Two-lap world champion among 16 Diamond League title winners as the series comes to a close
In the final Diamond League meeting of the year as the international athletics season comes to a close, Mohammed Aman had the last word as he went to the top of 2013 rankings for 800m.
The Ethiopian was one of 16 athletes to claim overall Diamond League titles in their events, bringing to a culmination the season-long battle for points.
However, in two of the non-Diamond League events it was Usain Bolt and Britain’s Martyn Rooney who produced notable performances.
In an 800m featuring seven of the eight 2013 world finalists, Aman had set out with the intention of depriving Duane Solomon of the soft world lead of 1:43.27.
Despite pacemaker Bram Som leading them through the first 400m in an arguably too quick 48.55, Ayanleh Souleiman – closely followed by Aman – hung on well through 600m in 75.27.
However, it was no surprise to see Aman, undefeated in his last eight competitions since his outdoor debut loss in Doha, pull through in the home straight.
He took 0.16 seconds off his Ethiopian record with his 1:42.37, which lifted him to ninth on the all-time list.
American Nick Symmonds, the world silver medallist, recorded a season’s best of 1:43.03 for second. Kenyan newcomer Ferguson Cheruiyot announced himself as one to watch next season as he took more than a second off his best with 1:43.22.
Souleiman perhaps paid for the fast early pace as he finished sixth, two places ahead of Britain’s Andrew Osagie (1:45.34).
Aman already had an unassailable lead in the Diamond League standings.
In the ‘B’ race, Britain’s Michael Rimmer was fourth and well beaten in a time of 1:46.19.
Bolt blitzes the field
Despite a sluggish reaction time of 0.18, Usain Bolt easily overcame a top field in the 100m.
His time of 9.80 was his second quickest of the season and put him a tenth ahead of American Michael Rodgers.
Jamaica’s Nesta Carter was third with 9.94 – the same time attained by Justin Gatlin, who, in the final Diamond League 100m in Zurich, secured the series title.
Britain’s James Dasaolu, competing for the first time since reaching the world final, was eighth with 10.15.
Fraser-Pryce a class apart
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce missed her 2013 world-leading mark by just one hundredth as she clocked 10.72 to dominate the 100m as she often has this season.
Fraser-Pryce, who won both the 100m and 200m at the world championships before helping Jamaica to 4x100m gold, was 0.27 seconds ahead of the runner-up, Alexandria Anderson of the United States.
That meeting record gave her a big lead in the final Diamond League standings.
Rooney beats all the Borlees
In a programme finale set up to produce a home victory for the home country, Britain’s Martyn Rooney stole the show.
The organisers had done all they could to send the crowd home on a high, lining up the three brothers Borlee among the nine starters to create Diamond League history.
But it was the Briton who overcame recent illness to follow up his season’s best win in Zagreb earlier in the week. His 45.05 just pipped Jonathan Borlee, the world championships fourth-placer, and was his quickest for 17 months.
Kevin Borlee, the 2010 European champion, was fourth, while the younger sibling, Dylan, was ninth with 47.41.
Ohuruogu well beaten
A 400m that included all eight finalists from the World Championships was slightly disappointing as the winning time was just 50.36, although it produced a shock.
Natasha Hastings beat world silver medallist Amantle Montsho into second and Britain’s world champion, Christine Ohuruogu, into fifth (50.95).
Montsho, who was five hundredths adrift, was nevertheless already virtually guaranteed the Diamond title.
Jamaica’s Warren Weir made sure of the Diamond League overall title with a 200m victory in 19.87 – eight hundredths off the PB that saw him take world silver behind Bolt.
Nickel Ashmeade, the only other man to beat him at the distance this season, was second with a season’s best 19.93. Walter Dix also clocked his best of 2013 with 20.13.
Twelve days after his tremendous breakthrough to clock 20.22 at the Inter-Counties, Chris Clarke stepped up to take a lane in the Diamond League after the withdrawal of fellow Brit Adam Gemili.
Running out of lane three, he was seventh in 20.45 – nevertheless his quickest time outside of that Inter-Counties weekend.
Compatriot James Ellington, more used to racing at this level this season, was eighth with 20.52 from lane one.
Tamgho on top as rivals struggle
Teddy Tamgho was one of the most impressive winners at the world championships, but here he was limited to just 17.30m in taking victory.
With the jumpers generally hindered by slight headwinds, the Frenchman was the only one over 17 metres and that took him until the fifth found.
American Christian Taylor took the Diamond League title in second place despite a best of only 16.89m. Britain’s Julian Reid was 10th with 15.73m.
Harper-Nelson finishes season strongly
American Dawn Harper-Nelson, who was only fourth in the world championships, followed up victory over Sally Pearson in Zagreb earlier in the week with another.
Furthermore, her time of 12.48 lifted her to fourth on the world rankings for 2013. Pearson, the Olympic champion and world silver medallist, ran 12.63 for second. Britain’s Tiffany Porter was fourth in 12.79.
Aregawi stays on top
World champion Abeba Aregawi knew she had already done enough to top the 1500m standings and she made no mistakes as chaos reigned behind her.
Aregawi ran 4:05.41 to finish just ahead of Kenya’s Mercy Cherono, although the real drama happened when the bell went as many of the 17-strong field went down like skittles. Britain’s Hannah England somehow stayed on her feet despite having to jump over advertising hoardings and taking several steps on the in-field on the bend. She feared disqualification but in the end retained fifth with 4:08.31.
