Some of the best performances ever on Scottish soil were witnessed at Hampden Park as the venue for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games played host to day one of Britain’s premier Diamond League meeting
Victories for Eilidh Child and William Sharman in fast times were the highlights from a British point of view, while Katarina Johnson-Thompson’s 6.91m long jump also impressed.
Child received the loudest cheer of the night as she convincingly overcame a solid field in the 400m hurdles. The home athlete was just 0.17 seconds outside her Scottish record with 54.39, her second quickest ever. American Cassandra Tate was more than a second behind as runner-up. The Commonwealth title contender will have tougher opposition next time she races here, though – as she will face Jamaica’s world No.1 Kaliese Spencer in the Games in a couple of weeks’ time.
Another British hurdler in best-ever form is William Sharman, who over the 110m version, had arguably the biggest win of his career. His 13.21 equalled his recent PB as he beat American Jeff Porter (13.27) into second. Hansle Parchment, who leads the world rankings for 2014 with 12.94, was just fifth with 13.31. Earlier Sharman also won his heat as Brits Lawrence Clarke and Alex Al-Ameen went out with 13.54 and 13.87 respectively.
American Tianna Bartloletta confirmed her status as world No.1 in the long jump with a best leap of 6.98m – just four centimetres down on her PB. The US champion’s lead was challenged in the third round by British heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson, who added 10cm to her PB with 6.91m. Second in the competition, that is also where she now sits on the UK all-time rankings. The only woman ahead of her is Shara Proctor with 6.95m and she was also close to her best when finishing third with 6.82m.
The first sub-10-second 100m in Scotland resulted from a close race won by Jamaica’s Nickel Ashmeade. Both he and American Michael Rodgers clocked 9.97, just one hundredth quicker than Nesta Carter. James Dasaolu ran his second 10.03 in as many races this season. After a delayed start to the 2014 outdoor season because of injury, with that result he could have secured the vacant slot in the 100m at the European Championships, although selectors may have a dilemma as the absent Chijindu Ujah has run quicker this year with 9.96.
Javier Culson went off like a rocket in the 400m hurdles and held on for a win in 48.35. Olympic decathlon champion and world record-holder Ashton Eaton set a PB of 48.69 for second as he finished the much more strongly of the two. Showing his astounding all-round ability, he is now ranked sixth in the world in this event in which he has decided to concentrate this year. Rhys Williams was the best of the Brits, in sixth with 49.75, while Niall Flannery disappointed with 49.79 in seventh.
World indoor 400m champion and 2014 outdoor No.1 Francena McCorory set a Scottish all-comers’ record of 49.93 in holding off the resurgent Olympic champion Sanya Richards-Ross (50.39). Britain’s Kelly Massey was eighth with 52.67, within four tenths of her PB.
American Gia Smallwood-Lewis caused a major upset in the women’s discus as she beat Olympic champion Sandra Perkovic of Croatia, who was unbeaten this year. The US champion’s 67.59m in the fourth round was a PB by more than a metre as Perkovic tasted defeat for only the third time since the start of 2012.
As the top two in the world this year clashed in the men’s 200m, Alonso Edward clocked 20.25 to the 20.30 of Warren Weir. British champion Danny Talbot ran well for fifth, his 20.44 just 0.08 outside his seasonal and personal best. James Ellington was next with 20.77.
Sifan Hassan continued her winning ways in the women’s 1500m. After setting a world lead and Dutch record of 3:57.00 in Paris, the Ethiopian-born runner beat another transferee from that nation, Sweden’s Abeba Aregawi, in 4:00.67. Britain’s Laura Weightman was not far outside her recent PB as she ran 4:03.98 for fourth, arguably her best run at this level.
Hagos Gebrhiwet won the 5000m after a thrilling, sub-54-second last-lap encounter with fellow Ethiopian Yenew Alamirew. The time of 13:11.09 was relatively slow after only Augustine Choge, who was eventually seventh, went with the pacemakers at 5:20 for the first 2km. Britain’s Jonny Mellor set a PB of 13:31.21 in 15th, two places ahead of compatriot Ross Millington (13:57.95).
The women’s Great Britain ‘A’ squad clocked a season’s best of 42.74 in the 4x100m relay. Asha Philip, Ashleigh Nelson, Jodie Williams and Desiree Henry combined to miss a UK record of 42.43 that looks under serious threat this season. A GBR ‘B quartet of Sophie Papps, Anyika Onuora, Hayley Jones and Louise Bloor were second with 43.36.
Reese Hoffa stretched his lead in the shot put Diamond standings with a win in a season’s best of 21.67m.
In a record-breaking year in which five men have leapt 2.40m or higher, the men’s high jump was down to mediocre standards as all of that quintet were absent in an event which didn’t have Diamond League status here. Poland’s Wojciech Theiner took the honours with 2.28m. As for the Brits, David Smith and Chris Baker cleared 2.22m, while Allan Smith was on 2.15m.
Another event without the top men was the men’s pole vault, where Pawel Wojciechowski and Piotr Lisek scored a Polish one-two as both cleared a best of 5.67m. Britain’s Jax Thoirs and Max Eaves had bests of 5.35m.
In the F44 long jump Stef Reid beat her own world record with 5.47m despite going into a head wind of 1.4m/sec.
David Weir easily took the wheelchair 1500m with 3:08.78.