Double world, Olympic and European champion betters two-mile mark while Lynsey Sharp beats top field to also claim victory at Diamond League meeting
Mo Farah delighted the Sainsbury’s Birmingham Grand Prix crowds on Sunday as he dominated the two-mile event, smashing the European record with 8:07.85.
Talk before the race had been on how the double world, Olympic and European champion would surely have Steve Ovett’s almost 36-year-old British two-mile record of 8:13.51 in his sights but not only did Farah better that mark, but a four-minute flat second mile helped him on his way to break the European best too.
The 31-year-old crossed the line almost 15 seconds clear of his nearest rival – Zane Robertson of New Zealand – as Kenya’s Emmanuel Kipkemei Bett was third with 8:25.55. Andy Vernon, who finished second behind winner Farah in the European 10,000m and third behind him in the 5000m in Zurich, ran 8:27.55 for sixth as their fellow Brits Tom Farrell Jonny Hay, Tom Lancashire and Lee Emanuel filled the places from eighth to 11th.
“I was a bit tired going into it so I had to push myself to get that win, but once I got into it, I got better and better,” said Farah. “I was looking at the clock thinking ‘I can do it’.
“Last week (the European Championships) has definitely given me a lot of confidence,” he added. “I know I have a lot of speed on that last lap.”
Fresh from claiming her Commonwealth and European 800m silver medals, Lynsey Sharp returned to the track to claim a number of big scalps. The Scottish athlete clocked 1:59.14 for her second-quickest ever time to beat world champion Eunice Sum of Kenya – the athlete Sharp finished behind in Glasgow – and USA’s world bronze medallist Brenda Martinez, the pair clocking 1:59.42 and 1:59.56 respectively. In fourth, Sharp’s fellow Scot Laura Muir ran a personal best of 2:00.67.
Kenya’s world and Olympic 1500m gold medallist Asbel Kiprop ran a meeting record in the Emsley Carr Mile event, his 3:51.89 enough to see him cross the line clear ahead of world indoor 1500m champion Ayanleh Souleiman of Djibouti with 3:52.07. With 3:58.06 Britain’s Charlie Grice finished 14th.
In the women’s two-mile event, Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba was back in action after she was beaten by American Jenny Simpson in the Stockholm 1500m a few days before but she was again out-run in the closing stages as Kenya’s Commonwealth 5000m champion Mercy Cherono clocked 9:11.49 for victory. Behind her, her compatriots Viola Kibiwot and Irene Jelagat ran 9:12.59 and 9:12.90 respectively as Dibaba ran 9:14.28 for fourth. Britain’s Emelia Gorecka and Laura Whittle placed 12th and 13th with respective 9:43.22 and 9:49.75 clockings.
There was another exciting battle over the bar in the men’s high jump as world and European high jump champion Bohdan Bondarenko of Ukraine and Qatar’s world indoor gold medallist Mutaz Essa Barshim both cleared the winning height of 2.38m – a meeting record – but failed their three attempts at 2.41m and Barshim claimed the victory on countback.
Also out in the field and New Zealand’s shot put star Valerie Adams extended her unbeaten streak to 55 competitions, her first throw of 19.96m her best to claim victory ahead of Germany’s Christina Schwanitz, while Olympic triple jump champion Christian Taylor leapt his best in the final round of the long jump to move from fifth to first and beat Commonwealth silver medallist Zarck Visser of South Africa by just one centimetre – 8.09m to 8.08m. Britain’s Greg Rutherford – gold medallist ahead of Visser in Glasgow – leapt a best of 8.04m for fourth as just eight centimetres separated the top five.
World, Olympic and now Commonwealth gold medallist Kirani James of Grenada was the man to beat in the 400m and although Botswana’s Isaac Makwala came closest in the closing stages, James still easily crossed clear, clocking 44.59 to his rival’s 45.02. Britain’s European champion Martyn Rooney ran 45.25 in third as his compatriot Matt Hudson-Smith – silver medallist behind Rooney in Zurich – looked tired in seventh.
World champion Christine Ohuruogu returned from her fourth-place finish at the European Championships to clock 51.40 to win the non-Diamond League race in Birmingham. Behind her, fellow Briton Kelly Massey clocked a 51.96 PB for fifth as Anyika Onuora equalled that time in sixth and Shana Cox ran 52.76 for eighth.
Kenya’s world 800m record-holder David Rudisha admitted he was disappointed not to have got a bit closer to Johnny Gray’s 1:12.81 world 600m record but he cruised to victory with 1:13.71 – the fourth quickest time in history for the rarely-run distance. Behind him, Poland’s European champion Adam Kszczot clocked 1:14.69 as Kyle Langford clocked 1:16.30 in seventh to break the UK junior record.
Kenya’s Jairus Kipchoge Birech ran a meeting record in the men’s 3000m steeplechase despite coming to a complete stop ahead of the final barrier as he misjudged it and had to put his hands on top to hop over before resuming his run to clock 8:07.80 as his compatriots also filled the next six places.
Olympic silver medallist in 2008 Kerron Stewart of Jamaica ran 11.22 to win the women’s 100m from France’s Myriam Soumaré with 11.25 as Britain’s Asha Philip – part of the gold medal-winning GB 4x100m relay team in Zurich – was third with 11.26. She was followed over the line by relay team-mate Ashleigh Nelson with 11.27 as USA’s Tori Bowie pulled up before limping off of the track.
Jamaica’s Kemar Bailey-Cole was dominant in the men’s 100m, the Commonwealth champion clocking 10.08 ahead of compatriot Nesta Carter. Britain’s Chijindu Ujah – third over 100m at the Stockholm Diamond League on Thursday – ran 10.23 for fourth, as Harry Aikines-Aryeetey clocked 10.34 in sixth.
A Jamaican athlete claimed victory in the men’s 200m too, as Nickel Ashmeade clocked 20.33 in a close race, Panama’s Alonso Edward just behind him with 20.35. Britain’s James Ellington ran 20.93 for sixth.
There was a repeat of the Commonwealth top two in the women’s 400m hurdles as Jamaica’s Kaliese Spencer beat Scottish athlete Eilidh Child – 53.80 to 54.89 – while Dawn Harper-Nelson won the sprint hurdles event in 12.66 from fellow American Queen Harrison with 12.70. Olympic champion Sally Pearson of Australia was third with 12.85, one place ahead of Britain’s European champion Tiffany Porter with 12.93.
Fresh from winning the discus competition at the Kamila Skolimowska Memorial in Poland the day before, Germany’s Olympic, world and European champion Robert Harting saved his best until last to also win in Birmingham – 67.57m his winning throw. One jump was all it took for world champ Caterine Ibargüen of Colombia to claim victory in the triple jump, 14.52m her best. That win also secured her the overall Diamond League victory. The women’s pole vault was won by Greek vaulter Katerina Stefanidi with a best clearance of 4.57m, while Olympic and European champion Barbora Špotáková was handed a rare defeat in the javelin as Canada’s Elizabeth Gleadle – 12th in the London Olympics – threw 64.49m to beat the Czech thrower’s 62.89m.
» Results can be found here, while more in-depth coverage from our team in Birmingham will be included in the August 28 edition of AW