Greg Rutherford is among the winners in Rabat, but Dai Greene finishes a close second in the 400m hurdles
Three weeks after equalling the UK long jump record, Greg Rutherford confirmed his fine form with a victory in Rabat, Morocco, at the Meeting International Mohammed VI d’Athlétisme.
Up against fellow UK record-holder Chris Tomlinson, Rutherford led from the outset, opening his series with 8.00m. Despite a -1.7m/s headwind, he improved in the third round to 8.17m.
World indoor bronze medallist Aleksandr Menkov was his nearest challenger, finishing second with 8.10m. Tomlinson, competing for the first time since the 2011 World Championships, got his season underway with a solid 8.01m. World indoor champion Mauro Vinicius da Silva was just fifth (7.89m).
Dai Greene was another Briton who was opening his season, but the world 400m hurdles champion suffered a narrow defeat to the evergreen Felix Sanchez, 48.93 to 48.96. Nevertheless, Greene’s time was comfortably inside the Olympic A standard, and training partner Jack Green also dipped inside the mark with his 49.45 in third.
One of the best quality marks on the track came in the men’s 5000m, where Vincent Chepkok set a world-leading time of 12:59.28. The World Cross bronze medallist finished two seconds ahead of fellow Kenyan Jacob Cheshari.
World indoor champion Mohamed Aman gained revenge on the man who defeated him at last year’s World Youth Championships, Leonard Kosencha, taking the 800m by a narrow margin – 1:43.68 to 1:43.70.
UK record-holder Goldie Sayers continued her consistency over the 60-metre mark with her fifth victory in five competitions this year, winning with 62.35m.
World indoor 60m champion Justin Gatlin won the 100m, but was some way outside 10 seconds, winning in 10.12 (0.8m/s) from world bronze medallist Kim Collins.
Mariem Alaoui Selsouli – who, like Gatlin, has also recently returned from a drugs ban – was a clear winner of the women’s 5000m. The world indoor 1500m silver medallist clocked 14:45.91 to win by 12 seconds.
So often dominated by Kenya, both steeplechase races in Rabat were instead won by Ethiopian athletes. Roba Gari took the men’s race in 8:10.04, just a metre ahead of Morocco’s Brahim Taleb. Hiwot Ayalew enjoyed a significantly bigger winning margin in the women’s race, crossing the line in 9:16.14 – eight seconds in front of Kenya’s Lydia Chepkirui.
In the women’s field events, world champion Olga Saladukha opened her outdoor season with a leap of 14.75m to win the triple jump. Olympic champion Tia Hellebaut, also making her summer debut, won the high jump with 1.96m.