Mo Farah, Mohammed Aman and Elaine Thompson in action at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Zurich (Gladys Chai von der Laage / Jean-Pierre Durand) © Copyright
General News Zurich, Switzerland

Zurich’s top three moments – IAAF Diamond League

Later this week, the IAAF Diamond League heads to Zurich for the first of two finals in the 2018 series. Here we look back at three of the more memorable moments from the Swiss city.

Farah victorious in frenzied finish to final track race, 2017

A sell-out crowd of 25,000 at the Letzigrund Stadium witnessed the first of the two championship-style IAAF Diamond League finals – and the last track run by Britain’s multiple world and Olympic 5000m and 10,000m champion Mo Farah, who, fittingly, signed off with his most dramatic victory.

In an epically frantic finish, Farah’s final flourish earned him a first Diamond Trophy as, leaning like a sprint hurdler, he chested the line in 13:06.05, just 0.04 ahead of Paul Chelimo of the United States, whom he had beaten to gold in the 2016 Olympic 5000m final, and the Ethiopian who had prevented him winning a fourth consecutive world 5000m title earlier in the month, Muktar Edris.

Farah had fought desperately in the final, bumpy 200 metres flanked by three opponents – Chelimo, later disqualified for obstruction, Edris, who landed on his face in his effort to overtake the Briton on the line, and his Ethiopian colleague Yomif Kejelcha.

Edris finished second in 13:06.09 with his younger colleague Kejelcha third in 13:06.18.

"It was important to go out with a victory,” Farah told the crowd, who were still on their feet clapping and paying tribute, several minutes after the race. “It’s every athlete’s dream to go out this way.

“But it was hard work.”

History repeated for Rudisha as Aman wins again, 2012

A year earlier, David Rudisha, newly established as world 800m champion, had had his run of 26 consecutive wins ended on a rain-swept evening in Milan, where he was beaten by a slight 17-year-old from Ethiopia named Mohammed Aman.

Three weeks earlier, Rudisha had become the first man to run the distance under 1:41, reducing his own world record to 1:40.91 as he led the 2012 Olympic final from gun to tape.

And now, as his season concluded on a similarly rainy night in the Letzigrund Stadium, the 23-year-old Kenyan marvel found himself being beaten by the same young Ethiopian.

Worse – with double points on offer in the season’s finale, Aman’s victory, in an Ethiopian record of 1:42.53, was sufficient for him to claim the overall Diamond Trophy in the event.

The two men had entered the home straight virtually level, but Aman – who had won the world indoor title earlier in the year – pulled clear with about 50 metres to go. As he crossed the line, the collective shock was palpable.

In Milan, Aman’s winning margin had been 0.07. Here it was far greater as Rudisha finished in 1:42.81.

"I am incredibly thankful to win in front of this audience with a PB and national record," said Aman.

Thompson produces record-breaking run to hold off Schippers over 200m, 2016

Jamaica’s newly established Olympic 100m and 200m champion Elaine Thompson repeated her Rio 200m victory over world champion Dafne Schippers – but only by the narrowest of margins in a race of the highest quality.

Unlike the Olympic final, this seasonal finale saw the Jamaican trailing Schippers at halfway, with world 400m champion Allyson Felix of the United States close behind.

The powerful Dutchwoman held her form well down the home straight and looked set to take the win, but Thompson, accessing every atom of energy at the end of a long and hugely successful year, just managed to edge ahead before the line, winning in an IAAF Diamond League record of 21.85, with Schippers just 0.01 behind in her season’s best time.

Felix, three times a world 200m champion, had failed to qualify for the event at the Olympics, but she was rewarded here with a season’s best of 22.02 in third place.

Schippers’ consolation: second place was enough to secure her the overall Diamond Trophy.

Mike Rowbottom for the IAAF