Zurich Weltklasse Women’s Recap: Sifan Hassan Leads NOP 1-2, Sydney McLaughlin Defeats World Record Holder Dalilah Muhammad, Coburn Comes Up Short
August 29, 2019
The first of two Diamond League finals took place Thursday at the Weltklasse Zürich meet and the fans did not go home disappointed.
We recap all the women’s action below. In the distance races, it was a tremendous day for the Nike Oregon Project as they went 1-2 in the 1,500 with Sifan Hassan and Konstanze Klosterhalfen. In the women’s steeplechase, Emma Coburn tried to go out really hard and paid the price as world record holder Beatrice Chepkoech successfully defended her DL title.
Another world record holder, American Dalilah Muhammad, was upset as Sydney McLaughlin crushed her to win the 400 hurdles, while Shaunae Miller-Uibo put on a show to win the 200 in 21.74, the fastest time in the world for four years.
Full recap below with results and some video. Men’s recap here.
Women’s 1500: Sifan Hassan smokes sub-58 final lap to win easily
Alberto Salazar has a problem on his hands. His plan was for Sifan Hassan to attempt the 10,000/5,000 double at Worlds. The “problem” he has is Hassan is now the best 1500m runner on the planet. Hassan ran a blistering final lap (57.71 leader-to-leader, but she wasn’t leading at the bell) to destroy the field and win in 3:57.08. Left in her wake was the rest of the field, including world record holder Genzebe Dibaba, who faded to 4th and then limped off the track. Hassan’s NOP teammate Konstanze “Koko” Klosterhalfen was second, nearly two seconds back, as Gabriela DeBues-Stafford of Canada got 3rd in a PR and national record of 3:59.59 — the first Canadian ever under 4:00.
Race starts fast, then slows, then ends very fast
Chanelle Price of the US rabbited the field through 61.6 and the field was single-file behind her with Dibaba leading the chase. Price was struggling a bit on the second lap, however, and dropped after 700m as the pace slowed to 2:07.79 at 800. Five women were clear at that point with Jenny Simpson leading the chase pack, but then Dibaba decided she didn’t want to push the pace and hit the brakes. Soon the rest of the field caught back up as they went around the turn. As they approached the bell, the pace quickened again with the top 6, which included Simpson, clear of everyone else.
Dibaba led onto the backstretch but Hassan began her push for home at that point, passing Klosterhalfen and taking the lead just before the 200m mark. As she powered around the turn, had she kicked too early? Far from it, as she had a lot left in the tank and poured it on the final 100m.
A dominant victory for Hassan.
1500 Metres - Women - Diamond Discipline 1 Hassan , Sifan NED 3:57.08 2 Klosterhalfen , Konstanze GER 3:59.02 3 DeBues-Stafford , Gabriela CAN 3:59.59 4 Dibaba , Genzebe ETH 4:00.86 5 Nanyondo , Winnie UGA 4:03.08 6 Chebet , Winny KEN 4:03.11 7 Arafi , Rababe MAR 4:03.44 8 Simpson , Jenny USA 4:03.50 9 Tsegay , Gudaf ETH 4:03.77 10 Hall , Linden AUS 4:04.22 11 Reekie , Jemma GBR 4:05.34 12 McColgan , Eilish GBR 4:08.61 13 Embaye , Axumawit ETH 4:11.62 14 Sclabas , Delia SUI 4:15.69 Price , Chanelle USA DNF
QT: What a run. What events for Hassan at Worlds?
Hassan’s finish was incredible today. We called Laura Muir’s finish in London this year, when she ran 3:58.25 closing in 57.54, “sensational”. Today Hassan ran a second faster — 3:57.08 — and her close was very similar.
Now the question is what event(s) does Hassan do at Worlds? The 1,500/5,000 double isn’t possible so does she try the traditional 10,000/5,000 double or the unheard of 10,000/1,500 double?
Since the 10,000 is first, Hassan might be tempted to try the 1,500 as her second event.
Two years ago, Hassan did win a bronze in the 5,000 at Worlds, but in the Diamond League finals, she ran the 800 and the 1500. Is her wheelhouse really the 10,000 and 5,000? Or is she now a 1,500-meter runner with better endurance? She might want to prove she’s a miler, but her coach Salazar might want her to show her distance prowess.
