Grenadian star Kirani James heads into this week’s Weltklasse Zurich meeting aiming for his third Diamond League 400 meters crown but could find his quest for success testing when he goes up against the race favorite American Michael Cherry.
On Thursday, many of the world’s best athletes will line up at the 2021 Wanda Diamond League final and the men’s 400m is one of the events many track and field followers will be fixing their eyes on.
Olympic 2012 champion James seeks his third Diamond Trophy crown, having captured the titles in 2011 and 2015. The 29-year-old overcame some challenging years on and off the track to secure the Olympic bronze medal at the Tokyo 2020 Games earlier this summer and he will be hoping to close out his season with a victory against a quality field in Zurich.
James will start as the fastest among the entrants at the Weltklasse meeting with a season’s best of 43.88 seconds, achieved in the Tokyo Games semifinals, which is not too far off his personal best of 43.74secs, set in 2014.
However, in his last competition, the 2011 world champion finished runner-up to USA’s Cherry at the Diamond League meeting in Brussels, on September 3.
Cherry, the Olympic fourth-place finisher clocked a personal best of 44.03secs, to improve the Brussels meeting record, which was previously held by his fellow American countryman Michael Johnson.
In that race, James finished second in 44.51secs. Botswana’s Isaac Makwala, who finished third, Liemarvin Bonevacia of the Netherlands, who took fourth, and Trinidad and Tobago’s Deon Lendore, the fifth-place finisher, are all confirmed for the rematch in Zurich.
Another pair of sub-45 seconds runners, American Vernon Norwood and Italian Davide Re, will also face the starter.