The Wanda Diamond League hit new heights in 2023, with seven world records and 12 first-time champions crowning what was arguably the greatest season in the series' history. In the fourth and penultimate part of our season review, we take a look back at how the global stars fared in Zurich, Xiamen and Brussels as they returned to Diamond League action following the World Athletics Championships in Budapest.
Season review part four: Post-Budapest boom
There was little sign of the post-Budapest blues as the Wanda Diamond League returned in Zurich on August 31st, with several newly crowned world champions showing that they were still at the top of their game heading into the decisive weeks of the Diamond League season. Noah Lyles and Sha'Carri Richardson both cruised to victories in the men's 200m and women's 100m respectively, while Shericka Jackson clocked an impressive 21.82 in the women's 200m and Venezuela's Yulimar Rojas landed an enormous 15.15m in the women's triple jump. The standout performance, however, came a day earlier in the women's pole vault. Having shared the gold medal in Budapest, the USA's Katie Moon and Australia's Nina Kennedy locked horns once again at Zurich's main train station in one of the most dramatic pole vault competitions the series has ever seen. It was Kennedy who came out on top with a world lead and personal best of 4.91m, leaving Moon to lick her wounds ahead of the final in Eugene two weeks later.
The action continued a few days later on September 2nd, with the series returning to China for the first time since 2019 at the first ever edition of Wanda Diamond League Xiamen. After four years without the Diamond League, the Chinese crowd had plenty to cheer about as local star Feng Bin pulled out a dramatic late win in the women's discus and the world leads tumbled on the track. Christian Coleman equalled the fastest time in the world in 2023 with 9.83 in the men's 100m, while Yaroslava Mahuchikh also cleared a world-lead equalling 2.02m in the women's high jump and Beatrice Chebet clocked 8:24.05 in the women's 3000m. Reigning Diamond League champion Grant Holloway suffered a surprise defeat in the 110m hurdles after clipping the last barrier, allowing Jamaican veteran Hansle Parchment to stake his claim to the title with a statement win. Fellow seasoned campaigned Kirani James also threw down the gauntlet in the men's 400m with his first win of the season.
Brussels was the last chance for athletes to qualify for the final, and for those who had already secured their ticket to Eugene, it was the last chance to prove they were in Diamond Trophy winning form before setting sail for the US. The Allianz Memorial Van Damme, which will be hosting next year's final, didn't disappoint. Jakbo Ingebrigtsen cruised to a world record 4:43.13 in the men's 2000m, his first outdoor world record and a big confidence boost after his disappointing 1500m defeat in Budapest. Both Shericka Jackson and Mondo Duplantis were also bullish about their chances of breaking the world record ahead of the meeting, and they both came agonisingly close. Jackson fell some way short of Florence Griffith-Joyner's 21.34 in the 200m, but still set a new Diamond League record of 21.48m. Duplantis, meanwhile, set a meeting record of 6.10m before just clipping the bar on his third attempt at 6.23m. He was getting closer, and would have one final attempt to make history at the final in Eugene...