Athletics Athletics

Sum, Birech pumped for Zurich redemption

Eunice Sum on her way to victory in the women 800m. PHOTO/IAAF
Eunice Sum on her way to victory in the women 800m at the Sainsbury London DL Meeting. PHOTO/IAAF

NAIROBI, September 2- The dust has hardly settled on the Beijing Worlds but Eunice Sum is among star athletes with an early opportunity to respond after losing her women’s 800m world title last week at the first 2015 IAAF Diamond League final in Zurich on Thursday.

Sum finished in the bronze position during her defence after soaring to the global title in Moscow in 2013 and will be among the attractions at the Weltklasse meeting where, the first 16 Diamond Race champions of 2015 will be crowned.

The Commonwealth and African two-lap champion and shot putter Christina Schwanitz have won four out of six Diamond League clashes this season, while long jumper Tianna Bartoletta has three wins to her name, her points tally bolstered by second-place finishes in New York and Monaco.

All three have a lead of eight points or more, meaning that they only need to compete in Zurich in order to claim the circuit honours to get their hands on a $40,000 cash prize and the spectacular Diamond Trophy.

For Sum, it will be a third successive Diamond Race victory in a row having led the charts in 2013 and last year and to sign off with victory will send a strong message of intent ahead of next year’s Rio 2016 Olympics Games to Belarusian Marina Arzamasova and Canada’s Pan American Games champion Melissa Bishop who beat her to the top two medals in Beijing.

Fresh from three-peating as world men 1500m champion, Asbel Kiprop who is third in his specialty’s Diamond Race will be confident of adding the circuit title he has won only once in his career after out-gunning Djibouti’s Continental Champion, Ayanleh Suleiman and former Commonwealth Games titleholder, Silas Kiplagat who are two points ahead in the standings.

Victory in the final counts for double the points, eight and a win will give Kiprop who is gunning for a second Olympics title next summer the perfect end to an outstanding season after Souleiman who was injured in Beijing beat him to the gold at the African and Continental championships last year.

African titleholder, Jairus Birech, the circuit leader in the men 3000m steeplechase is smarting after being forced down the order to fourth and out of the medals in Beijing and will turn to his speed to clinch a second successive Diamond Race crown.

After being taken to school by compatriot Almaz Ayana in the women 5000m final, Ethiopia’s 1500m champion Genzebe Dibaba is another out to stamp her supremacy in Zurich.

Dibaba only has a six-point lead in the women’s 5000m to show for her excellent season and nothing short of victory will confirm her as a Diamond Race winner.

-Material from IAAF used to compile this report