The 1,500 may still be a crapshoot for Hassan at Worlds as she’ll have to face three runners who weren’t here today in Muir, Shelby Houlihan, and Olympic champ Faith Kipyegon. But Kipyegon and Muir have been injured, and beating Hellen Obiri in the 5,000 won’t be easy either.
QT: First Sub-4 for a Canadian
Gabriela DeBues-Stafford already had the Canadian record at 1,500 this year thanks to her 4:00.26 in London, but she one-upped that today to become the first Canadian under 4:00.
Women’s steeple: Beatrice Chepkoech holds on after suicidal 2:51 opening kilometer; Emma Coburn fades to 6th
Beatrice Chepkoech won her fifth straight race and second straight Diamond League title, dropping the field after just one lap and going wire-to-wire to win in 9:01.71. 2015 world champ Hyvin Kiyeng closed well over the final lap to finish second in 9:03.83 as American Emma Coburn, chasing the first sub-9:00 by an American, couldn’t handle the hot early pace and faded to 6th in 9:10.01.
The pacemaker was tasked with running 2:53 for the first kilometer — which is 8:39 pace, well under Chepkoech’s 8:44 world record. Yet Chepkoech was not satisfied with that. Just before 800 meters, she moved past the pacer and hit 1k in a ludicrous 2:51.89. Behind her, Coburn and Kenyan Norah Jeruto were the only ones brave enough to go out even close to Chepkoech. While Coburn and Jeruto were still 20 meters back of Chepkoech, they still came through 1k under world record pace (2:54.2 for Coburn). Either we were going to see the fastest steeplechase in history, or some women were going to blow up.
Unsurprisingly, it was the latter. Kiyeng joined Coburn and Jeruto and took the lead of the chase pack over the second kilometer, but even though Chepkoech was slowing down, they struggled to close the gap. It was down to 15 meters with three laps to go, but would stay that large with two laps to go, Chepkoech hitting 2k in 5:57.60 in between (3:05.71 second kilometer).
But Chepkoech managed to stem the bleeding, and at the bell, she had actually grown her lead to 25 meters. From there, she cruised home in 72.6 for the last lap to win handily in 9:01.71. Kiyeng closed best of the chasers to take second in 9:03.83, but Chepkoech was never seriously threatened. Coburn, clearly struggling after the fast early pace, could manage just 3:08.8 for her final kilometer and 76.7 for the final 400 as she faded from third to sixth over the final lap.
2015 World Championship bronze medalist Gesa Krause ran a German record of 9:07.51 in fifth.
3000 Metres Steeplechase - Women - Diamond Discipline 1 Chepkoech , Beatrice KEN 9:01.71 2 Kiyeng , Hyvin KEN 9:03.83 3 Jeruto , Norah KEN 9:05.15 4 Jepkemei , Daisy KEN 9:06.66 5 Krause , Gesa Felicitas GER 9:07.51 6 Coburn , Emma USA 9:10.01 7 Yavi , Winfred Mutile BRN 9:14.84 8 Chespol , Celliphine KEN 9:20.04 9 Grøvdal , Karoline Bjerkeli NOR 9:20.69 10 Chepkurui , Mercy KEN 9:29.61 11 Mišmaš , Maruša SLO 9:53.49 Lalonde , Geneviève CAN DNF Tuigong , Caroline KEN DNF
Quick Take: Chepkoech is clearly the most talented steepler in the world, but don’t hand her the world title yet
By now, Chepkoech’s gameplan is clear: get out hard, open up a gap, and maintain it to the finish line. And when your personal best is 14 seconds faster than anyone else in the field, that’s not a bad strategy.
But if Chepkoech is to employ this strategy at Worlds, she has to make sure she paces herself correctly. Even if you’re way fitter than everyone else, going out in 2:51 can be risky. Obviously it didn’t come back to bite her today, but it could in a championship final. The good news for Chepkoech is she looked better over the final lap tonight than she did in Birmingham.
