British wins delight home crowd

Christine Ohuruogu, Mo Farah and Katarina Johnson-Thompson on form in the Olympic Stadium on day two of the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games

Christine Ohuruogu (copyright Mark Shearman)

Britain had three Olympic gold medallists on display on the second day of the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games, but it was Christine Ohuruogu who was the most impressive of them in front of 65,000 spectators.

Ohuruogu, who gained the sport’s highest honour in 2008, took the win she narrowly failed to claim 12 months ago here in the Olympic Stadium. Her time of 50.00 is a clear indication she can, as so often, time her peak to perfection for the Worlds in Moscow in two weeks’ time.

Meanwhile, Mo Farah had another triumphant day at the office at the Olympic Stadium, though the talked-about UK record never looked under threat. However, Britain’s other London 2012 champion here, Jessica Ennis-Hill, was presented with a few concerns as she considers whether, after an injury-hit season, to contest Moscow.

Ohuruogu ready for Moscow
Ohuruogu produced her fastest run outside an Olympics or World Championships, stopping the clock on a winning 50.00.

With her fourth-fastest time ever, the 2012 Olympic silver medallist overtook the fast-starting Natasha Hastings of the United States, while another Moscow medal contender Francena McCorory was also behind her. McCorory was timed at 50.13 and Hastings at 50.68.

Britain’s Shana Cox produced a season’s best of 51.12 in fourth, while Eilidh Child set an outdoor best of 51.83 in eighth, just ahead of Margaret Adeoye (52.85).

Farah content with victory
Farah had played down suggestions of world or UK records here and, as it turned out, decided a win in 7:36.85 would be a sufficient work-out just two weeks ahead of the Worlds.

After an opening lap of 60 seconds kept the Olympic 5000m and 10,000m champion on schedule to break David Moorcroft’s UK record of 7:32.79, the pace slowed to a first kilometre of 2:38.50. It picked up to 5:12.80 for 2km and a final lap of 55 seconds stopped the clock just over two seconds outside Farah’s indoor PB. American Ryan Hill led the others in 7:42.32.

As far as the rest of the Brits were concerned, Chris Thompson was seventh with 7:45.52, one place ahead of Andy Vernon (7:48.01), and Jonny Mellor was 13th with a PB of 7:51.88.

Concerns for Ennis-Hill
At the start of the day, Ennis-Hill returned to the lane eight from which she began her triumphant Olympic campaign so spectacularly last year.

However, after having spent most of the season battling injury, she was well short of her UK 100m hurdles record of 12.54 that was the quickest-ever in a heptathlon.

She clocked 13.08 – her slowest time since 2011, although only a couple of tenths outside of her typical times.

Earlier in the week she had returned impressively from an injury which had kept her out of competition since April with a PB in the javelin in Loughborough.

She was fourth behind Australia’s Olympic and world champion Sally Pearson, who continued her return to form following injury with a season’s best 12.65. Britain’s Tiffany Porter was second with 12.76 in beating Olympic bronze medallist Kellie Wells of the United States.

Later it was a British heptathlete that won the long jump, but not Ennis-Hill who recorded just 6.16m for eighth and last – 35cm down on her best.

The win instead went to Moscow-bound Katarina Johnson-Thompson, whose 6.46m was a season’s best and just 5cm shy of her best-ever. Britain’s Lorraine Ugen was third with 6.44m, while Olympic bronze medallist Janay De Loach and 6.92m jumper Funmi Jimoh were out of sorts below 6.30m.

Ennis-Hill still has doubts over the lingering Achilles problem and said: “It’s amazing to be back in the stadium and just having everyone’s support is incredible. I’m just disappointed that I’m not in the shape and the fitness that I need to be in…

“It’s hard because obviously it’s only a couple of weeks until the worlds. I’m running out of time a bit…

“I haven’t decided about the World Championships yet. I need to speak to my coach and have a think.”

Meanwhile, Johnson-Thompson, who competed in the Olympic heptathlon here, said: “Long jump’s my best event and this place is my favourite track to compete at. It feels exactly the same as last year, just not the same pressure because I’ve just got the long jump.

“For Moscow, I just want to be consistent in each event. I’m not looking to set the world alight but hopefully I can have a good run.”

Bolt stars in the relay
Usain Bolt ended the day in style just as he had last night. He brought home Racers Track Club to victory in the 4x100m, the time of 37.75 one of the quickest ever outside a championships. His team also comprising of Mario Forsythe, Kemar Bailey-Cole and Warren Weir had looked a formidable force but one that GB had hoped to challenge.

The squad were trying to push their change-overs to the limits as they were seeking a fast time ahead of Moscow. However, after Dwain Chambers passed on successfully to Adam Gemili, the baton was dropped on the second exchange to James Ellington, leaving Harry Aikines-Ayeetey redundant on the last leg.

The “GB2″ squad of Andy Robertson, Deji Tobais, Richard Kilty and Greg Cackett were fifth with 38.77.

Lavillenie soars to 6.02m
While Bolt stole the limelight, performance of the day arguably came from Renaud Lavillenie, who went to sixth on the outdoor all-time list in the pole vault with 6.02m.

The Olympic champion added a centimetre to his best with a first-time clearance at that Diamond League record height. The Frenchman then optimistically moved the bar straight up to a would-be new world record height of 6.16m. It provided great entertainment for the crowd, but he was predictably nowhere breaking near the 1993 world mark on any of this three attempts.

In fourth, Luke Cutts set a PB of 5.70m, which also matched the Moscow ‘A’ standard – albeit it was two weeks after the selection deadline set by UKA.

