Shaunae Miller-Uibo wins the 400m at the USATF Grand Prix in Eugene (© Getty Images)
World-leading marks achieved at this stage of the season don’t tend to leave too much of an imprint on the world all-time lists, but Shaunae Miller-Uibo’s 49.08 to win the 400m at the USATF Grand Prix in Eugene – the first World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting of 2021 – broke the stadium record for an iconic venue.
The Bahamian Olympic champion ran a well-timed race. She held a slight lead at half way and still had USA’s Lynna Irby for company on the final bend, but she opened up a clear margin on the rest of the field down the home straight to cross the line in 49.08, the fourth-fastest time of her career.
It also chopped 0.26 from the previous stadium record, set in 2003 by Ana Guevara. Global champions Sanya Richards-Ross, Allyson Felix and Tonique Williams-Darling are among the other past winners on the Hayward Field track, so Miller-Uibo will gain a boost in confidence knowing that she has out-performed such legendary athletes at this venue.
“The 400 is my favourite event, so I love coming in and trying to figure it out and having some fun with unravelling the secrets of it,” said the world silver medallist. “We’ve been really working on getting our strength up and now that we are in the middle of the season we are going to work on speed and getting ready to put down some great performances in the 200s.”
Irby finished second in 50.28, holding off Jessica Beard (50.38).
Winkler and Andersen make big statements in the hammer
World finalist Rudy Winkler showed his breakthrough into 80-metre territory last year was no fluke, producing the best mark of his career to win the hammer with 81.98m.
He opened with a trio of throws that fell just shy of 78 metres, then followed it with a foul in the fourth round. He found his rhythm in round five, though, throwing 80.09m and then went even farther with his final throw of the competition, sending his hammer out to 81.98m.
Not only did he smash his previous best, he moved up to second on the North American all-time list, just 54 centimetres shy of area record-holder Lance Deal.
“My first couple of throws were not right technically,” he said, “but on my last two throws I executed the way I wanted and threw a personal best.”
In the women’s hammer, world champion DeAnna Price suffered a rare defeat to a domestic rival as Brooke Andersen backed up her recent breakthrough to win with 77.99m.
Price led after the first two rounds with a best of 72.85m, but Andersen responded in round three with 77.56m. Price improved to 76.15m in round five, but couldn’t catch Andersen, who threw 77.79m in round four and 77.99m in round five.
Andersen’s winning mark is just 19 centimetres shy of the PB she set two weeks ago. More significantly, though, it’s the first time she has beaten Price.
Camacho-Quinn dominates sprint hurdles
Light rain started to fall half way through the competition programme, but it did little to slow down Jasmine Camacho-Quinn in the 100m hurdles.
The Puerto Rican blasted out of the blocks and could not be caught, storming clear to win in 12.46 – just 0.14 of the world-leading PB she set last week. Jamaica’s Brittany Anderson was a distant second in 12.82 with USA’s Taliyah Brooks (12.83) and Sydney McLaughlin (12.86) close behind.
The conditions may have hampered the times in the men’s 400m, but it was still an exciting spectacle as USA’s Michael Norman held off a strong challenge from training partner Rai Benjamin.
Norman ran a controlled first half, going through 200m with a slight lead over Michael Cherry and Benjamin. Coming off the final bend, though, Benjamin drew level with Norman and then edged ahead very slightly, but Norman responded well and regained the lead.
Norman won in 44.67 with Benjamin taking second in 44.97. Teenager Justin Robinson was third in 45.55.
Blessing Okagbare came through strongly in the closing stages of the 100m to win in 10.97 with Morolake Akinosun finishing second in 11.09.
Trayvon Bromell’s approach to the men’s 100m was the polar opposite but no less effective. The 2016 world indoor champion exploded out of the blocks and had a huge lead at half way. World 200m champion Noah Lyles made up a bit of ground in the second half, but couldn’t catch Bromell, who won in 10.01 to Lyles’ 10.17.
British double for Muir and McColgan
Laura Muir and fellow Briton Eilish McColgan dominated the 1500m and 5000m respectively.
Muir ran well ahead of the pacemaker from the early stages of the 1500m and by the time she reached the bell, she had a five-second lead over the rest of the field. She went on to win in 4:01.54 as USA’s Helen Schlachtenhaufen came through to take second place in 4:04.36.
Earlier in the programme, McColgan produced a convincing run to win the 5000m in 14:52.44, covering the final kilometre in 2:52, despite having no one to push her. USA’s Abbey Cooper was a distant second in 15:13.27.
Oliver Hoare, who set an Oceanian indoor 1500m record earlier this year, broke his outdoor PB to win the men’s 1500m. He doggedly stuck to the pacemaker from the outset, then maintained the pace to win unopposed in 3:33.54.
Canada’s Justyn Knight was second in 3:35.85, while world 800m champion Donavan Brazier was third in 3:37.58.
Elsewhere, world champion Anderson Peters won the javelin with 82.72m, and Chase Ealey took the women’s shot put with 18.93m.
Jon Mulkeen for World Athletics