Wins for Sum, Adams and Menkov as Kemboi, Kiprop and Aregawi suffer defeats in the Swedish capital
Meets that so closely follow a major championship are always bound to throw up a few surprises and Thursday’s Diamond League in Stockholm was no different.
It was a night of mixed fortunes for the newly-crowned world champions as some managed to capitalise on their global titles while others seemed to be suffering something of a world champs hangover.
Aregawi sixth as Sum victorious
It was a slightly strange 800m race that rounded off proceedings in the Swedish capital, with the pacemaker stopping dead at 600m to cause a hazard of herself and Alysia Johnson-Montano drifting out to lane five when the battle was on for the line. In the end it was Kenya’s 800m world champion Eunice Sum (pictured) that pipped the American into the runner-up spot, 1:58.84 to 1:58.96.
The race had been billed as a head-to-head between two world champions – Sum and Swedish favourite Abebe Aregawi who dropped down from 1500m, the distance over which she won world gold last week. But in a slightly chaotic race, the Swede never really featured, eventually crossing the line in 2:01.22 for sixth while Icelandic teen Aníta Hinriksdóttir ran 2:02.17 for eighth.
LaShawn Merritt was another athlete to pick up from where he left off in Moscow. The American followed up regaining his world 400m title just over a week ago with a 44.69 clocking on Thursday night to cross the line well clear of world bronze medallist Luguelin Santos and Czech runner Pavel Maslák who finished fifth in the world final. Having already run as pacemaker in the men’s 600m, Britain’s Richard Strachan was back in action and clocked 47.44 for eighth as compatriot Nigel Levine ran 46.20 for fifth.
Stewart and Smelyk secure success in sprints
Pre-race the women’s 100m looked to be a head-to-head between Moscow finalists Kerron Stewart of Jamaica and Alexandria Anderson of the US and both athletes battled hard for the line, with just one hundredths of a second separating the two. A time of 11.24 for the Jamaican saw her cross the line just ahead for the win, as Barbara Pierre ran 11.29 for third and 16-year-old Irene Ekelund of Sweden clocked 11.45 for sixth.
Serhiy Smelyk was a surprise winner in the 200m, the Ukrainian clocking 20.54 from lane eight to pip Norway’s World Champs finallist Jaysuma Saidy Ndure. World bronze medallist Curtis Mitchell of the US was the favourite going into the race but what looked like a painful hamstring problem saw him pull up on the bend. Britain’s James Ellington clocked 20.71 for fourth.
Hejnová and Oliver demonstrate more of the same
Another race and another victory for Zuzana Hejnová as the Czech athlete enjoyed her tenth consecutive 400m hurdles win of the year with a meeting record clocking of 53.70 to cross well clear of Kaliese Spencer of Jamaica with 54.88. World silver medallist Dalilah Muhammad of the US finished third with 55.74 while Britain’s Meghan Beesley clocked 56.22 for sixth.
With David Oliver another world champion to have capitalised on his recent success, the battle was on for the runner-up spot in the 110m hurdles. With the American securing the win in 13.21, there was just one hundredth of a second between Russia’s Sergey Shubenkov and Britain’s William Sharman, third and fifth respectively in Moscow, as the Russian took it 13.35 to 13.36.
World lead for Defar
Ethiopian Meseret Defar clocked the quickest time in the world this year with her 8:30.29 in the women’s 3000m. Fresh from reclaiming the world 5000m title she first won six years ago, a drop down in distance also saw her dominant as she crossed clear ahead of world silver medallist Mercy Cherono of Kenya.
Over in the 1500m and all eyes were on Kenyan Asbel Kiprop who defended his world title with relative ease in Moscow, but the World Championships clearly took a toll and it was world 800m bronze medallist Ayanleh Souleiman who made the most of his kick to power down the home straight and cross in 3:33.59 to continue his lead in the Diamond Race. Kenyan trials winner Silas Kiplagat finished runner-up in 3:33.92 ahead of compatriot Nixon Chepseba with 3:34.05.
Another recently-crowned world champion demonstrating that Stockholm was too much too soon was three-time world 3000m steeplechase champ Ezekiel Kemboi who dropped out mid-race. This left Kenyan Hillary Yego to take the win in ease with a 8:09.81 clocking to lead home a Kenyan top six. Conseslus Kipruto, who took the silver medal in Moscow, was third behind Gilbert Kirui.
Field favourites continue winning ways
All three favourites in the early events on the Diamond League timetable - Piotr Malachowski, Valerie Adams and Caterine Ibarguen - secured victory with ease. Poland’s world silver medallist Malachowski kicked off proceedings by extending his lead in the standings with 14 points ahead of absent world champion Robert Harting with eight points. A best throw of 65.86m was enough to see Malachowski ahead of Olympic silver medallist Ehsan Hadidi of Iran (63.64m) and Germany’s Martin Wierig (63.20m).
Four-time world shot champion Adams continued her dominant winning ways as the only athlete to better the 20m mark and with all her three legal throws too. A best of 20.30m for a stadium record secured her victory ahead of world silver medallist Christina Schwanitz (19.26m) and Michelle Carter of the US (18.56m) who narrowly missed the medals in Moscow.
Colombia’s newly-crowned and first-ever world champion Caterine Ibarguen wrapped up the triple jump Diamond Race, improving to 14.61m in the final round. Ukraine’s 2011 World champion Olha Saladuha who won bronze in Moscow leapt a best of 14.07m for second ahead of Hanna Knyazheva with 13.95m.
A win for Menkov as Obergföll falls short
Another of the favourites out in the field was Germany’s Christina Obergföll who finally claimed the major title that had eluded her for so long in Moscow. She couldn’t replicate that winning form in Stockholm, however, and had to settle for third with 62.36m as Russia’s former world champion Mariya Abakumova, who claimed bronze on home soil last week, set a meeting record with her best of 68.59m in the second round and will be left to rue her timing in beating the German. Obergföll’s compatriot Linda Stahl, the London 2012 bronze medallist and the only other woman to have beaten Obergföll this year, recorded a best of 63.7m for second.
Although unsurprisingly not close to the world-leading national-record leap that saw him take the world title on home soil last week, a best jump of 8.18m was enough for Russia’s Aleksandr Menkov to continue his winning ways in the long jump. The competition also saw Britain’s Chris Tomlinson leap a best of 7.87m that coincidentally is the same best distance Olympic champion Greg Rutherford managed in the qualifying stage in Moscow.
Russia’s world champion Svetlana Shkolina again saw off her compatriot Olympic champion Anna Chicherova and USA’s silver medallist Brigetta Barrett in the high jump, the Russians both clearing a best of 1.98m but the world champ winning on countback.
Germany’s Silke Spiegelburg came back from just missing the medals in Moscow to clear 4.69m for victory ahead of a pole vault field containing the likes of USA’s Jenn Suhr and Cuba’s Yarisley Silva, world silver and bronze medallists respectively.
» For full results and Diamond Race standings click here