World record-holder rounds into form ahead of IAAF World Champs with 9.95 victory over 100m at Diamond League
Usain Bolt always peaks when it matters and after looking a little rusty so far this summer the Jamaican breezed to his first sub-10-second clocking of 2017 to beat a decent field in Monaco.
With the IAAF World Championships starting in a fortnight’s time, Bolt ran 9.95 to beat American Isiah Young by three hundredths of a second as Akani Simbine of South Africa and CJ Ujah of Britain ran 10.02 in third and fourth.
Earlier, the women’s 800m was a red-hot race where four national records fell. Caster Semenya won in a South African record of 1:55.27, but she was pushed hard by Francine Nyonsaba, who improved her Burundi record to 1:55.47, plus Ajee’ Wilson, who ran an American record of 1:55.61.
Sifan Hassan of Netherlands was fourth in a PB of 1:56.81, followed by Melissa Bishop, who clocked a Canadian record of 1:57.01, as Britain’s Lynsey Sharp was sixth in 1:58.01.
Wayde van Niekerk took to his marks in the 400m amid speculation that he could threaten his world record of 43.03. But the South African had to work hard to simply win the race after Botswanan Isaac Makwala led into the home straight and pushed him all the way.
Van Niekerk prevailed in 43.73 from Makwala’s 43.84 but it was a tough race and sets the scene for an exciting race at next month’s IAAF World Championships in London.
It was a night when a number of global athletics’ big names were given tough competition. In women’s sprint hurdles, for example, world record-holder Keni Harrison won by just one hundredth of a second from fellow American Sharika Nelvis.
The men’s 1500m is always one of the toughest races of the night in Monaco and this year’s 30th anniversary meeting was no exception.
Elijah Manangoi led a Kenyan one-two-three as he won in a fast 3:28.80 from Timothy Cheruiyot’s 3:29.10 with Ronald Kwemoi clocking 3:32.34.
European runners followed with Filip Ingebrigsten of Norway fourth in 3:32.48 and Germany’s Homiyu Tesfaye fifth in 3:33.47.
In seventh, Chris O’Hare improved the Scottish record to 3:33.61 as the British champion again demonstrated his fine current form.
To show how tough the metric mile is in Monaco, Olympic champion Matt Centrowitz, New Zealander Nick Willis and Kenyan Asbel Kiprop were only ninth, tenth and eleventh with 3:34 clockings.
The women’s 3000m was just as impressive with Hellen Obiri enjoying a runaway victory to clock 8:23.14 ahead of fellow Kenyan Beatrice Chepkoech.
Behind, Laura Muir ran a PB of 8:30.64 in third while Eilish McColgan smashed her best to run 8:31.39 hot on Muir’s heels in fourth – a time that is quicker than her mother, former world 10,000m champion Liz, clocked.
With great performances coming thick and fast, the men’s 800m saw Emmanuel Korir of Kenya winning in a world lead of 1:43.10. Further back, Britain’s Elliot Giles clocked 1:46.10.
Elsewhere, Kori Carter of the USA won the women’s 400m hurdles in 53.36 as Britain’s Eilidh Doyle was fourth in 54.75.
Marie-Josee Ta Lou took the 200m in 22.25 as Dina Asher-Smith’s comeback from injury continued with a decent 22.89 in third, as fellow Brit Finette Agyapong, fresh from her European under-23 victory, finished fifth in 23.22.
Kenyans aren’t often beaten in the 3000m steeplechase but they lost the men’s and women’s races at the last Diamond League in Rabat and, here in Monaco, the victory in the men’s race went to Evan Jager as the American clocked 8:01.31 to beat Jairus Birech by a whopping six seconds.
In the field, Piotr Lisek took the men’s pole vault with 5.82m – the European indoor champion from Poland equalling his PB.
In the triple jump, Caterine Ibarguen continued her rivalry with fellow South American Yulimar Rojas, with the Colombian winning by 3cm from the Venezuelan with 14.86m.
The high jump, meanwhile, saw more quality jumping from Mariya Lasitskene as the Russian won with an impressive 2.05m from Yuliya Levchenko of Ukraine and Vashti Cunningham of the United States, who both jumped 1.97m.
There was only one throws event on the timetable – the men’s javelin – and Thomas Rohler of Germany established a lead with 87.06m in the first round and then lengthened it with 89.17m in the second.
» See the July 27 issue of Athletics Weekly for more coverage from Monaco, plus action from the rest of the week’s track and field action