Diamond League Final Preview

This week, the Diamond League Final heads to Zurich. The Diamond League, which is the premier series of Athletics Meetings, began in 2010, and Oceania has had significant success throughout the short history of the Diamond League.

The concept of a final for One Day Meetings began in the format we know today in 1985, with the IAAF (now World Athletics) creating the first global series of meets organised by the World Body. The introduction of the World Championships around the same time highlighted the Sport’sSport’s Governing Body pivoting to a more direct role in the organising of athletics competitions.
From 1985 to 1992, the series featured Grand Prix Meetings and IAAF Permit Meetings. The series culminated in the IAAF Grand Prix Final, in which athletes qualified based on their performances at the series series meetings. The competing athletes at the final earned additional points for their performances there, and the series winner of each event was the athlete with the highest score (as opposed to the Grand Prix Final event winner).

In 1993 the Grand Prix format was amended so that the event winner was the first place athlete at the Final competitions, rather than the seasonal points leader, and this format continued until the last Grand Prix Final in 2002.
In 1993 the IAAF Council approved a new tier of IAAF Grand Prix II meetings, which Permit-level meetings could apply for after two years. That same year four of the Grand Prix meetings (Oslo, Zurich, Brussels and Berlin) organised a Golden Four group of top-level European meetings within the series. In response, the IAAF Grand Prix series was again expanded with the foundation of the IAAF Golden League in 1998, which split out the Golden Four meetings (plus the Herculis and Golden Gala meet) as a new top tier within the IAAF Grand Prix circuit.

After this point, the IAAF Grand Prix referred to multiple concepts in that it was both an annual series of track and field meetings incorporating four tiers (the IAAF Golden League, IAAF Grand Prix, IAAF Grand Prix II and Area Permit Meetings) as well as a term to refer to the second and third tiers of that series.
In 2003, an IAAF Super Grand Prix level was added to the circuit, the IAAF Permit Meeting tier was dropped, and the Grand Prix Final was replaced with the IAAF World Athletics Final.

In 2003 the IAAF World Outdoor Meetings brand superseded the IAAF Grand Prix to the umbrella series concept, and Grand Prix levels I and II continued within that series. In 2006, the IAAF World Athletics Tour was formed to replace the World Outdoor Meetings, and at this time, the IAAF Grand Prix II-tier was dropped in favour of an Area Permit Meeting structure. The IAAF Grand Prix was made defunct along with the World Athletics Tour in 2010, as both were replaced by the IAAF Diamond League and IAAF World Challenge series. The World Challenge Series has now become the World Athletics Continental Tour.
The 2021 Edition of the Diamond League final sees 9 Oceania Athletes will head to Zurich. The meet to take place over two days in two different venues will cap a fantastic year of athletics and has shown what can happen in this covid world we live in.

Oceania Winners of One Day Meeting Finals:

Catherine Freeman 400m IAAF Grand Prix Final  1996
Valerie Adams Shot Put World Athletics Final 2005
Paul Burgess Pole Vault World Athletics Final 2006
Fabrice Lapierre Long Jump World Athletics Final 2008
Valerie Adams Shot Put World Athletics Final 2008
Fabrice Lapierre Long Jump World Athletics Final 2009
Valerie Adams Shot Put World Athletics Final 2009
Valerie Adams Shot Put Diamond League 2010
Mitchell Watt Long Jump Diamond League 2011
Valerie Adams Shot Put Diamond League 2011
Valerie Adams Shot Put Diamond League 2012
Valerie Adams Shot Put Diamond League 2013
Valerie Adams Shot Put Diamond League 2014
Valerie Adams Shot Put Diamond League 2016
Fabrice Lapierre Long Jump Diamond League  2016
Tom Walsh Shot Put Diamond League  2016
Sally Pearson 100m Hurdles  Diamond League 2017
Tom Walsh Shot Put Diamond League  2018
Brandon Starc High Jump Diamond League 2018
Tom Walsh Shot Put Diamond League  2019

The fist day of the Diamond League Final will take place at the Sechselautenpatz in Zurich. It is the largest Town Square situated in Zurich, and its name is derived from the Citys traditional spring holiday which is celebrated in the square each April.

The square will be transformed into a mini stadium, with a 560m temporary running track being built in the square for the Men’s and Women’s 5000m Finals. With three temporary stands being built to house spectators to watch the Shot Put, Long Jump and High Jump Finals as well.