Cutts had the ‘B’ standard and could have been selected on that, according to the IAAF’s criteria. However, his continuing good form will have many questioning UKA’s policy of imposing more demanding criteria – as well as perhaps the deadline for standards being set two weeks before required by the world governing body.

He said: “It’s a shame they can’t take us both to Worlds… I think I could have made the Worlds final.”

One man who will be going to Moscow for Britain is Steve Lewis and he cleared a best of 5.60m for seventh.

Okagbare in flying form
Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare climbed to 14th on the world all-time list in a 100m that saw great times throughout the heats and final.

Her African record of 10.79 took 0.13 off her PB as she headed American Barbara Pierre by 0.06. Trinidad’s Kelly-Ann Baptiste was third with 10.94.

Earlier, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce had run 10.77 in her heat – a world lead and just 0.07 off her Jamaican record. However, she had a poor start and finished only fourth in the final with 10.94.

Brits Asha Phillip, Annabelle Lewis and Desiree Henry clocked times of 11.33, 11.44 and 11.50 respectively but did not progress to the final, though it was a PB for the latter.

Oliver beats improving Sharman
Four years ago Britain’s William Sharman timed his best form perfectly as he gained late Worlds selection and finished a surprised fourth in the final. Going into Moscow, who would bet against him doing similarly well after he had the race of his life here?

Despite a slow start to the season, he has improved rapidly over the past few weeks and his four-hundredth PB of 13.26 in finishing second to David Oliver (13.20) raises him to fourth on the UK all-time list behind Colin Jackson, Tony Jarrett and Jon Ridgeon.

More notably, though, he he was ahead of US champion Ryan Wilson (13.37).

Aries Merritt, not quite yet in his world record form of last year, hit a hurdle badly halfway through and failed to finish.

Lawrence Clarke, who was fourth in the Olympic Stadium last year, had a less enjoyable return as he was sixth in his heat with 13.88. He has missed most of the season through injury, though, and only debuted in the trials two weeks earlier. He was just ahead of Britain’s James Gladman.

Another British hurdler failing to qualify for the final was Gianni Frankis, although he was just 0.06 outside his PB as he placed sixth in the other semi.

Adams still unbeaten
Valerie Adams continued what is the longest winning streak in athletics right now with a consistent series of throws.

In the first round the New Zealander sent the implement out to 20.71m – almost half a metre more than anyone else has achieved this year. She then got better with almost every throw and her 20.90m world lead in round five secured her a 38th consecutive win. She is unbeaten by anyone other than drug cheat Nadzheya Ostapchuk since 2006.

Germany’s Christina Schwanitz was second with 19.72. Sophie McKinna, the UK junior record-holder performed solidly on a rare exposure to his level with 16.81m.

Menkov takes last-gasp win in the long jump
Chris Tomlinson failed in his bid to record an ‘A’ standard for Moscow as his best of 7.99m left him fourth.

The result means almost certainly that either he, a UK long jump co-record-holder, or Olympic champion Greg Rutherford will miss the World Championships. Both have the ‘B’ standard but only one of them can go on that if neither has the ‘A’. UKA extended the selection period for the long jump until July 30 because of Rutherford’s injury.

Pre-event favourite Russia’s Aleksandr Menkov eventually came good, recording 8.31m in the last round after 7.69m and the rest fouls. Britain’s JJ Jegede was sixth with 7.92m.

Felix purrs in the 200m
Allyson Felix returned to the scene of her Olympic 200m triumph last year and delivered another masterclass in sprinting. The American led her compatriot Shalonda Solomon across the line in 22.41 to 22.50.

Britain’s Anyika Onuora took 0.14 off her best as she was fourth with 22.79, moving to 10th on the UK all-time list.

Tinsley handles the barriers
American Olympic silver medallist Michael Tinsley was just two hundredths off his world lead as he easily beat the 400m hurdles field with 47.98. Americans took the next three places through Johnny Dutch, Justin Gaymon and Bershawn Jackson.

European champion Rhys Williams continued on the most consistent form of his life as he clocked 48.97 for sixth. For the Brit, who set his PB of 48.84 this year, that was his fifth sub-49 of the season. Another on Britain’s team for Moscow, Seb Rodger, ran 49.64 from lane one, beating Olympic champion Felix Sanchez.

Kipchoge regains mile title
Kenya’s Augustine Kipchoge recorded the fastest time in the Emsley Carr Mile since 2004 as he took his second title in the event.

The distance is now run very rarely compared to when the Emsley Carr Mile started in 1953. Since Gordon Pirie won the first event, Derek Ibbotson, Seb Coe, Said Aouita and Hicham El Guerrouj have got their names on the roll of honour.

Kipchoge, who also won in 2010, clocked 3:50.01 as he beat Ayanleh Souleiman by six hundredths. No Brit has won this event since 2005 through Mike East and there was no likelihood of that changing here. However, Charlie Grice and Lee Emanuel set PBs of 3:54.61 and 3:54.75 for 13th and 14th and European junior 1500m champion Jake Wightman was last to cross the line in 17th with 4:00.62.

Kipruto snatches the ‘chase
Brimin Kipruto, the 2008 Olympic steeplechase champion, came out on top in a Kenyan three-way tussle over the last lap. He passed Gilbert Kirui, the fastest in the field on this season’s times, in the home straight.

The Brits had disappointing races – Worlds representative-to-be James Wilkinson was ninth with 8:47.21, just ahead of Mark Draper (8:47.95), while Luke Gunn was 12th with 9:00.31.

Germany’s Christina Obergfoll took the javelin with 65.61m, extending her lead in the Diamond League standings over Russia’s Mariya Abakumova, who was second. Britain’s Izzy Jeffs was eighth and last with 51.65m.

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