Gordon wins but Culson takes overall title
World 400m hurdles champion and world No.1 Jehue Gordon came from behind to beat the fast-starting Javier Culson into third, but could not prevent the latter taking the title.
Gordon clocked 48.32, while Omar Cisneros also sneaked ahead of Culson for second with 48.59. Michael Tinsley, who had been in with a shout of the title, was only fourth.
After an excellent season, Britain’s Rhys Williams was below-par with a 50.31 for eighth.
Chemos edges it
The race for the women’s steeplechase title was wide open, but the favourite Milcah Chemos added another honour to her world gold with 9:15.60.
Despite general supremacy in 2013, Kenya’s Chemos had looked vulnerable after a loss earlier in the week to Ethiopia’s Hiyot Ayalew in Zagreb.
But it was another Ethiopian, Sofia Assefa, who gave the Kenyan a closer run than expected in the home straight. Assefa, who won bronze in Moscow despite falling, was two tenths behind as Ayalew was third.
Britain’s Eilish McColgan was within four seconds of her PB as crossed the line in 8:39.78 for eighth.
Alamirew wins 5000m
The 5000m had been billed as an attempt on 2013′s first sub-12:50, but a field which included all the main protagonists apart from Mo Farah was off the pace from the early on.
A 2:35 first kilometre kept them on for 12:55 pace, but despite a sub-2:30 last split, it was just for 12:58.75 for the winner, Ethiopia’s Yenew Alamirew.
American veteran Bernard Lagat had led into the straight, but had to be content with a season’s best of 12:58.99. Hagos Gebrhiwet, Edwin Soi, the leader at the bell Galen Rupp and Thomas Longosiwa finished in that order behind, all inside 13:02.
The winner clinched the series victory, going ahead on points of the only other contender, Gebrhiwet.
With form in the field
Caterine Ibarguen opened the Diamond League section of the evening already assured of the triple jump title and the Colombian duly gained her ninth victory in nine competitions this season.
The world champion needed just 14.49m to see off the lead challengers, Jamaica’s Kimberley Williams (14.34m) and Olympic champion Olha Saladukha of Ukraine (14.31m), recording five jumps over 14.20m.
Just as dominant this season has been discus thrower Sandra Perkovic despite in the past week breaking a streak of 16 consecutive wins which had stretched back to July 2012.
However, after suffering a surprise loss to Gia Smallwood-Lewis on home soil in Zagreb three days earlier, she was back to winning ways with a 67.04m to turn the tables on the American.
The world and Olympic champion was within two metres of her world lead with 67.04m – comfortable ahead of Smallwood-Lewis’s 64.82m.
Another who has been almost unbeatable this year is shot-putter Ryan Whiting, who was already assured the Diamond League series win. The American, whose one major blip in 2013 was losing out on the world to David Storl, recorded 21.45m to put himself half a metre clear of Bulgaria’s Georgi Ivanov, the runner-up.
Renaud Lavillenie gained scant consolation for winning only silver at the world championships, gaining the Diamond title with a best clearance of 5.96m.
Greece’s Konstantinos Filippidis had been his only possible challenger, but he was well beaten in second with a of 5.74m.
Britain’s Luke Cutts was eighth after a best height of 5.50m.
In a tense women’s high jump competition, a clearance at 2.00m was crucial for world champion Svetlana Shkolina in her winning the series title. Olympic champion Anna Chicherova could manage only 1.98m for second in the winner-takes-all clash between the two Russians.
The men’s javelin also saw a tight tussle as Tero Pitkamaki won with 87.32m, but Vitezslav Veszely just did enough to take the title in second with 86.67m.
Veszely had put himself in the driving seat with that distance in the first round, but Pitkamaki – who needed a win to secure the overall prize – came back in the fourth round.
In the rarely run two-and-a-half-lap distance, Britain’s Laura Weightman was fifth with 2:38.49, much quicker than her only previous attempt as a junior. Kenya’s Nelly Jepkosgei set a world lead 2:35.43.
In the T44 200m, Laura Sugar missed the UK record by 0.04 as she clocked 28.66 for second. Compatriot Sophie Kamlish was third with 29.42.
Diamond League winners 2013
Bold for those whose wins were sealed in Brussels. Others gained the victory in Zurich last week.
100: Justin Gatlin
200: Warren Weir
400: LaShawn Merritt
800: Mohammed Aman
1500: Ayanleh Souleiman
3000/5000: Yenew Alamirew
3000SC: Corneslus Kipruto
110H: David Oliver
400H: Javier Culson
HJ: Bohdan Bondarenko
PV: Renaud Lavillenie
LJ: Aleksandr Menkov
TJ: Christian Taylor
SP: Ryan Whiting
DT: Gerd Kanter
JT: Vitezslav Vesely
100: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce
200: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce
400: Amantle Montsho
800: Eunice Sum
1500: Abeba Aregawi
3000/5000: Meseret Defar
3000SC: Milcah Chemos
100H: Dawn Harper-Nelson
400H: Zuzana Hejnova
HJ: Svetlana Shkolina
PV: Silke Spiegelburg
LJ: Shara Proctor
TJ: Caterine Ibarguen
SP: Valerie Adams
DT: Sandra Perkovic
JT: Christina Obergfoll
» Results can be found here while a report, pictures and results will also be published in the September 12 issue of AW