Throws: How the Diamond Trophy Was Won
After Darrell Hill’s surprise win in Brussels last year, there were a lot of big names out to make amends this season, and Ryan Crouser and Tom Walsh shared the spoils with two wins apiece on the Road To The Final. Hill, for his part, took an early lead in the Final in Zürich this year, once again pulling out one of his best performances of the season when the Diamond Trophy was at stake. Yet this time around, it wasn’t good enough to beat Walsh, who regained the title he won in 2016 with an astonishing Diamond League Record of 22.60m
Diamond Trophy holder Lijiao Gong got her season underway with a home win in Shanghai, and followed it up with another victory in Monaco. 2015 winner Christina Schwanitz also picked up two victories, meanwhile, and she and Raven Saunders gave Gong a fair old battle in the Final. The Chinese, though, remained unbeatable as she took the Diamond Trophy with a 19.83m throw in Brussels city centre.
Since 2012, nobody but nobody has got past Sandra Perkovic. The six-time Diamond Trophy winner looked as dominant as ever on the Road To The Final, winning all four meetings and cruising to the top of the standings. Yet just behind her in second place at every single round was Yaimé Pérez, and she would prove to be Perkovic’s downfall. The Cuban had beaten the Croatian champion in Stockholm last season, and she did it again on a far bigger stage this year. A 65m throw was enough for Pérez to win in Brussels and, for the first time in six years, prise the Diamond Trophy from Perkovic’s grasp.
In the men’s discus, reigning champion Andrius Gudzius managed to win in Oslo, but twice came behind Jamaica’s discus sensation Fedrick Dacres. It was a sign of things to come, as Dacres also got the better of Gudzius in the Final in Brussels, throwing 68.67 to pip the Latvian to victory and get his hands on the Diamond Trophy.
Just like last season, this was the year of the Germans in the men’s javelin, as Thomas Röhler, Johannes Vetter and Andreas Hoffmann dominated the podium places on the Road To The Final. Unlike last year, Jakub Vadlejch was unable to spring a surprise on the Germans when it came to the Final, and thus ended his two-year reign as Diamond Trophy holder. Andreas Hofmann, who had pulled off an impressive victory in Birmingham just a few weeks earlier, was the star of the show in Zürich as he obliterated the field with a 91.44m effort and picked up a first Diamond Trophy of his career.
Like her compatriot Gong in the shot put, China’s Huihui Lyu dominated the Road To The Final in the javelin, book-ending her campaign with wins in Shanghai and London. Yet she was unable to refind her form in the Final in Zürich, and it was Tatsiana Khaladovich who triumphed when it counted. Her 66.99m effort was not only beautifully symmetrical on the scoresheet, it also won her the competition by a near clear metre, and made her the first Belarusian ever to win the Diamond Trophy.