old Justin Gatlin got off to a good start and had the lead midway through this one but the last 40 meters belonged to Noah Lyles, who pulled away to win in 9.98 (-.4 m/s wind). Gatlin went from 2nd to 4th (10.08) in the final 10 meters as China’s Xie Zhenye ended up 2nd in 10.04 and Yohan Blake third in 10.07.
Quick Take: If Christian Coleman ends up being ineligible for Worlds, then the men’s 100 is going to be wide-open
We wouldn’t rule Gatlin out, for while he was just 4th, he ran pretty well for 75 meters in this one and has a terrific record in major championships.
100 Metres - Men - Diamond Discipline Wind: -0.4 m/s 1 Lyles , Noah USA 9.98 2 Xie , Zhenye CHN 10.04 3 Blake , Yohan JAM 10.07 4 Gatlin , Justin USA 10.08 5 Simbine , Akani RSA 10.10 6 Hughes , Zharnel GBR 10.15 7 Gemili , Adam GBR 10.15 8 Rodgers , Michael USA 10.16 9 Wilson , Alex SUI 10.40
Men’s High Jump: Protsenko wins
The Ukraine’s Andriy Protsenko picked a good time to get his first Diamond League win in more than two years (Rabat 2017) as he picked up with $50,000 thanks to a seasonal best 2.32m clearance, just .01m off the world lead.
High Jump - Men - Diamond Discipline 1 Protsenko , Andriy UKR 2.32 2 Starc , Brandon AUS 2.30 3 Ivanov , Tihomir BUL 2.30 4 Mason , Michael CAN 2.27 5 Ivanyuk , Ilya ANA 2.27 5 Tobe , Naoto JPN 2.27 7 Robinson , Jeron USA 2.24 8 Nedasekau , Maksim BLR 2.24 9 Wang , Yu CHN 2.24 10 Barshim , Mutaz Essa QAT 2.20 10 Ghazal , Majd Eddin SYR 2.20 12 Przybylko , Mateusz GER 2.20
Men’s Pole Vault: Sam Kendicks gets the win
Four guys (the three men who had been over 6 meters this year (Kendricks, Armand Duplantis, and Piotr Lisek) and American Cole Walsh who set a PR) cleared 5.83, but then only one of them Sam Kendricks would clear 5.93 to pick up the $50,000.
Pole Vault - Men - Diamond Discipline 1 Kendricks , Sam USA 5.93 2 Duplantis , Armand SWE 5.83 3 Lisek , Piotr POL 5.83 3 Walsh , Cole USA 5.83 5 Lavillenie , Renaud FRA 5.73 5 Nilsen , Christopher USA 5.73 5 Wojciechowski , Pawel POL 5.73 8 Braz , Thiago BRA 5.58 9 Obiena , Ernest John PHI 5.58 10 Alberto , Dominik SUI 5.58 11 Yamamoto , Seito JPN 5.58 12 Lavillenie , Valentin FRA 5.43 13 Karalis , Emmanouil GRE 5.43
Men’s Long Jump: Juan Miguel Echevarría soars on first jump
Juan Miguel Echevarría jumped 8.65 meters, the best jump in the world this year on his first jump (previous best this year was 8.41), and that was it in terms of the competition as he got the easy win and $50,000.
Long Jump - Men - Diamond Discipline Wind 1 Echevarría , Juan Miguel CUB 8.65 -0.5 2 Samaai , Ruswahl RSA 8.20 0.0 3 Gayle , Tajay JAM 8.20 -0.6 4 Manyonga , Luvo RSA 8.19 -0.4 5 Tentoglou , Miltiadis GRE 8.10 -0.2 6 Wang , Jianan CHN 8.06 -0.1 7 Montler , Thobias SWE 7.80 -0.7 8 Visser , Zarck RSA 7.60 -0.3
Men’s Javelin: Magnus Kirt pulls it out in final round
Chao-Tsun Cheng of Chinese Taipei threw 89.05 in the first round tonight, and that held up as the competition leader through the first five rounds. But he wound up a heartbreaking second as Estonia’s Magnus Kirt snagged the $50,000 prize by going 89.13 on his final attempt.
Javelin Throw - Men - Diamond Discipline 1 Kirt , Magnus EST 89.13 2 Cheng , Chao-Tsun TPE 89.05 3 Hofmann , Andreas GER 87.49 4 Krukowski , Marcin POL 85.72 5 Vetter , Johannes GER 84.46 6 Vadlejch , Jakub CZE 84.17 7 Röhler , Thomas GER 82.91 8 Seifert , Bernhard GER 75.88 9 Wieland , Simon SUI 74.36
LRC Zurich Weltklasse Women’s Recap: Sifan Hassan Leads NOP 1-2, Sydney McLaughlin Defeats World Record Holder Dalilah Muhammad, Coburn Comes Up Short Full recap of the women’s action in Zurich.