World 200m champion breaks Great CityGames record for 100m victory on the banks of the Tyne
Dafne Schippers rounded off her season with another record-breaking run – this time an 11.01 100m to break the Great CityGames best as street athletics action returned to the banks of the Tyne on Saturday.
The Great North CityGames again welcomed some of the world’s top track and field stars to the streets of Newcastle-Gateshead and Schippers ensured that the event ended in style as she cruised to victory in the final race of the day on the IAAF-certified pop-up track.
Despite the wet weather, the meeting enjoyed its usual strong support and big crowds cheered on the Dutch sprinter as she claimed another win in a season which has seen her secure 200m gold at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing as well as 100m silver – her winning time over the longer distance making her the third fastest female 200m runner of all time.
Schippers, who only in June announced her intention to focus on sprint events rather than the heptathlon, was fresh from winning the 200m in Brussels at the IAAF Diamond League final just the evening before, but it didn’t show as she powered to a clear win ahead of Brazil’s Rosangela Santos with 11.21. Britain’s Desiree Henry finished third in 11.24 – the same time as fourth-placer Jeneba Tarmoh, who had earlier run the 150m event.
That women’s 150m was won by USA’s Candyce McGrone as she narrowly beat Allyson Felix – 16.59 to 16.63 – as the rain began to pour. The night before, world 400m and Olympic 200m champion Felix had been pipped by Schippers in that Brussels 200m and she had to again settle for second as her fellow American was stronger in the finishing stages.
After clocking the ninth quickest ever time over the rarely-run distance, world 200m fourth-placer McGrone told the BBC: “It was a good performance even though it was raining.
“It’s kind of hard to judge it because you don’t have the turn but you just have to keep pushing it.”
Tarmoh, who finished sixth over 200m in Beijing, completed a US top three in Newcastle, clocking 16.84, as Britain’s Jodie Williams finished fourth with 17.53.
Tiffany Porter hadn’t achieved all she wanted to in 2015, the European 100m hurdles champion and 2013 world bronze medallist left disappointed after missing out on a medal in Beijing by just two hundredths of a second to finish fifth. She ended her season with a win, though, as the British record-holder had a clean start and a smooth run to cross the line clear ahead of USA’s Jasmin Stowers, despite not getting any sleep the night before after having also raced in Brussels.
Porter was pleased with her winning time of 12.77 ahead of Stowers’ 13.06. Just behind was Germany’s world silver medallist Cindy Roleder with 13.19 as Porter’s fellow Briton Serita Solomon clocked 13.26 for fourth.
“I’m actually really surprised I ran that quick,” Porter explained. “To come out here and come away with the win is really special.
“Overall I didn’t really accomplish what I wanted to accomplish this season but I think the mark of a champion is how you move on from those disappointments so hopefully next year will be better. I’m more motivated than ever.”
As the world champion both indoors and out, Yarisley Silva was unsurprisingly the big favourite ahead of the women’s pole vault competition. Conditions were far from ideal, but the Cuban enjoyed first-time clearances up to her winning and Great CityGames record-breaking height of 4.65m, as British record-holder Holly Bradshaw finished second with 4.55m, a height which also bettered the previous Great CityGames best.
Bradshaw had returned to action this summer after injury struggles and finished seventh in Beijing, which was just her fourth competition of the year. After entering the competition at 4.25m, she required two attempts at 4.40m and three at 4.55m. She passed at 4.65m before attempting 4.72m – a height that would have improved her own British outdoor record – but she didn’t manage to make it over the bar this time.
Bradshaw later tweeted: “Happy to start my journey to Rio 2016 in one piece – even after landing off the pit today during the competition!”
In third and fourth respectively on countback was Germany’s Fanny Smets and Switzerland’s Nicole Büchler, both clearing 4.25m.
Mercy Cherono led a Kenya top two in the women’s two miles event, the Commonwealth 5000m champion and world silver medallist from Moscow clocking 9:48 to finish eight seconds ahead of Selah Busienei.
Ethiopia’s Sentayehu Ejigu was third in exactly 10:00, one place ahead of European junior 1500m champion Bobby Clay, the 18-year-old clocking 10:05 to lead home the British athletes. She finished one spot and two seconds ahead of European 10,000m champion Jo Pavey, while Steph Twell was sixth in 10:11, Jenna Hill seventh in 10:19 and Beth Potter eighth in 10:35.