Continental Tour Gold highlights
The World Athletics Continental Tour enjoyed a memorable 2021 season with numerous world, area and national records set across the 12 Gold meetings in the series.
In the second of a two-part series, we look back at this year’s highlights from the tour.
Turku, 7-8 June
Marcin Krukowski improved his Polish javelin record to 89.55m and compatriot Wojciech Nowicki won the men’s hammer with 80.77m.
Senni Salminen set a Finnish record of 14.51m in the women’s triple jump, adding 29 centimetres to her previous best and 22 centimetres to the meeting record.
Sweden’s world champion Daniel Stahl won the discus with 68.11m, and Germany’s Christin Hussong took the women’s javelin with a meeting record of 66.63m.
Other meeting records came through Bahrain’s Winfed Yavi, who clocked 9:17.55 in the women’s 3000m steeplechase, and Kenya’s 21-year-old Mary Moraa, who won the women’s 800m in 1:59.95.
Bydgoszcz, 30 June
Home athlete Anita Wlodarczyk laid down a huge marker ahead of the defence of her Olympic hammer title as she won with 77.93m, her farthest effort since winning the European title in 2018.
Wlodarczyk’s flourish followed DeAnna Price’s win with 80.31m at the US Olympic Trials.
“My message is that I am back and I am ready,” said Poland’s four-time world champion.
Her international teammate and fellow four-time world champion Pawel Fajdek set a meeting record of 82.77m in the men’s hammer.
Namibia’s 18-year-old Christine Mboma won the women’s 400m by almost half the straight in 48.54.
Chris Nilsen of the United States won the men’s pole vault with a stadium record of 5.92m.
Ethiopia’s Worknesh Mesele ran a meeting record of 1:59.39 in the women’s 800m.
Szekesfehervar, 5-6 July
Olympic 100m and 200m champion Elaine Thompson-Herah, only third in the 100m at the Jamaican Olympic Trials two weeks earlier, won the 100m here in 10.71 – just 0.01 shy of her personal best.
Her 34-year-old compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the world champion, was second in 10.82.
Akani Simbine of South Africa raised his Tokyo 2020 hopes by winning the men’s 100m in an African record of 9.84.
Pedro Pablo Pichardo and Hugues Fabrice Zango had a monumental contest in the men’s triple jump before the former, competing for Portugal, won with a fourth-round distance of 17.92m. Pichardo had broken Christian Taylor’s meeting record of 17.68m with his second-round effort of 17.82m but his rival from Burkina Faso matched it in the third round, setting an African record.
Six other meeting records fell.
Jamaica’s 400m specialist Shericka Jackson continued to impress over 200m, running 21.96 to inflict upon Shaunae Miller-Uibo her first defeat at the distance since the 2017 World Championships, with the Bahamian finishing second in 22.15.
New Zealand’s Tom Walsh won the men’s shot put with 22.22m.
Femke Bol of the Netherlands won the women’s 400m hurdles in 52.81 ahead of Shamier Little of the United States, who clocked 52.85.
Two-time world 5000m champion Muktar Edris, who had failed to make Ethiopia’s Olympic team, set a personal best and Hungarian all-comers’ record of 7:30.96 in the men’s 3000m.
Lithuania’s European bronze medallist Liveta Jasiunaite had produced the first meeting record of the day with her javelin victory of 62.73m.
Turkey’s 2016 European champion Yasmani Copello won the men’s 400m hurdles in 48.35.
Maksim Nedasekau of Belarus won the men’s high jump with a world-leading 2.37m.
Puerto Rico’s Jasmine Camacho-Quinn won the 100m hurdles in 12.34.
Canada’s world and Olympic silver medallist Andre De Grasse won the men’s 200m in 19.97 from Kenny Bednarek of the United States, who clocked 19.99.
The men's and women's hammer contests were won by rising Ukrainian talent Mykhaylo Kokhan and Poland’s Olympic champion Anita Wlodarczyk.
Kokhan, 20, threw a personal best of 80.78m to defeat Poland’s European champion Wojciech Nowicki (80.58m) while Wlodarczyk won with 74.76m.
Silesia, 5 September
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, suitably rested after her 10.60 victory in Lausanne 10 days earlier, won the 100m here in a meeting record of 10.81.
It was a Polish all-comers’ record for the 34-year-old double Olympic champion, breaking the 10.93 mark set by Ewa Kasprzyk in 1986, and one of six meeting records acclaimed by a crowd of 32,000.
Germany’s Johannes Vetter won the men’s javelin with 89.60m while Poland’s Olympic silver medallist Maria Andrejczyk won the women’s event with 61.77m.
Olympic champion and world record-holder Ryan Crouser of the United States won the shot put with 22.39m. Fellow Olympic gold medallist Gianmarco Tamberi was also victorious; the Italian won the high jump with 2.30m.
Home discus thrower Piotr Malachowski, the 2015 world champion and two-time Olympic silver medallist, made an emotional farewell appearance aged 38, finishing fourth with 62.29m as Kristjan Ceh of Slovenia won with 66.65m.
Two weeks after winning the world U20 title over the distance, Ethiopia’s Tadese Worku set a meeting record of 7:36.47 to win the 3000m. Morocco’s Olympic steeplechase champion Soufiane El-Bakkali was second in a personal best of 7:37.18.
Further meeting records came from Portugal’s Auriol Dongmo, who won the shot put with 19.32m, Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan, who clocked 12.64 in the women’s 100m hurdles, Britain’s Jemma Reekie, who was timed at 2:35.47 in the 1000m and Kenya’s Wycliffe Kinyamal, who won the men’s 800m in 1:44.63.
Pawel Fajdek, Olympic hammer bronze medallist, beat fellow Pole and Olympic champion Wojciech Nowicki with a final effort of 79.60m.
Zagreb, 13-14 September
Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba broke the women’s 2000m world record in the Croatian capital, clocking 5:21.56.
The Diamond League 5000m champion eclipsed the previous world record of 5:23.75, set indoors by Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba in 2017.
The Olympic men’s and women’s discus champions were victorious as Sweden’s Daniel Stahl threw 67.79m and Valarie Allman of the United States managed 69.63m to beat home favourite Sandra Perkovic's 66.48m.
The women’s 200m saw Namibia’s 18-year-old Christine Mboma clock 22.04 to beat Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson, who ran 22.30.
Double Olympic shot put champion Ryan Crouser of the United States threw beyond 22 metres with all six efforts, setting a meeting record of 22.84m.
Nairobi, 18 September
Trayvon Bromell of the United States bettered his own world-leading 100m mark at the Kip Keino Classic as he won in 9.76, with home runner Ferdinand Omanyala second in an African record of 9.77.
Bromell had run 9.77 earlier in the year and won the US Olympic trials but failed to reach the Tokyo final. He is now equal sixth on the world all-time list, matching the mark set by fellow US sprinter Christian Coleman in winning the 2019 world title.
Omanyala, 25, the first Kenyan to reach the men's Olympic 100m semi-finals, knocked 0.09 off his previous best, bettering the mark of 9.84 set earlier in the season by South Africa’s Akani Simbine.
Fred Kerley of the United States, the Olympic 100m silver medallist, won over 200m in a personal best of 19.76.
In the women’s 200m Namibia’s 18-year-old Olympic silver medallist and Diamond League champion Christine Mboma won in 22.39.
Kenya’s double Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon won the 1500m in 4:02.40.
Mike Rowbottom for World Athletics