Kirani James and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce among those to set world leads at the Shanghai Diamond League as Mo Farah wins 5000m in LA to start his season in style
A damp evening in Shanghai saw some exciting action on the track and field, as a number of highly anticipated clashes were realised.
One such clash was in the men’s 400m where Grenada’s reigning world and Olympic champion Kirani James saw off USA’s LaShawn Merritt to equal the meeting record of 44.02, bettering his own world lead in the process.
In a race that saw Czech sprinter Pavel Maslák and Great Britain’s Conrad Williams both disqualified for a false start, James was a comfortable winner, while it was a decent first 400m of the year for his American rival who finished ahead of Olympic silver medallist Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic.
Fraser-Pryce dominates 100m clash
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce went into Saturday’s 100m clash targeting rival Carmelita Jeter’s personal best time of 10.64, the current meet record set in 2009. Although missing that mark by 0.29, the double Olympic 100m champion’s world-leading time of 10.93 was enough to secure her victory ahead of the world champion who hung on for third place, despite clutching her quad as she approached the line.
The American, who was eventually stretchered off the track, was pipped into third by Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare and unfortunately wasn’t the only casualty of the evening, with some other big names hit by injuries.
World record-holder and two-time Olympic gold medallist Yelena Isinbayeva entered the pole vault competition at the winning height of 4.70m which she cleared on the second attempt, before struggling with what looked like an ankle niggle following the run up to her next vault.
Olympic champion Aries Merritt also came off worse for wear in Shanghai, pulling up at the first barrier in a 110m hurdles race that was won by USA’s Jason Richardson, who finished runner-up to Merritt at London 2012, in 13.23.
Final straight surges see success for Weir and Kiprop
The men’s 200m was always going to be another tough race to call with American Justin Gatlin up against Jamaicans Warren Weir and Jason Young. After a shaky start, Gatlin recovered well to finish behind Weir, who secured full points with 20.18, and ahead of Young, while Wallace Spearmon was another athlete to leave the track injured after jogging home.
A late surge from Kenya’s Beijing 2008 gold medallist Asbel Kiprop provided an exciting finish to the men’s 1500m. After lagging behind leader of the pack Mekonnen Gebremedhin, Kiprop ate up the ground over the final straight to pip the Ethiopian into second on the line to cross in 3:32.39.
Kenya filled the top nine spots in the men’s 3000m steeplechase, with the race won by world junior and youth champion Conseslus Kipruto who set a meeting record with his world-leading time of 8:01.16.
Another world lead was set in the women’s 800m as Francince Niyonsaba of Burundi put on a strong second lap to take the win in 2:00.33 from 2007 world champion Janeth Jepkosgei of Kenya.
Genzebe Dibaba took top spot in the women’s 5000m ahead of Ethiopian Olympic champion Meseret Defar, the world indoor 1500m champion crossing in a world-leading time of 14:45.92, while Olympic bronze medallist Zuzana Hajnova of the Czech Republic won the women’s 400m hurdles in a world-leading time of 53.79.
Li Jinzhe victorious for China’s only win of the night
Over in the field and Britain’s Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford leapt 8.08m for third in a competition that saw China’s only win of the night. Li Jinzhe saw off a field containing three Olympic champions with his world-leading 8.34m which also put him ahead of Aleksandr Menkov of Russia. Fellow Brit JJ Jegede missed the cut, as did Athens 2004 gold medallist Dwight Phillips.
Mutaz Barshim made up for just missing the top spot in front of a home crowd in Doha at the first meet of the Diamond League series with his jump of 2.33m in Shanghai. It equalled the meeting record and saw him victorious ahead of Doha winner Bohdan Bondarenko, who managed the same height. Britain’s Olympic bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz finished fifth by equalling his season’s best of 2.24m.
Colombia’s Caterine Ibargüen won the women’s triple jump with a world-leading 14.69m, while Germany’s Christina Schwanitz started her season with a win in the women’s shot, throwing a personal best 20.20m to finish ahead of China’s Olympic bronze medallist Gong Lijiao.
Discus action saw Poland’s Piotr Malachowski supreme with 67.34m, while there was word of injury woes for Rutger Smith of the Netherlands and a possible Achilles tear sustained during his final throw. Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott failed to improve on his sixth place finish in Doha, the Trinidadian again having to settle for sixth place in Saturday’s javelin competition which was won by Tero Pitkämäki of Finland thanks to his world-leading meeting-record throw of 87.60m.
Farah starts season in style
Over in the States and Mo Farah got his season off to a winning start on Friday night, putting his speed to good use over the last lap of the 5000m to cross victorious in 13:15.68 at the Oxy High Performance meet in Los Angeles.
In what was his first time of racing over the distance since winning his second gold at London 2012, Farah finished ahead of USA’s Dathan Ritzenheim (13:17.38) and Australian Ben St Lawrence (13:18.81) to start the season the right way, although his time was just outside the World Champs ‘A’ standard.
The men’s 1500m saw Scot Chris O’Hare suffer when a hamstring issue flared up, forcing him to drop out after about 300m. USA’s Nick Symmonds went on to take the win in 3:36.07, while Britain’s Chris Gowell dipped under 3:40 with a PB of 3:39.29 and compatriot David Bishop ran 3:38.72.
US teen Mary Cain continued to impress on Friday night, the 17-year-old finishing 0.02 behind compatriot Katie Mackey in the women’s 1500m to break the US junior record and her own national high school record with 4:04:62.
Over in Atlanta, Michael Bingham ran a UK leading 45.37 for victory over 400m, while fellow Brit Shana Cox ran 51.89 for second behind USA’s Joanna Atkins in the women’s race.
» For full results from Shanghai click here and look out for coverage of the meet in the May 23 issue of AW