Fantastic African performances as the Weltklasse Zürich meeting, the first of the two finals of the Samsung Diamond League took place on Thursday night at the city’s famous Letzigrund Stadium.
Kenyan Vivian Cheruiyot produced a solid performance to retain her Diamond Race win.
The double World champion hit the front with 600m left and although pressurised over the final circuit by Sally Kipyego, her teammate who took silver in Daegu, she held on to win with an impressive meet record of 14:30.10.
Kipyego lowered her personal best by over eight seconds to 14:30.42, with Linet Masai completing a clean Kenyan sweep, third in 14:35.11.
In the men's Long Jump, Zimbabwe's Ngonidzashe Makusha clearing eight metres, on a night most of the field will not wish to remember, claimed victory ahead of Russia's Aleksandr Menkov (7.94) and Marcos Chuva of Portugal (7.88), a centimetre clear of four-time World champion Dwight Phillips of the USA.
Nixon Chepseba, who wasn't selected for the Kenyan men's 1500m team in Daegu, pulled off a coup when not only beating his more higher profile rivals with a time of 3:32.74 but also collecting the overall Diamond Race win.
His finishing sprint ahead of world season leader Silas Kiplagat, who clocked 3:33.56, and Haron Keitany, who finished in 3:34.57, won him an unexpected US$40,000 and the Diamond Trophy.
Paul Kipsiele Koech of Kenya retained his Diamond Race 3000m Steeplechase win although on the night had to settle for second best to World champion Ezekiel Kemboi.
Ezekiel Kemboi hit the front with 800 remaining but his fellow Kenyan was sticking to his back like a piece of Elastoplast and the tactic paid dividends when they got clear of third placed Benjamin Kiplagat on the final circuit.
Koech tried desperately to get past the newly crowned World champion at the final barrier but Kemboi came off it to clinch victory by 0.12sec in 8:07.72, with Kiplagat succumbing to their finishing pace, clocking 8:12.08.
Event by event review
100m: Blake improves his PB to 9.82, but second Powell gets the diamond 9.95.
400m: James confirms his supertalent with improving to 44.36, second fastest 2011, second best junior ever, national senior record and the diamond. Merritt beaten with good 44.67.
1500m: Chepseba who was replaced after selected to Daegu prepared for this and beat Kiprop (7th) and Kiplagat (2nd) and has the diamond 3:32.74.
Steeple: Kipsiele Koech tried but Kemboi as usual was the stronger after last barrier. Reward for Koech, he is DR winner. Only top two under 8:10.
110mH: Robles this time without mistake and improves his season best to 13.01. Only Oliver and Liu are faster this year. Cuban is also DR winner.
HJ: New Greek sensation Hondroukokis cleared for third time in his career 232 and beat all world medalists. Win in DR goes to Williams (4th 228, but after same points with Silnov and same number of wins he prevails because of better position in finals).
LJ: Makusha in his pro LJ debut beats the tired field with exactly 8 meters, DR for Watt.
DT: Not totally healthy Harting still wins and remains unbeaten this year, but Alekna who competed more often in the series gets the overall win.
4x100m: Jamaica with excellent finish of Frater over Great Britain, but third home team runs national record 38.62 and beat USA 38.72.
200m: Jeter more and more a versatile sprinter and in 22.27 beats Felix and still improving this year Fraser-Pryce. Jeter with good chance for a double, today DR at 200 m and attacking the same in Brussels at the 100 m.
800m: Savinova still has the best finish and won in 1:58.27 over the best possible field. Third Meadows is DR winner.
5000m: Sally Kipyego was closer than expected in last meters, but Cheruiyot remained unbeaten and in her last race of the season secured meet record 14:30.10 and the diamond.
100mH: Sally Pearson dominating here, also unbeaten on the circuit and won in 12.52 (+0.2). This was non-DL event.
400mH: Spencer in 53.36 confirmed the diamond and beat all three Daegu medalists.
PV: Suhr on countback over Spiegelburg (both 472), Isinbayeva tied with Murer at 462. Nh at 442 for world silver winner Strutz and Spiegelburg gets the diamond.
LJ: Reese with 672 won for second time the Diamond.
JT: Obergfoll revenge, season best and meet record 69.57 (also the diamond). Viljoen as second 67.46 beats for first time in her career in one competition top two from Daegu Abakumova and Spotakova.
[Additional contents from Alfonz Juck/EME news & Samusung Diamond League]