Diamond League final in Zurich: hands-on athletics


Dhe traffic on the Utoquai, Zurich's shore road, is more than sluggish towards the city centre. Walking pace is already fast for drivers who can at least console themselves with the beautiful view of Lake Zurich. Or the 5,000-meter runners, who come running towards them on a specially designed red tartan track, where the turning lane to the zoo usually runs.

Diamond League Finals in Athletics Zurich, part one on the Sechseläutenplatz in the heart of the city. The people of Zurich call the public space in front of the opera house “Bellevue”, and this Wednesday there are excellent prospects for bishops, jumpers and throwers. If people don't come to athletics anymore, then athletics has to come to the people, that's the basic idea that World Association President Sebastian Coe also spreads. "We live and die by whether we're attractive to people," says the former world-class middle-distance runner.

"It's great" is the boss's stance on the event over the stadium microphone, and the several thousand spectators strolling between the individual competition venues in the beautiful late summer weather don't disagree. They marvel, clap, cheer, take photos. Heavy iron balls from the shot putter fly towards them over a specially laid out piece of grass – men and women compete alternately, which makes the event even more attractive. Right next door, starting from a raised catwalk, the circus-like pole vaulters run and fly across the square.

Race around the Opernplatz: women's 5000 meter run


Race around the Opernplatz: women's 5000 meter run
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Image: Imago


And all around the long-distance runners are circling. Due to the characteristics of the public space, it is not just twelve and a half laps of 400 meters each around the opera, but almost nine over 563 meters. The track is narrow, only three lanes are laid out, the curves have been raised, following the centrifugal forces, built on wooden planks. The start is in the narrow corner "behind the trees", as the announcer announces. The women set a pace that would please the traffic jam pilots on the Utoquai. Kenya's Beatrice Chebet wins in 14:41.03 minutes, running the 5000 meters at an average speed of 20.7 kilometers per hour.



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