Devon Allen, Sydney McLaughlin and Wojciech Nowicki in Continental Tour Action
The 2022 World Athletics Continental Tour welcomed more athletes than ever before, a total of 11,793 athletes from 159 countries competing across an expanded schedule that featured meetings in all six continental areas.
Two area records and 118 national records were set, while 2396 personal best performances were achieved in this year’s Tour, which was divided into four levels – Gold, Silver, Bronze and Challenger.
In 2021, 6682 athletes from 147 countries were involved in the 69 meetings of the Continental Tour.
A total of 150 Continental Tour meetings have taken place in 2022, including 12 Gold level meetings that form the top tier of the world's best one-day competitions outside the Wanda Diamond League. Here we look back at some of the memorable moments from that Gold-level action.
The World Athletics Continental Tour Gold got off to a breezy start in Bermuda but Olympic champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn was among the athletes to defy the conditions, battling a -2.5m/s headwind to start her 100m hurdles season in style.
The Puerto Rican won by almost half a second in 12.67 and would go on to claim bronze at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 during a remarkable season for the discipline. Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan, who herself competed at Continental Tour Gold meetings in Walnut, Bydgoszcz and Turku, took the world record to 12.12 in the semifinals in Oregon and then won world gold ahead of Jamaica’s Britany Anderson and Camacho-Quinn.
All eyes were on the men’s 200m at Mt SAC, Fred Kerley going head-to-head with his US compatriot Michael Norman. At the start of a season in which they would both go on to win world titles on home soil in Oregon – Kerley winning the 100m and Norman the 400m – their contest at 200m saw Kerley triumph. The Olympic silver medallist clocked 19.80 to beat Norman with 19.83 and Rai Benjamin with 20.01.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce set the tone for 2022 in Nairobi, the Jamaican sprint great winning the 100m in 10.67 – a meeting record and Continental Tour best. Egypt’s Bassant Hemida set a national record of 11.02 in second.
Fraser-Pryce ran a record seven sub-10.70 100m races throughout the season, one of those – another 10.67 – securing her a fifth world 100m title in Oregon.
Competing on home soil, Japan’s Haruka Kitaguchi topped the javelin in Tokyo to maintain a win streak that she would carry through to the World Championships.
There, the 24-year-old became the first athlete from her nation to claim a global senior medal in a women’s throws event, recording 63.27m to claim bronze. In Tokyo she threw 63.93m to win ahead of Latvia’s Lina Muze and Australia’s Kelsey-Lee Barber, who retained her world title in Oregon.
Barriers were broken in Ostrava, Femke Bol setting a world 300m hurdles best and Lamecha Girma surging to 12th on the world 3000m steeplechase all-time list with an Ethiopian record.
Girma’s 7:58.68 – the quickest time ever recorded in the Continental Tour – remained the second-fastest performance of the season behind Soufiane El Bakkali’s 7:58.28 in Rabat. Come Oregon, Girma secured world silver behind El Bakkali.
Another exciting head-to-head was on show in Bydgoszcz and this time it was Wojciech Nowicki who won the hammer contest on home soil to beat his compatriot Pawel Fajdek.
Nowicki threw 80.28m and Fajdek 80.19m, but Fajdek would turn the tables to win his fifth successive world title in Oregon as Nowicki settled for silver.
One of the many meeting records in the Continental Tour this year was set by New Zealand’s Tom Walsh, who beat USA’s Joe Kovacs for the second time in two meetings – 22.31m to 22.00m.
The world’s best are not afraid to face each other in this event and the contest in Silesia formed part of some top-class competition that would last all season. That mark in Poland would remain Walsh’s season’s best, while Kovacs improved to 23.23m at the Diamond League Final in Zurich, putting him second on the world all-time list.
The rain, wind and cold didn’t seem to dampen the spirits of athletes in Hengelo and among those to shine were Mondo Duplantis and Chase Ealey, who both posted world-leading marks, and Britain’s Eilish McColgan, who beat a top 10,000m field to follow in the footsteps of her mother.
Duplantis cleared 6.01m in the pole vault, while Ealey threw 19.98m. McColgan's 30:19.02 was a Scottish record, improving the mark set by her mother and coach Liz, the 1991 world champion, on the same track 31 years earlier.
In a 110m hurdles clash between world champion Grant Holloway and his US compatriot Devon Allen, it was Allen who prevailed. In his final season of track and field before switching his focus to American football, Allen clocked a Continental Tour best of 12.84 to move to third on the world all-time list, just 0.04 off the world record and 0.03 behind Holloway’s best achieved in Eugene last year.
Olympic champion Daniel Stahl found a way to end world champion Kristjan Ceh’s winning streak in the discus, throwing a meeting record of 70.62m in the first round to pile some early pressure on the Slovenian.
Andrius Gudzius threw 68.09m with his final effort to move into second place, while Ceh finished third with 67.76m. With four men throwing beyond 67 metres, it was one of the highest-quality discus competitions of the past decade.
World champion and world record-holder Sydney McLaughlin closed her season by clocking the fastest ever 400m hurdles time on European soil. Running strong from the gun, she held perfect form throughout to run 51.68, a meeting record by more than a second and the sixth fastest time ever. Jamaican duo Janieve Russell and Rushell Clayton were second and third, respectively clocking 54.14 and 54.45.
Discus star Sandra Perkovic delighted her home crowd with a winning season’s best performance, throwing 68.46m in a discus duel against Valarie Allman, who had a best of 67.55m. A number of world medallists were in action and joining Perkovic in winning were men’s discus champion Kristjan Ceh, 110m hurdles winner Grant Holloway, 3000m steeplechase gold medallist Soufiane El Bakkali and 100m silver medallist Marvin Bracy-Williams.