The South African beat the Diamond League record, while Eilidh Doyle was among Herculis meeting winners and there was an upset in a 1500m race featuring Asbel Kiprop and Mo Farah
Caster Semenya, Eilidh Doyle and Gianmarco Tamberi were among athletes to impress in Monaco on Friday evening as Diamond League action resumed at the Herculis meeting.
With the event taking place just a day after the tragic events in Nice, a minute’s silence was held, while athletes also wore black ribbons.
There were some stand-out performances at the Stade Louis II just a few weeks out from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, with Semenya’s world-leading Diamond League record among them.
Making things look easy, the 2009 world champion clocked a 1:55.33 South African record for the fastest 800m time in the world since 2008. After 56.04 by the pacemaker for 400m, the 25-year-old went through 600m in 1:27.08 before crossing the line to improve on an almost seven-year-old personal best and she led the field to a host of PB performances.
Francine Niyonsaba ran a Burundian record of 1:56.24 for the runner-up spot ahead of Margaret Nyairera Wambui with a 1:56.64 PB, while USA’a Molly Ludlow ran a 1:57.68 PB in fifth, one place ahead of Britain’s Lynsey Sharp, whose 1:57.75 is her second quickest ever time.
Doyle was another to prove her fine form ahead of the Rio Games by clocking a PB to claim her second Diamond League 400m hurdles win of the season after her victory in Doha. Crossing the line in 54.09 to improve on her previous Scottish record mark of 54.22 from 2013, the Briton clearly beat USA’s Cassandra Tate with 54.63 and Denmark’s Sara Petersen with 54.81.
USA’s Shamier Little, second on this summer’s world rankings with 53.51 from Eugene last month, had missed out on a place for Rio after failing to make the final at the US Olympic trials and in Monaco she clocked 55.73 for sixth.
Ahead of her PB performance, Doyle had the help of Paula Radcliffe’s daughter Isla as kit carrier.
There was an upset in the men’s 1500m as Kenya’s Ronald Kwemoi claimed victory in 3:30.49, with three-time world champion Asbel Kiprop just sixth in 3:32.03, one place behind Britain’s Olympic and world 5000m and 10,000m champion Mo Farah.
Athletes had hit 400m in 53.77 before Kiprop went through 800m in 1:49.95 but that pace couldn’t be maintained. Elijah Motonei Manangoi claimed the runner-up spot in 3:31.19, just ahead of Taoufik Makhloufi with 3:31.35.
Farah, dropping down to 1500m before he races over 5000m at the London Anniversary Games and then the 5000m and 10,000m in Rio, clocked 3:31.74 at the stadium at which he ran his European record of 3:28.81 in 2013. His fellow Briton Charlie Grice, who is also Rio-bound after his national championships win last month, continued to impress with a 3:33.60 PB for ninth to move into the top 10 on the UK all-time list.
Conseslus Kipruto claimed his fifth consecutive 3000m steeplechase win in the Diamond League series with a time of 8:08.11 ahead of Paul Koech with 8:08.32 and Barnabas Kipyego with 8:09.13, while the women’s 3000m was dominated by Hellen Obiri as the 2012 world indoor champion ran 8:24.27 to Mercy Cherono’s 8:27.25. There was another strong run by Rio-bound Briton Steph Twell as she ran a personal best of 8:40.98 for fifth, while Rosie Clarke also clocked a PB with 9:15.04 in 11th.
Tamberi beat athletes including Bohdan Bondarenko and Mutaz Essa Barshim with his Italian record-breaking clearance of 2.39m for high jump victory, but his attempt to improve the record again to 2.41m came at a cost as he injured himself and was taken off the track on a stretcher.
Bondarenko cleared 2.37m for second and Barshim 2.31m for joint fourth with Britain’s Robbie Grabarz, as Chris Baker had a best of 2.22m and finished eighth.
The women’s pole vault was won by Ekaterini Stefanidi with 4.81m and British record-holder Holly Bradshaw cleared a season’s best of 4.65m for fourth, while Valerie Adams went over 20 metres in the shot put, her 20.05m from the fifth round securing her victory.
Fresh from victory at the European Championships, Dafne Schippers continued her winning ways by easily taking the 100m in 10.94 ahead of Veronica Campbell-Brown with 11.12 as Britain’s Desiree Henry was sixth in 11.21. The men’s 200m was won by Alonso Edward as he ran 20.10 to Christophe Lemaitre’s 20.24. Britain’s James Ellington was eighth in 20.59.
In the 110m hurdles Orlando Ortega got another Spanish record with 13.04 in a race that saw Omar McLeod, the world No.1 and previously unbeaten hurdler in 2016, crash to the track at the final barrier, while Wayde van Niekerk celebrated his 24th birthday by getting the 400m win in 44.12.
Damar Forbes’ leap of 8.23m in the third round secured him the win in the long jump, while with 65.57 in the fifth round Piotr Malachowski won the discus competition. Caterine Ibarguen beat Yulimar Rojas 14.96m to 14.64m in the triple jump and recently-crowned European javelin champion Tatsiana Khaladovich claimed another win with her throw of 65.62m.
The non-Diamond League 800m was won by Alfred Kipketer in 1:44.47 as a fast-finishing Adam Kszczot ran 1:44.49 for the runner-up spot and Britain’s Michael Rimmer clocked 1:45.38 for sixth.
Full results can be found here.