Mixed fortunes for Olympic champions at Stockholm Diamond League

Wins for Zaripova, Richards-Ross and Taylor, but Sanchez, Majewski and Reese are handed defeats in Swedish capital

Yuliya Zaripova (Mark Shearman)

End-of-season meetings following a major championship are always fascinating, and tonight’s Diamond League in Stockholm was no different.

While some newly-crowned Olympic champions sought to capitalise on their London victories, others appeared to be somewhat lacking in motivation – and understandably so. Meanwhile, those who missed out on gold – or any medal altogether – were fired up and out for revenge.

But one Olympic champion who managed to continue their dominance was steeplechaser Yuliya Zaripova, who produced arguably the performance of the evening. The Russian had been attempting to break the world record, but after a swift opening kilometre of 2:58, the pace dipped in the middle section before Zaripova wound it back up during the final few laps, crossing the line a clear winner in 9:05.02 to take her to No.2 on the world all-time list.

Only world record-holder Gulnara Galkina has ever gone faster. World and Olympic silver medallist Habiba Ghribi was more than five seconds behind in 9:10.36, while Olympic bronze medallist Sofia Assefa and world bronze medallist Milcah Chemos did not finish.

Taoufik Makhloufi was a surprise winner of the men’s 1500m in London, and here in Stockholm he stepped down to 800m. At one point it looked as though the Algerian was poised to win, but Ethiopian record-holder Mohamed Aman came through to win in 1:43.56 with Makhloufi setting a PB of 1:43.71 in second.

Shot putter Reese Hoffa exacted his revenge on two-time Olympic champion Tomasz Majewski. After settling for bronze in London, the American beat his Polish rival in Stockholm, 21.24m to 21.01m. But in the women’s shot, Valerie Adams – who was recently upgraded to Olympic gold after the drugs disqualification of Nadezhda Ostapchuk – won by more than a metre with 20.26m.

After taking a long-awaited Olympic gold in London, Sanya Richards-Ross stated that she was out to run a fast 400m in Stockholm. Her 49.89 turned out to be only her fourth-best race of the season and some way down on her season’s best, but it was just enough to win as she held off world champion Amantle Montsho (50.03). Olympic silver medallist Christine Ohuruogu was third (50.77).

The best distance race of the night was the men’s 3000m, which saw eight men break 7:36. Kenyan teenagers Isiah Koech and Caleb Ndiku broke away from the pack on the last lap with Koech taking the victory by half a second in 7:30.43 – just one hundredth short of the world-leading mark and the fastest time in the world by a junior athlete since 2006.

All three 100m Olympic medallists were absent from Stockholm, leaving USA’s Ryan Bailey to take a convincing win in 9.93. He was the only athlete to dip under 10 seconds with Nesta Carter finishing second (10.06) and world junior champion Adam Gemili placing fifth (10.22).

Anna Chicherova was a class apart in the high jump as she sailed over 2.00m at the first time of asking before taking some good attempts at 2.05m and 2.08m. But fellow Olympic champion Jenn Suhr was not so fortunate in the pole vault, failing to clear her opening height of 4.55m. Olympic silver medallist Yarisley Silva ended up the clear winner with 4.70m.

Other Olympic champions to disappoint were Brittney Reese, who finished ninth in the long jump with 6.23m as Yelena Sokolova won (6.82m), and Felix Sanchez, who was almost half a second behind USA’s Michael Tinsley in the 400m hurdles, 48.50 to 48.93.

But the likes of triple jumper Christian Taylor (17.11m) and discus thrower Sandra Perkovic (68.77m) followed up their Olympic glory with victory in Stockholm. Elsewhere, Maryam Jamal won the 1500m in 4:01.19 with Britain’s Laura Weightman in eighth (4:06.09), Olympic silver medallist Dawn Harper took the sprint hurdles in 12.65, and Tero Pitkamaki produced his best throw of the year to win the javelin with 86.98m.

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