One of the best British Diamond league meetings in history featured a number of world leads and top-class performances
The final race on the second day of the Müller Anniversary Games was the Millicent Fawcett women’s mile which was built around Laura Muir’s British record attempt.
In a race which saw her European rival Sifan Hassan go third on the world all-time list with a highly impressive Dutch and Diamond League record of 4:14.71, an out of sorts Muir finished fifth in 4:19.28 as the top three all went under 4:17 and the top nine under 4:21.
Brenda Martinez set the race up well with a 63.30 first 400m and 2:06.85 at 800m.
At this stage Muir was struggling to hold that pace (2:08.0) but was effectively operating as a pacemaker for her major rivals – Hassan, world 5000m champion Hellen Obiri, who beat her in this race last year, and Jenny Simpson.
With 600m to go, Obiri pushed past her as and as they passed 1200m with Hassan ahead on 3:11.82, Muir was struggling to go with the top three with Gudaf Tsegay and Obiri five metres clear of Muir (3:12.8) and Simpson (3:13.3).
The race was close at 1300m but a 15.0 100m down the backstraight gave Hassan (3:42.8) a clear lead with Muir (3:44.4) about to be passed by Simpson.
Through 1500m, Hassan (3:57.5) was now 10 metres clear and she held the gap with a 4:14.71.
“It’s unbelievable how fast I ran today,” said a delighted Hassan. “I have the endurance and speed but don’t normally have the last kick and today I did. Luckily I’m able to say I have the meeting record and Diamond League record today but it will be incredible to see how fast I can actually run in the future. I wanted to double up in the 1500m and 5000m at the European Championships but I think that’s out of the question given the timetable.”
Tsegay (4:16.14) just edged Obiri (4:16.15), though the latter’s consolation was a Kenyan record 4:16.15.
Simpson set a PB 4:17.30 in fourth followed by Muir.
“I’m a bit disappointed but I went through the first part of the race too fast and when you do that it catches up with you for the latter half of the race,” said Muir, who later explained how she had been suffering badly with hayfever in the lead-up to race day. “I know that the time is there, I just need to run it in a perfect way and I didn’t do that today.”
A big pack was closing fast and that was led home by Laura Weightman’s PB 4:20.49 in sixth which improves her time at fifth on the UK all-time list.
Sarah McDonald also set a PB of 4:20.85 in ninth and that moves her to sixth all-time and showed her below-par run in the trials was an one-off.
Jemma Reekie, who beat her at Birmingham, was 13th in a PB 4:27.16 but she did achieve her target of an European qualifying mark at 1500m and means she and not McDonald will be named in the European team this week.
Lasitskene and Harrison set world leads
Mariya Lasitskene equalled her world lead in the high jump with a 2.04m clearance but surprisingly was not alone at the higher heights.
The Russian was faultless up to 1.95m and then cleared 2.02m at the second attempt. A delighted Elena Vallortigara cleared 2.00m with her final attempt to improve her 1.96m PB.
Lasitskene then jumped 2.02m again at her second attempt. Astonishingly the Italian joined her with her third attempt.
The Russian then moved the bar up to 2.04m and went clear first time before three failed attempts at 2.08m but 2.04m was beyond the Italian.
“I feel very strong after today,” said Lasitskene. “Everything went really well and I feel in good shape. I have the power to keep going forwards and going higher.
The pair were a class apart as seven other jumpers cleared 1.91m.
Morgan Lake had a perfect record to that height and shared third place with her World Cup conqueror Vashti Cunningham.
World record-holder Kendra Harrison also set a world lead in the 100m hurdles with a clear win in 12.36.
Brianna McNeal was second in 12.47 and Sharika Nelvis made it a US top three with 12.51 as all nine athletes finished at 12.78 or faster.
Harrison had won her heat easing down in 12.67. Megan Marrs was the leading Briton in the race in 13.37. McNeal won the second heat in an even faster 12.41 as Isabelle Pedersen was fourth in a Norwegian record 12.72 and Queen Harrison, who won in Monaco, was only fifth in 12.85 but qualified as a fastest loser.
Cindy Ofili improved her season’s best to 13.26, but was still a metre short of the European qualifying mark of 13.15.