It’s possible that Chepkoech may have wanted to take a shot at her world record tonight, and it’s a lot less risky to do that in the DL final than it is at Worlds. That said, there’s rarely a good reason to pass the pacemaker within the first 800 meters, and it made no sense for Chepkoech to do so tonight.
Quick Take: Emma Coburn paid for going out hard, but don’t panic just yet
If you look only at the results, tonight’s race looks bad for Emma Coburn. She finished 6th, her lowest DL finish in four years, and finished over eight seconds behind Chepkoech.
But context is important. Coburn ran for the win, and to do that, she went out hard and tried to stick close to Chepkoech, hitting 1k in 2:54 — the fastest she’s ever gone out in a race. She couldn’t hold on, but it would be wrong to shame her for taking a shot at the win and running out of gas.
“The race was great up to the last 2 laps,” Coburn said after the race. “I’ve been challenging myself to go fast and my first kilometer was about 2:53, which is about 7 seconds faster than what I wanted it to be and I paid for it. I know I’m dead but I also know that I’m in great shape so it’s disappointing but I’m not worried about the result with regard to the upcoming World Championships.”
If Coburn is to successfully defend her world title, she needs to take a page out of former training partner Jenny Simpson’s book. Simpson has a fistful of global 1500 medals because she isn’t concerned with anyone else in the field; Simpson just does what she has to do to get to the finish line as fast as possible.
In her last two Diamond League steeples, at Prefontaine (2:56 first km) and tonight in Zurich (2:54), Coburn hasn’t run her race; she’s gone out way faster than usual in an effort to hang with Chepkoech. But Chepkoech’s ceiling is always going to be higher than Coburn’s.
Instead, Coburn needs to make sure that she is in a position to capitalize if Chepkoech doesn’t run to her potential. That means going out at whatever pace is best for Coburn to run a PR in the World Championship final — and that’s definitely not 2:54. Chepkoech has run 8:55, 9:05 and 9:01 in her last three DL victories. If she runs 8:55 at Worlds, Coburn probably isn’t winning that race no matter how fast she goes out. But if Chepkoech builds up a big lead in Doha but fades to 9:05 or 9:01, Coburn could win that race if she runs more even splits than she did tonight.
Women’s 200: Shaunae Miller-Uibo destroys the field and stays undefeated
Coming off the turn of the women’s 200, world leader Shaunae Miller-Uibo was in second place, just behind Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith. But Miller-Uibo was sensational over the final 100 and won convincingly in a big pb of 21.74 (previous pb of 21.88) as Asher-Smith was second in 22.08 with Elaine Thompson of Jamaica third in 22.44. And to think Miller-Uibo was running into a headwind (-.4 m/s).
Quick Take: IOC, make it possible for Miller-Uibo to double in 2020
This race showed why Miller-Uibo hasn’t lost a race at any distance in more than two years. With Salwa Eid Naser failing to break 50 in the 400 earlier tonight, Miller-Uibo is clearly the big favorite for the 400 at Worlds. If she was running the 200, she’d be the big favorite there as well.
Let’s hope the schedule is changed so in 2020 it’s possible for Miller-Uibo to go for the 200/400 double. If she wins it, she’ll be the third woman in history to pull off the feat. Valerie Brisco-Hooks won gold in the 200 and 400 in 1984 and Marie-Jose Perec did it for France in 1996.
200 Metres - Women - Diamond Discipline Wind: -0.4 m/s 1 Miller-Uibo , Shaunae BAH 21.74 2 Asher-Smith , Dina GBR 22.08 3 Thompson , Elaine JAM 22.44 4 Schippers , Dafne NED 22.46 5 Kambundji , Mujinga SUI 22.58 6 Okagbare , Blessing NGR 22.62 7 Emmanuel , Crystal CAN 22.87 8 Samuel , Jamile NED 23.15
Women’s 400 hurdles: Sydney McLaughlin stuns herself by destroying WR hold Dalilah Muhammad
Dalilah Muhammad, racing for the first time since her world record at USAs, got out of the blocks aggressively and had the lead 100 meters into the race. But she backed off on the back straight, and was level with Sydney McLaughlin, who passed Muhammad and was roughly level with Switzerland’s Lea Sprunger entering the final turn.
