Sizzling hurdles performances by Danielle Williams and Karsten Warholm highlighted the first day of action at the Muller Anniversary Games in London Stadium on Saturday (20).

In the 100m hurdles, Williams, the 2015 world champion, was on fire from the outset en route to a sensational 12.32 performance to cap what was by far the finest day of the 26-year-old’s career.

Arriving in the British capital with a 12.48 lifetime best, she dispensed with that in the heats 55 minutes earlier where she clocked 12.41 after coasting through the finish. Her winning time in the final elevated Williams to No. 7 on the all-time list while supplanting Janeek Brown as Jamaican record holder.

“It has been coming all season and it was just about when,” said Williams, who shattered Brown’s six-week-old 12.40 national record. “This track is a fast track and the fact that we get two opportunities because of the heats, you can fix what you did wrong and get ready for the final.”

Nia Ali of the US was a distant second in 12.57 ahead of compatriot Queen Claye who clocked 12.64 in third.

Another European record for Warholm 

Twelve minutes earlier, Warholm blitzed to a world-leading 47.12 in the 400m hurdles to shatter the European record for the second time in as many races to also move to, like Williams, to the No 7 spot all-time.

The contest wasn’t a scoring event for Diamond League points, but his chief rivals will nonetheless take note of the Norwegian’s latest exploit, this time coming on the same track where he clawed his way to the 2017 world title.

With a clear lead as he approached the first hurdle, Warholm forged on, producing the relentless early race attack that has become his trademark. But this time, as he scorched off the final turn, a solitary figure, he didn’t notably slow. The toll of his early pace did finally begin to show as Warholm reached hard to maintain his rhythm as he approached the ninth barrier and then stutter slightly as he approached the tenth. But he nonetheless managed to clip a massive 0.21 from the European record he set in Oslo five weeks ago.

“I always try to surprise but at the same time it’s not a given,” said Warholm, who won b nearly two seconds. “It takes hard work, dedication and a lot for me to get out those extraordinary times.”

Yasmani Copello of Turkey was a distant second in 48.93, with USA’s Amere Lattin third in 49.18.

Middle distance wins for Muir and Rotich

Closing with an impressive 57.3 final lap, Laura Muir took the women’s 1500m in 3:58.25 to collect her second Diamond League win of the season.

The Scot was running about even with Moroccan Rababe Arafi and Konstanze Klosterhalfen at the bell before taking the lead as she entered the backstretch. While Arafi soon dropped off the pace, the German was in hot pursuit until midway through the home straight, eventually fading to fifth. Keyan Winny Chebet closed well to finish second in 3:59.93, as did Gabriela Debues-Stafford, whose 4:00.26 in third was a Canadian national record.

Ferguson Rotich took command of the Diamond League 800m standings with a decisive 1:43.14 victory. The Kenyan took the lead with just over 100 metres remaining, holding off his quick finishing compatriot Wyclife Kinyamal, who clocked 1:43.48. It was the third fastest career performance for Rotich, a 2016 Olympic finalist, and a season’s best for Kinyamal.

An anticipated battle between world leader Nijel Amos of Botswana and Emmanuel Korir, last year’s top 800m runner, never materialised. Amos pulled up less than 200 metres into the race, clutching his right hamstring before falling to the track while Korir, still feeling the effects of a serious automobile accident he was involved in three weeks ago, was never in the hunt, finishing a distant eighth in 1:44.75.

Akani takes 100m showdown 

African champion Akani Simbine notched his first Diamond League win of the season, holding off Briton Zharnel Hughes 9.95 to 9.97, season’s bests for both. In a blanket finish, just 0.02 separated the next three across the line, with 2009 world champion Yohan Blake third in 9.97, ahead of Japan’s Yuki Koiek (9.98) and Canada’s Andre De Grasse (9.99), a personal best for the former and season’s best for the latter.

Rounding out the sprints, Jamaican champion Shericka Jackson held off compatriot Stephanie Ann McPherson to take the 400m, 50.69 to 50.74, to take her first Diamond League win of the season. Briton Laviai Nielsen clocked a 50.83 personal best to finish third.

Infield wins for Sidorova, Pichardo and Khaladovich

Competition in the field events was close across the programme.

Neutral athlete Anzhelika Sidorova took the pole vault on countback over Katerina Stefanidi at 4.75m, a season’s best for the latter.

Tatsiana Khaladovich of Belarus prevailed in a close women’s javelin contest, reaching 66.10m in the third round to beat Australian Kelsey-Lee Barber, who threw 65.85. in the final round. German Christin Hussong was third with 65.73m.

In the men’s triple jump, Pedro Pablo Pichardo won the latest round in his ongoing rivalry with world and Olympic champion Christian Taylor, the Portuguese bounding 17.53m with his fourth jump. Taylor’s best of 17.19m came in round six.

Hagos holds off Ingebrigtsen in hot 5000m

There was plenty of solid action off of the Diamond League progamme. 

It’s been a good week for Hagos Gebrhiwet. On Wednesday the 25-year-old Ethiopian clocked a world-leading 26:48.95 to take a competitive 10,000m race in Hengelo and today out-kicked Jakob Ingebrigtsen over a sizzling last lap battle to win the 5000m here.

10km phenom Rhonex Kipruto, running in his debut over the shorter distance, took command as the field passed the 3000m point, and led until the penultimate lap, when Ingebrigtsen, the European champion, took the lead with just over 500 metres to go. The Norwegian teenager tried to build a small gap with the move, but Gebrhiwet reacted quickly to stay in contact. The Ethiopian then made his bid with 250 metres remaining and while he couldn’t quite shake Ingebrigtsen, he did hold him for the 13:01.86 win. Ingebrigtsen clocked a national record 13:02.03 in second. 

Nicholas Kimeli of Kenya was third in 13:05.48 with Australian Stewart McSweyn next in 13:05.63

In the long jump, world champion Luvo Manyonga improved his season’s best to 8.37m in the fifth round to eek out a victory ahead of Jamaican Tajay Gayle, who reached an 8.32m lifetime best in round three.

“I was a little scared and I was holding back to start,” said Manyonga, who added two centimetres to his 2019 best. “At the beginning I need to test my ankle as I was not sure my ankle could handle it but, I said to myself, ‘just jump because this is where I was crowned world champion’.”

Olympic champion and 2019 world leader at 22.00 Elaine Thompson was a convincing winner in the 200m, clocking 22.13. Marie-Josee Ta Lou was second in 22.36, a season’s best.

And finally, Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce made up a 15-metre deficit to anchor a Jamaican quartet to a 42.29 victory in the 4×100 relay, to edge a British squad by a scant 0.01.

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF



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