In the 200m, Dina Asher-Smith ran her fastest ever time outside a world championships of 22.25 but could only finish fourth as less than a metre covered the leading quartet.
Jenna Prandini won in a PB 22.16 with Gabrielle Thomas also setting a lifetime best of 22.19 in second. Shericka Jackson was third in 22.22.
“I left it all out on the track today,” said the Briton. “Obviously I got fourth place and nobody wants to come fourth, but I got a good time and it was a really high calibre field, so overall I am happy.”
Behind Asher-Smith, Marie Josee Ta Lou ran 22.34 while Jamile Samuel shocked her Dutch team-mate Dafne Schippers as they ran 22.37 and 22.42. The double world champion was only seventh.
While not quite as impressive as the men’s relay team, the women also showed top class form.
The quartet of Asha Philip, Imani-Lara Lansiquot, Bianca Williams and Daryll Neita sped to a season’s best 42.36, Britain’s 10th fastest ever time.
What of course makes that more notable is that it was done without their fastest woman, Asher-Smith.
Britain’s B team showed the sport’s great current depth as they finished fourth in 42.85 behind China (42.59) and Netherlands (42.71).
While short of the quality of Monaco’s 400m, Stephenie Ann McPherson won in a high-class season’s best of 50.31, as she pulled clear of fellow Jamaican Anastasia Le-Roy in the straight, who ran 50.85. The leading Briton was Anyika Onuora who finished fifth in a big season’s best of 51.13.
It was encouraging for the Britons behind and GB’s 4x400m prospects for Berlin that the other three home athletes smashed their PBs.
Amy Allcock improved from 52.10 to 51.36, Zoey Clark from 51.81 to 51.36 and Laviai Neilson from 51.98 to 51.70.
American CeAira Brown won a hard fought 800m. A 57.67 opening lap set the race up well and at 600m Natoya Goule, who set a Jamaican record of 1:56.15 in Monaco, was ahead at 600m in 89.69 but could not replicate her form of two days earlier and Brown won in 1:5 .57 to Goule’s 1:58.67.
Lynsey Sharp showed she is improving race by race and was a clear third in 1:59.34. Alexandra Bell (2:01.49) and Revee Walcott-Nolan (2:02.06) were eighth and ninth.
Reigning Olympic, world and European discus champion Sandra Perkovic maintained her unbeaten record in 2018 with ease, though was way off her best.
She opened with a modest 67.24m but that was followed by five no throws.
No one else though got close as the Cuban pair of Yaime Perez and Denia Caballero took minor honours with 64.63m and 63.91m respectively.
Jade Lally shows she in continuing to improve after her injury at the Commonwealth games as she finished seventh in an UK lead of 59.13m.
World records for Adenegan and Hahn
The T34 100m featured a clash between the world’s greatest ever athlete in this category, Hannah Cockroft, and up and coming 17-year-old Kare Adenegan.
The youngster got a superb start and maintained a clear lead all the way to the line as she won in a world record 16.80, improving her PB all the way from 17.37.
It took Cockroft’s world record of 17.18.
“I didn’t expect it at all and I was speechless when the time came up,” said the teenager. “I thought I was dreaming because I can’t believe it’s actually happened. I knew my 100m was strong because I set a PB about a month ago so I knew I was capable of something big but didn’t expect that.”
Cockroft finished second in 17.55 and was quick to congratulate her young team-mate.
“I didn’t know if 17 seconds was possible to break, I have been trying for five years now and I haven’t got it,” she said. “Now that someone else has got it maybe it is just what I need. For so long I have been the trend setter and the person to beat and now there is someone I can beat, so it is the best thing that could have happened.”
Sophie Hahn set a world record of 25.93 in the T37/38 200m as she won by exactly two and a half seconds from fellow Brit Ali Smith.
The previous record was her 26.17 from this stadium last year.
“It’s a complete shock to get the world record and I didn’t realise how quick I could go,” she said.
In the young athletes’ relays, Enfield won the under-20 event in 46.85, just pipping Croydon’s 46.87.
Croydon did win the under-17 race in 47.70
The closest race was the under-15 race which Reading won by three thousandths of a second in 49.123 to Blackheath and Bromley’s 49.126.
A report on men’s events action in London can be found here.
» See the July 26 edition of AW magazine for further coverage from London