McLaughlin held a slight lead coming off the final turn and would dominate from there, crushing the field over the final two hurdles to win in 52.85, the second-fastest time of her career. Muhammad ran out of steam at the end and was passed by Shamier Little (53.86) for second before the finish, clocking 54.13 for third.
400 Metres Hurdles - Women - Diamond Discipline 1 McLaughlin , Sydney USA 52.85 2 Little , Shamier USA 53.86 3 Muhammad , Dalilah USA 54.13 4 Hejnová , Zuzana CZE 54.75 5 Sprunger , Lea SUI 55.14 6 Ryzhykova , Anna UKR 55.28 7 Russell , Janieve JAM 55.87 8 Spencer , Ashley USA 56.90
Quick Take: Sydney McLaughlin was in shock after this one
With her massive contract, incredible times, and poise in front of the media, it’s sometimes easy to forget that Sydney McLaughlin is still only 20 years old and in her first season as a professional athlete. We were reminded of that fact in the moments after tonight’s race, when McLaughlin crouched to the ground, threw a hand decorated with multi-color nails over her face, and whispered to herself, Oh my gosh.
It was clear from her expression that she did not expect to beat the top hurdlers in the world by such an enormous margin.
“I am absolutely shocked and amazed,” McLaughlin said. “This was a strong race. But it was not my cleanest one at a couple of hurdles. I need to work on that, especially on the first hurdle and on the steps between the hurdles. Everything is new for me this year being in the international circuit for the first time.”
McLaughlin, an Olympian at 16, the fastest woman in the world at 18, has already accomplished a lot in the sport, so it was refreshing to see tonight that she still has the ability to surprise herself.
Quick Take: Dalilah Muhammad looked rough tonight
While McLaughlin ran a terrific race tonight, she ran almost the same time as at USAs a month ago (52.85 vs. 52.88). The difference tonight was Muhammad ran almost two seconds slower (54.13 vs. 52.20).
The question now is which version of Muhammad shows up at Worlds? Muhammad and McLaughlin are the top two hurdlers in the world right now, and they’ve raced three times this year. McLaughlin has won twice, but those were Muhammad’s two slowest races of the season (54.35 in Oslo, 54.13 tonight). Meanwhile, Muhammad’s one victory was a world record. It should make for a compelling final in Doha.
Women’s 800: 2013 world champ Eunice Sum runs a season’s best
This was not a Diamond League event, so many of the world’s top 800 runners sat this one out ahead of next week’s final in Brussels. In fact, only one of the entrants (American Kate Grace) had broken 2:00 this year.
2013 world champ Eunice Sum got out the hardest, settling in behind the pacer by 200 and hit 400 in 58.6, three meters behind the pacer. Grace was only 5th at that point, but she began to move up early in the bell lap. Norway’s Hedda Hynne moved into the lead on the back straight, and on the final turn, it was a three-woman race, with Hynne leading Sum, who had Grace on her shoulder.
Sum edged ahead early on the home straight, and while Grace was able to get by Hynne, she could not reel in Sum by the finish, Sum taking the win in 2:00.40 to Grace’s 2:00.66 and Hynne’s 2:00.79.
Quick Take: Eunice Sum is moving in the right direction
Before Caster Semenya took over the event, Sum was the premier 800-meter runner in the world, claiming the 2013 world title, a bronze at the 2015 Worlds, and Diamond League titles in 2014 and 2015. She hasn’t been that impressive this year — she didn’t even have the IAAF standard until tonight and was only 4th at the Kenyan Champs last week. But tonight’s win was a good sign. If Sum, who turns 31 on Monday, makes the team, she could be an interesting dark horse contender in Doha.
