Report19 May 2019

Norman, Wang and Lalova break meeting records in Osaka


Michael Norman wins the 200m at the IAAF World Challenge meeting in Osaka (© Getty Images)

Michael Norman’s 19.84 clocking in the 200m at the Golden Grand Prix Osaka was one of three meeting records set at the IAAF World Challenge competition on Sunday (19).

The rising US sprinter, who last month opened his 2019 campaign with a 400m PB of 43.45, dominated the half-lap race at Osaka’s Nagai Stadium. He already had a considerable lead before entering the home straight and he continued to pull away from the rest of the field in the second half.

The 21-year-old’s winning time of 19.84 (-0.4m/s) equalled his lifetime best and took 0.03 off the meeting record set 20 years ago by Frank Fredericks. Yang Chun-Han of Chinese Taipei was a distant second in 20.50.

“I’m pretty happy with the performance, time-wise,” he said. “I feel as though there are multiple areas that I can improve on so I’ll go home and work on those ahead of my next race. I just didn’t feel as though the intensity that I usually have during a 200m was there.”

Early next month Norman will contest the 200m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rome, where he will line up against Noah Lyles, winner of the 100m at yesterday’s IAAF Diamond League meeting in Shanghai.

Wang breaks Japanese all-comers’ hammer record

The Golden Grand Prix was also part of the IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge and the first competition for women in this year’s series.

China’s Asian champion Wang Zheng, runner-up in the challenge in 2017, won by more than a metre with 75.27m. Her winning mark broke the Japanese all-comers’ record of 74.76m set in this same stadium by Betty Heidler when winning the 2007 world title.

China's Wang Zheng at the IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge meeting in Osaka


USA’s Gwen Berry was second with 74.09m and compatriot Deanna Price, the North American record-holder, was third with 72.92m.

The third meeting record fell to Ivet Lalova in the women’s 200m. Contesting her first race of the year, the Bulgarian won comfortably in 22.55 – her fastest time since the 2016 Olympics – to break the meeting record of 22.63 set by Susanthika Jayasinghe in 2001.

“I remember running here at the World Championships in 2007 and I wasn’t happy with my performance,” said Lalova, who turned 35 yesterday. “But today I’m leaving Osaka very happy with my run.”

Japanese quartet makes amends

Japan’s disqualification from the men’s 4x100m at the IAAF World Relays was one of the biggest talking points in Yokohama last week, but the quartet returned to action in Osaka, determined to produce a good performance in front of a home crowd.

This time there was no mid-race baton juggling from the Olympic silver medallists as Shuhei Tada, Ryota Yamagata, Yuki Koike and Yoshihide Kiryu safely got the baton around to win by a huge margin in a world-leading 38.00. USA, with world 100m champion Justin Gatlin on second leg, finished a few metres behind in 38.73.

Gatlin had earlier won the 100m in 10.00 with Kiryu a close second in 10.01. World U20 champion Lalu Mohammad Zohri broke his own Indonesian record in third place with 10.03, the fastest time ever recorded by an athlete from Southeast Asia.

Nelvis pips Pearson

One week after helping USA win the mixed shuttle hurdles relay at the IAAF World Relays Yokohama 2019, Sharika Nelvis was victorious on Japanese soil once again.

She crossed the line level with world champion Sally Pearson but was given the verdict over the Australian as both athletes were credited with the same time: 12.70 (0.4m/s). Olympic finalist Pedrya Seymour of The Bahamas was third in 12.90.

The women’s 400m hurdles was far more clear-cut with Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad winning by almost two seconds. The world silver medallist stopped the clock at 53.88 with Tia-Adana Belle of Barbados finishing second in 55.42, just 0.03 ahead of USA’s Cassandra Tate.

One of the biggest cheers of the meeting came in the men’s 110m hurdles where world U20 bronze medallist Shunsuke Izumiya of Japan achieved one of the biggest wins of his young career.

The 19-year-old won in a wind-assisted 13.26 (2.9m/s), the third-fastest time by an U20 athlete over the senior-height barriers under any conditions. Greggmar Swift of Barbados was a stride behind in 13.45.

Lithuania’s Edis Matusevicius saved his best for last in the men’s javelin. The 2015 European U20 bronze medallist already held the lead with his 80.08m throw from the third round but he sent his spear out to 84.55m with the final effort of the competition, coming within 23 centimetres of his own national record.

Elsewhere, Omar Craddock won the men’s triple jump with 17.16m and Naoto Tobe won the men’s high jump with 2.27m. Kenya’s Jonathan Kitilit won the 800m in 1:46.37 and compatriot Philemon Ruto won the 3000m steeplechase in 8:22.65.

Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF