Laura Muir and Laura Weightman among Brits to impress with PBs run in 1500m won by Sifan Hassan at Paris Diamond League
With the last lot of Diamond League action having come just two days before, fans were treated to more top-class performances on Saturday as the world’s premier athletics series moved on to Paris.
There were a number of records broken and world leads set at the Meeting Areva held in Stade de France, with Sifan Hassan, Renaud Lavillenie and Asbel Kiprop among the winners, while Laura Muir and Laura Weightman provided stand-out performances from a British perspective.
What a race the evening’s penultimate event turned out to be. Separating themselves from the rest of the field, Hassan and Jenny Simpson were left to battle it out for the top spot and in edging ahead to clock a 3:57.00 world lead for victory, Hassan broke the Dutch record as well as the European under-23 best, while Simpson with 3:57.22 was just off the US record.
The excitement of that race didn’t end there, though, as a total of five athletes dipped under four minutes and six members of the field ran personal bests – Britain’s Muir and Weightman included. With 4:00.07 Muir broke the Scottish record and now sits at fifth on the UK all-time list, while Weightman’s 4:00.17 puts her sixth in the British all-time rankings. The pair finished sixth and eighth respectively in a race which saw Kenya’s world bronze medallist Hellen Obiri third with 3:58.89 and world indoor and outdoor champion Abeba Aregawi back in 10th with 4:03.46.
Earlier on and Hansle Parchment had denied Pascal Martinot-Lagarde victory in front of a home crowd in the non-Diamond League 110m hurdles event. He went all-out in doing so, too, as the Jamaican Olympic bronze medallist ran a world-leading and national record 12.94 to go to joint 10th on the world all-time list and become the 16th athlete to have ever dipped under the 13 second barrier. Behind him, world indoor silver medallist Martinot-Lagarde – winner with a personal best two days ago in Lausanne – went even quicker in Paris, running 13.05 for the runner-up spot as Cuba’s Orlando Ortega clocked 13.10 for third.
There was a world-leading performance in the women’s sprint hurdles event too, as 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper-Nelson, pushed all the way by fellow American Queen Harrison, clocked 12.44 to Harrison’s 12.46. Britain’s Tiffany Porter ran 12.72 for fifth, one place ahead of Australia’s Olympic champion Sally Pearson with 12.89.
After a delay caused by Nickel Ashmeade questioning his disqualification for a false start, Mike Rodgers kept his composure to storm to 100m victory in 10.00 ahead of Richard Thompson – the second quickest man over the distance so far this year with 9.82 – who ran 10.08 and Kim Collins who got off to a blistering start and clocked a 10.10 season’s best. Making his Diamond League debut, Chijindu Ujah – who ran 9.96 in Hengelo earlier this season – finished sixth with 10.20.
Home fans were treated to wins in the field from world pole vault record-holder Lavillenie, world indoor long jump champion Éloyse Lesueur and Benjamin Compaoré in the triple jump. One vault was all it took for Lavillenie to secure victory as he sailed over 5.70m on his first attempt but then failed 5.83m on all thee goes. Having bounced back from two no-heights in Ostrava and Braunschweig to win the British title last weekend, Steve Lewis again failed to register a height having entered the competition at 5.45m. Lesueur’s personal best of 6.92m in the third round of the long jump competition secured her the win ahead of world and Olympic champion Brittney Reese with 6.87m as Britain’s Shara Proctor leapt 6.70m for fourth, while Compaoré won the triple jump, beating Olympic champion Christan Taylor by one centimetre with 17.12m.
Croatia’s two-time world high jump gold medallist Blanka Vlasic further proved that she’s back and means business as she cleared a season’s best of 2.00m to win on countback ahead of Russia’s world indoor champion Mariya Kuchina who cleared her personal best height on her third attempt.
Back on the track and Kenya’s world 1500m champion Kiprop dropped down in distance and beat the 800m specialists in style as he clocked a 1:43.34 world lead in a thrilling race. Using his 1500m strength, Kiprop pulled away from Olympic silver medallist Nijel Amos in the home straight as Cuba’s Yeimer López almost caught Amos on the line and French football kit-clad Pierre-Ambroise Bosse, cheered on by the vocal home crowd, clocked a 1:44.23 season’s best in a race where the top three all went sub-1:44.
Kenya’s Olympic bronze medallist Edwin Soi outkicked Yenew Alamirew and clocked the first sub-13:00 5000m of the year to finish clear of his Ethiopian rival. USA’s Olympic 10,000m silver medallist Galen Rupp led at the bell, but he was caught on the back straight and despite a bit of a trip on the final bend Kenya’s world 10,000m bronze medallist Paul Tanui stayed on his feet and came through for third in a 13:00.53 personal best as Alamirew clocked a 13:00.21 season’s best. Rupp also ran a season’s best of 13:00.99 for fourth.
The women’s 3000m steeplechase saw brave running from Emma Coburn – surprise winner in Shanghai earlier this season – as she further impressed with a 9:14.12 personal best, a mark not far off the US record. With 450m to go the Olympic ninth-placer only had Ethiopia’s Hiwot Ayalew with her for company. Ayalew surged ahead on the back straight and was victorious with a 9:11.65 meeting record. Olympic and world bronze medallist Sofia Assefa was third with 9:18.71 as Britain’s Eilish McColgan ran 9:54.56 for 13th.
Having failed to finish after stumbling out of the blocks for the 100m in Lausanne two days before, world 200m bronze medallist Blessing Okagbare proved that had been a mere blip as she surged through in the closing stages over the longer distance in Paris – pipping Olympic champion Allyson Felix – who suffered hamstring injury problems in 2013 – 22.32 to 22.34. Jamaica’s sprint star Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who has also had injury problems recently, ran 22.63 for fifth.
In the first Diamond League track race of the evening world and Olympic silver medallist Michael Tinsley beat Cornel Fredericks and Javier Culson to 400m hurdles victory, 48.25 his winning time. Britain’s Niall Flannery clocked 49.73 for seventh on his Diamond League debut.
Olympic champion Sanya Richards-Ross finished strongly to pull away on the home straight and clock 50.10 for 400m victory ahead of a fast-finishing Stephenie Ann McPherson – runner up in New York – with a 50.40 season’s best, while earlier on six-time Paralympic gold medallist David Weir had been victorious over 1500m as he clocked 3:18.78 to finish ahead of Frenchman Julien Casoli.
Germany’s world champion David Storl won the shot with 21.41m, while world and Olympic champion Sandra Perkovic also continued her winning ways but she left it until her final throw. Placed fifth with one throw remaining, she launched the discus to 68.48m for a meeting record ahead of Dani Samuels with 67.40m.
After an improvement of his PB this year of nearly five metres, Egyptian javelin thrower Ihab Abdelrahman proved his 89.21m from Shanghai was no fluke as he launched the javelin out to 87.10m to win from 2007 world champion Tero Pitkamaki with 86.63m.
» Results from Paris can be found here
Over in Germany earlier on in the day and Britain’s sprinters were among those on top form at the Mannheim Junior Gala. European junior 200m champion Dina Asher-Smith broke the UK junior record for 100m in her heat, clocking 11.14 to also go top of the UK and world junior season rankings and to go to equal fourth on the UK all-time list. She later followed this up with 11.03 in the final though was assisted by a 2.2 m/s wind, but the mark clearly further proves her incredible current form.
Also among those to impress in Mannheim was world 200m finalist Adam Gemili who clocked 10.04 in his heat to take a hundredth of a second off his previous best recorded when he won world junior gold in 2012. While in the 110m hurdles event France’s Wilhem Belocian reclaimed the European junior record from Britain’s David Omoregie with 13.15.
» Results from the first day of action in Mannheim can be found here