British teenager Jess Judd delighted with lifetime best at Bislett Games following injury woes
There was yet another action-packed evening of Diamond League excitement on Wednesday night as the series stopped at the Bislett Games in Oslo.
Mixed in with a number of world leading performances was Ayanleh Souleiman’s win in the historic Dream Mile as Henrik Ingebrigtsen kept the home crowds cheering with his national record for fourth, while Eunice Sum continued her winning ways in the 800m but perhaps the athlete with the biggest smile was one just behind her – Jessica Judd – as she continues her return from injury.
As always, attention was on the evening’s penultimate event, the Dream Mile, featuring a line up including Souleiman – the world leader with his Diamond League record and Djibouti best 3:47.32 clocked in Eugene – as well as Kenya’s Bethwell Birgen and Ethiopia’s Mekonnen Gebremedhin. While Souleiman was victorious once again clocking 3:49.49, behind him the 2008 Olympic 1500m silver medallist Nick Willis proved his form with a 3:49.83 lifetime best for the runner up spot. A little further back and European champion Ingebrigtsen clocked a national record to the delight of the home crowd, his 3:50.72 enough for fourth.
Sum was dominant once again over two laps, the world champion’s 1:59.02 a season’s best. But also dipping under two minutes was 20-year-old world junior champion Ajee Wilson of the US and 19-year-old world junior silver medallist Judd, who ran a sensible race leaving enough to surge through a world-class field on the back straight and storm over the line in a 1:59.77 PB. Her time, just 0.02 off the UK junior record, puts her top of the UK rankings, and having fractured her sacrum in her back at the end of 2013, gives Judd confidence that everything is moving in the right direction.
“I’m over the moon,” she told Diamond League organisers after the race. “I through I could run well but I didn’t think I’d come third in that race, so it’s a really good sign.”
Running at the Oslo Diamond League for the first time, Olympic 200m champion Allyson Felix claimed her first Diamond League win since the hamstring injury she sustained at the World Championships in Moscow. She clocked 22.73 as British sprinter Jodie Williams stormed the final 60m to come through for the runner up spot in 22.97, dipping under the 23 second barrier for the third time this season just 40 minutes after running in the 100m event. Behind the top two and it was incredibly close, the next three athletes over the line all also dipping under 23 seconds, two-time world silver medallist Murielle Ahoure fifth with 22.99.
Richard Thompson followed up his sub-10 win in Hengelo with a 10.02 clocking for 100m victory in Oslo, the 2008 Olympic silver medallist beating Jimmy Vicaut with 10.04. Adam Gemili matched the third place finish he managed in Rome, this time clocking 10.11. Behind him his fellow Brits Richard Kilty and Danny Talbot ran 10.29 and 10.31 for seventh and eighth respectively. There was a solid win for Myriam Soumare in the women’s event, her 11.18 a season’s best. Behind her, British sprinters Asha Philip and Williams ran 11.41 and 11.44, finishing fifth and sixth respectively.
There was talk of an American record attempt from Galen Rupp in the 5000m but the pace for a sub-13 minute clocking was never really there, let alone 12:53. Having said that, the pace did pick up enough for the winner, Ethiopia’s Yenew Alamirew, to clock a world-leading 13:01.57 as Kenya’s Caleb Ndiku – winner with a then world lead in Eugene – ran 13:02.15 to cross the line ahead of Olympic silver 10,000m medallist Rupp with a season’s best 13:03.35. There was also a world leading performance from Kenya’s Jairus Birech in the 3000m steeplechase as he added to his win in Rome with a clear victory in 8:02.37 in Oslo. Behind him Evan Jager clocked 8:06.97, a time just 0.16 off his US record.
The world leads kept coming, France’s world indoor silver medalist Pascal Martinot-Lagarde having his winning time in the 110m hurdles adjusted to 13.12 for the quickest run so far this year as British champion Will Sharman clocked 13.38 for fourth ahead of Olympic bronze medallist Hansle Parchment and 2011 world champion Jason Richardson.
Kaliese Spencer extended her lead in Diamond League 400m hurdles standings as she clocked 54.94 to pip Kemi Adekoya – winner in Doha – with 54.96. The Jamaican had run 53.97 in Rome to go top of the season’s rankings but the blustery conditions took their toll, Britain’s Eilidh Child following up her 54.82 for third in Rome with another third place in Oslo but this time with 55.33.
The men’s event wasn’t a Diamond League race but the majority of attention was on decathlon world record-holder Ashton Eaton who continues this year’s focus on the one lap event over the barriers. Fresh from a 49.07 PB clocked when finishing as runner up to two-time world silver medallist Javier Culson in Hengelo, he became the first decathlete to win an event at a Diamond League meeting, his 49.16 putting him clearly ahead of fellow American Johnny Dutch with 49.77. In the women’s 400m flat, Novlene Williams-Mills stormed away for victory, the Jamaican clocking 50.06 ahead of Natasha Hastings’ 50.60. Further down the field and Britain’s Emily Diamond ran 52.58 for seventh.
Tianna Bartoletta needed to do no more after her world leading 7.02m in the second round of the long jump competition as no other athlete could also break the seven metre barrier. Britain’s Shara Proctor did improve to a season’s best 6.78m in the fourth round though to secure her the runner up spot ahead of Bartoletta’s fellow American Funmi Jimoh with 6.71m.
Another victory for Croatia’s Sandra Perkovic made it three wins from three Diamond League meetings this year, the world and Olympic discus champion throwing a best of 67.17m in the second round to increase the gap between herself and Gia Lewis-Smallwood of the US in the series standings, the World Championships fifth-placer finishing second in Oslo with 65.77m.
It was also three out of three for Olympic silver medallist Will Claye in the triple jump as he followed up his meeting-record victory in Eugene and win in Rome with further success in Norway. It wasn’t all plain sailing for the American though and he saved the best until last as he leapt 17.41m in the final round to beat his compatriot Christian Taylor, the Olympic champion managing a season’s best of 17.15m. Britain’s 2009 world champion Phillips Idowu recorded his best in the first round, but 16.30m was only enough for eighth.
Renaud Lavillenie had a clear run up to his winning height of 5.77m in the pole vault, the world record holder going seven centimetres higher than anyone else could before failing at 5.83m. In the high jump, Croatia’s two-time world champion Blanka Vlasic missed out on victory on her season debut on countback, Russia’s world indoor champion Mariya Kuchina equalling her 1.98m PB to finish top. Her compatriot, Olympic champion Anna Chicherova, finished joint fourth with a best of 1.90m.
There was a second Diamond League win of the year for Joe Kovacs as he threw a best of 21.14m in the shot, beating the likes of two-time world champion David Storl with 21.08m and 2007 world champ Reese Hoffa with 21.07m, while Finland’s 2007 world champ Tero Pitkamaki just beat Kenya’s Julius Yego in the javelin – 84.18m to 84.17m.
» Full results from Oslo can be found here