800 Metres - Women - Pre-Programme 1 Sum , Eunice Jepkoech KEN 2:00.40 2 Grace , Kate USA 2:00.66 3 Hynne , Hedda NOR 2:00.79 4 Sabat , Anna POL 2:01.21 5 Büchel , Selina SUI 2:01.32 6 Hoffmann , Lore SUI 2:02.22 7 Baker , Ellie GBR 2:02.79 8 Fehler , Selina SUI 2:05.75 9 Rosamilia , Valentina SUI 2:05.78 10 Józwik , Joanna POL 2:06.89 Balciunaité , Eglé LTU DNF
Women’s 400: Salwa Eid Naser dominates in her first race since the middle of July
Salwa Eid Naser of Bahrain was the lone woman in the Diamond League final with a seasonal best under 50.00 and it showed as she earned a dominant victory in 50.24 as 2019 US champ Shakima Wimbley managed runner-up honors nearly a second back in 51.21. It was Naser’s first race since July 17. Caster Semenya was the last person to not break 50 and win the Diamond League final back in 2016.
Quick Take: Whoever came up with the DL schedule that made the 200/400 double impossible wasn’t having a great day
The 200/400 double isn’t possible at Worlds, but it should have been possible in the DL finals. The fact that the women’s 200 final was also tonight was a disgrace as it prevented Shauanae Miller-Uibo from running in this one.
400 Metres - Women - Diamond Discipline 1 Naser , Salwa Eid BRN 50.24 2 Wimbley , Shakima USA 51.21 3 de Witte , Lisanne NED 51.30 4 Swiety-Ersetic , Justyna POL 51.54 5 Nielsen , Laviai GBR 51.70 6 McPherson , Stephenie Ann JAM 51.90 7 Ellis , Kendall USA 51.92 8 Beard , Jessica USA 52.60
Women’s triple jump: Shanieka Ricketts springs the upset
Ricketts, the 2014 NCAA champ at San Diego State, picked a great time for a personal best, leaping out to 14.93 meters (previous pb: 14.77) on her final attempt to win her first career Diamond League event. World leader Yulimar Rojas did manage 14.74, her best attempt of the day, in round six, but it was not quite enough in what could have been the final Diamond League women’s triple jump ever.
Triple Jump - Women - Diamond Discipline Wind 1 Ricketts , Shanieka JAM 14.93 0.0 2 Rojas , Yulimar VEN 14.74 +0.1 3 Povea , Liadagmis CUB 14.49 -0.4 4 Orji , Keturah USA 14.43 +0.5 5 Papachristou , Paraskevi GRE 14.33 0.0 6 Mamona , Patrícia POR 14.24 -0.4 7 Williams , Kimberly JAM 14.10 -0.6 8 Peleteiro , Ana ESP 14.06 -0.2
Women’s javelin: Lyu wins it
China’s Huihui Lyu, who entered as the world leader, won her third DL of the year, getting out to 66.88 meters in round four, over two meters better than runner-up Kelsey-Lee Barber of Australia.
Javelin Throw - Women - Diamond Discipline 1 Lyu , Huihui CHN 66.88 2 Barber , Kelsey-Lee AUS 64.74 3 Ogrodníková , Nikola CZE 63.05 4 Hussong , Christin GER 62.81 5 Špotáková , Barbora CZE 62.25 6 Tugsuz , Eda TUR 61.81 7 Muze , Lina LAT 61.60 8 Khaladovich , Tatsiana BLR 60.99 9 Ruckstuhl , Géraldine SUI 51.05
Women’s shot put: Gong gives Chinese women a sweep in the throws
Not to be outdone by countrywoman Lyu, world champ Lijiao Gong made it a sweep for Chinese women in the throws tonight by winning the shot put, securing her third straight DL title. And she did it in style, throwing 20.31 meters on her final toss to become the first woman to crack 20 meters in 2019. American Chase Ealey threw a one-centimeter pb of 19.68 to finish second.
Shot Put - Women - Diamond Discipline 1 Gong , Lijiao CHN 20.31 2 Ealey , Chase USA 19.68 3 Schwanitz , Christina GER 19.37 4 Dubitskaya , Aliona BLR 19.21 5 Crew , Brittany CAN 18.86 6 Thomas-Dodd , Danniel JAM 18.80 7 Roos , Fanny SWE 18.74 8 Ramsey , Jessica USA 18.27
More Zurich: Zurich Weltklasse: Karsten Warholm and Rai Benjamin BOTH Go Sub 47, Joshua Cheptegei Steals 5000, Noah Lyles Over Gatlin Full recap of action of Diamond League final in Zurich.
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