The Sechselautenpatz will place host to 3 Oceania Athletes on Wednesday Afternoon. With Tom Walsh NZL, kicking things off in the Men’s Shot Put. Walsh comes in as the Diamond League Points leader and the meeting record holder with 22.60m at Weltklasse Zurich. He won’t have it all his own way, with all three medalists from Tokyo to join him, including World Record Holder Ryan Crouser. The Women’s Shot Put Meeting Record is held by fellow New Zealander Valerie Adams, throwing 20.98m in 2013.

The Women’s High Jump has been an event to watch for Oceania over recent times. With Elanor Patterson, breaking the Area High Jump Record in February 2020 with a jump of 1.99m, and now Nicola McDermott taking that up to a height of 2.02 in the final of the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Both Women will line up hoping to finish their season on a high, with a win in the Diamond League final, something that fellow Australian, Brandon Starc achieved in 2018. To consolidate what McDermott and Patterson have been able to do, of the 34 performances of Oceania Women jumping 1.95m or higher, Patterson has 11 and McDermott 16.

The 560m 4 lane running track, will see the Mens and Womens 5000m races take the stage. Australian Matt Ramsden will be setting the pace in the Men’s 5000m. The young Australian has run personal best over 1500m and 3000m this European Season.

On Thursday, the action heads to Letzigrund Stadium, the traditional home of the Zurich Meeting. With a capacity of 30,000 fans, and all fans attending having to be Covid Vaccinated it will ensure that a large and safe crowd will be in attendance.

The action for Oceania Fans begins with Linden Hall in the Women’s 1500m. Fresh off an Oceania Record in the mile in Brussels, she will be looking to continue her strong form after the Olympic Games. In the 1500m/Mile she has placed 2nd, 2nd, and 3rd in her three races after the Olympics in the Diamond League. 

The Men’s 1500m, sees Olympic Finalists Oli Hoare and Stewart McSweyn racing, alongside 5 other Olympic Finalist, including Gold and Silver Medalist Jakob Ingebrigtsen and Timothy Cheruiyot. Matt Ramsden will again be taking the pace, which should ensure both McSweyn and Hoare near the front. McSweyn and Hoare, outside of the Olympic Games haven’t finished lower than 4th over 1500m or a Mile in 2021, with McSweyn taking victories in Brussels and Padova over the last week heading into the Diamond League Final.  

2019 World Champion, Kelsey Barber is clutch, or she just likes keeping her fans on the edge of their seats. It took until the last competition to secure her place in the Diamond League final, just like her securing both her World Championships and Olympic Medal on her last throw. Barber has shown over the past few years, that she performs well in Major Competitions, and the Diamond League Final will be that, with a strong Field including Olympic Silver Medalist Maria Andrejczyk.

Rohan Browning is a late addition to the Men’s 100m. Browning has had a breakout year in 2021, with 8 of his top 10 performances coming this year. He has taken the moment and confidence he gained at the Olympics and has been consistent in his three European races after Tokyo. Like any 100m Man, he will be after a sub 10 second clocking, and this field will push him all the way to that.

Catriona Bissett has been quietly going about her business in Europe this season. She broke the Oceania Area Record of 800m in Chorzow, as well as 4 other sub-2-minute clocking. Whilst a disappointing Olympic Campaign, she will be wanting to finish her season on a positive in a wide-open race in Zurich.

Oceania Athletes in Diamond League Final

Name Event Local Time Local Day AEST Time AEST Day
Tom Walsh  Shot Put 16:55 8th September 12:55 9th September
Nicola McDermott High Jump 17:50 8th September  1:50 9th September
Elanor Patterson High Jump 17:50 8th September 1:50 9th September
Matthew Ramsden 5000m 19:10 8th September 3:10 9th September
Linden Hall 1500m 20:06 9th September 4:06 10th September
Oli Hoare 1500m 20:17 9th September 4:17 10th September
Stewart McSweyn 1500m 20:17 9th September 4:17 10th September
Matt Ramsden 1500m 20:17 9th September 4:17 10th September
Kelsey Barber Javelin 20:22 9th September 4:22 10th September
Rohan Browning 100m 20:38 9th September 4:38 10th September
Catriona Bissett 800m 21:03 9th September 5:03 10th September