News03 Jan 2015

2014 IAAF Diamond League review – part 1


Kirani James winning the 400m at the 2014 IAAF Diamond League meeting in Lausanne (© Giancarlo Colombo)

Doha, May 9

Kenya’s double world champion Asbel Kiprop produced one of the finest runs of his career as he won a 1500m race which saw six men finish inside 3:31, clocking 3:29.18, a meeting record which went to the top of the early season’s listings.

And when Kiprop’s compatriot Hellen Obiri set an African and IAAF Diamond League record of 8:20.68 in the final event, a 3000m which saw Ethiopia’s world indoor champion Genzebe Dibaba fade to sixth despite a personal best, the joy of the large Kenyan contingent in the Qatar Sports Club stadium was complete.

Kiprop’s compatriot Silas Kiplagat, who had set the meeting record of 3:29.63 the previous year, was second in 3:29.70, with Djibouti’s Ayanleh Souleiman third in a national record of 3:30.16. Algeria’s Olympic champion Taoufik Makhloufi was fourth in a personal best of 3:30.40, ahead of James Magut, who also clocked a personal best with 3:30.61. Aman Wote was sixth in an Ethiopian record of 3:30.86.

Obiri clocked the fastest time by a non-Chinese runner in a race where 14 personal bests were set.

Ivan Ukhov, Russia’s Olympic high jump champion, defeated a field including home athlete Mutaz Essa Barshim with a 2.41m clearance to equal the IAAF Diamond League record.

Valerie Adams, unbeaten since August 2010, won the shot put with 20.20m, and Caterine Ibarguen extended her unbeaten run in the triple jump – going back to the 2012 Olympics – with 14.43m.

Shanghai, May 18

Ihab Abdelrahman El Sayed of Egypt produced the shock of the evening with an African record javelin throw of 89.21m, bettering the previous mark set by South Africa’s Marius Corbett in winning the 1998 Commonwealth Games title.

El Sayed – whose previous best, set two weeks earlier, was 83.93m – beat all three medallists from the previous year’s IAAF World Championships.

There was less surprise when Croatia’s world and Olympic discus champion Sandra Perkovic won with a throw of 70.52m, adding a centimetre to the national record she had set two months earlier.

Home 110m hurdler Xie Wenjun set the best received of seven world-leading performances on the night with a personal best of 13.23, watched by China’s former world and Olympic champion Liu Xiang.

Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria won the long jump, with 6.86m, and the 200m in 22.36.

Other outdoor world leads came from Renaud Lavillenie, who cleared 5.92m in the pole vault, Emma Coburn, who ran 9:19.80 in the women’s 3000m steeplechase, Abeba Aregawi who won her 1500m race in 3:58.72, Justin Gatlin, who clocked 9.92 in the 100m and Ana Simic, who set a personal best of 1.97m in the high jump.

There was embarrassment for Amantle Montsho and Taoufik Makhloufi as they slowed at the line and celebrated victory in the 400m and 800m respectively, only to find they had let victory slip away to, respectively, Novlene Williams-Mills (50.31) and Kenya’s 18-year-old world youth 1500m champion Robert Biwott (1:44.69).

Eugene, May 30-31

David Rudisha, the Olympic 800m champion and world record-holder, was “happy” with seventh place in his comeback after nearly a year’s absence through injury, clocking 1:44.87 in a race won by Olympic silver medallist Nijel Amos of Botswana in a world lead and meeting record of 1:43.63.

Ayanleh Souleiman of Djibouti set an IAAF Diamond League, US all-comers’ and meeting record of 3:47.32 in the Bowerman Mile, the tenth best mark in history.

Home long jump specialist Tori Bowie, drafted at two days’ notice into lane one, produced the shock of the meeting as she won in a world-leading 22.18.

Kenya’s Hellen Obiri set a US 1500m all-comers’ record and world-leading time of 3:57.05, breaking her own mark of 3:58.58 from 2013.

Olympic 400m champion Kirani James of Grenada beat world champion LaShawn Merritt of the United States in a photo-finish after both clocked a world-leading 43.97.

More world leads came from Kaliese Spencer in the 400m hurdles (54.29), Kenya's Caleb Ndiku in the men's 5000m (13:01.71), Russia's Anna Chicherova in the high jump (2.01m) and Ethiopia's Sofia Assefa in the women’s 3000m steeplechase (9:11.39).

Home sprinter Justin Gatlin won the 100m in a wind-assisted 9.76 (2.7m/s).

Croatia’s world and Olympic discus champion Sandra Perkovic won with a meeting record of 69.32m, her third-best result ever, on an opening evening when Galen Rupp set a US record of 26:44.36 in a non-Diamond League 10,000m.

Serbia’s Ivana Spanovic won the long jump with a last-round national record of 6.88m which tied the world-leading effort of Russia’s Darya Klishina in the third round. Spanovic had the better second-best jump of 6.86m.

Rome, June 5

World indoor high jump champion Mutaz Essa Barshim set an Asian record of 2.41m with what looked like five centimetres to spare – significant space given the world record mark of 2.45m.

The Qatari’s effort was also a meeting record and equalled the IAAF Diamond League record shared by Russia’s Ivan Ukhov and Ukraine’s Bogdan Bondarenko, who finished second after his gamble of passing at 2.39m and 2.41m narrowly failed to work. Barshim also had three close failures at 2.43m.

“It’s coming soon, I want to break every record possible,” said the ebullient Barshim. “The world record can come next week… although it might also be four years, nobody knows.”

Javelin world record-holder Barbora Spotakova, in her first serious competition since the end of 2012 following the birth of her son in 2013, won by a huge margin with 66.43m.

Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba won the 5000m in a world-leading 14:34.99, and three-time world discus champion Robert Harting earned victory with a season’s best of 68.36m.

Valerie Adams secured her 48th consecutive shot put win with 20.01m, and Colombia’s triple jump world champion Caterine Ibarguen extended her own winning streak to 13 with a best of 14.48m.

Other world leads came from Kaliese Spencer in the 400m hurdles (53.97), Brianna Rollins in the 100m hurdles (12.53) and Cuba’s Yarisley Silva in the pole vault (4.70m).

Oslo, June 11

Djibouti’s Ayanleh Souleiman successfully defended his Dream Mile in 3:49.49, with New Zealand’s Nick Willis second in a personal best of 3:49.83, but the roars were for fourth-placed Henrik Ingebrigtsen, the 23-year-old European champion, who set a Norwegian record of 3:50.72.

Tianna Bartoletta produced the first seven-metre leap of the year to improve her own world long jump lead to 7.02m.

Ethiopia’s Yenew Alamirew won the 5000m in 13:01.57, with Galen Rupp, who had hoped to add another national record to the 10,000m mark he had set in Eugene, third in 13:03.35 – short of Bernard Lagat’s target mark of 12:53.60.

Three Diamond Race leaders extended their 2014 unbeaten runs – Sandra Perkovic in the discus (67.17m), Kenya’s world champion Eunice Sum in the 800m (1:59.02) and Renaud Lavillenie, who won the pole vault in swirling winds with 5.77m.

Jamaica’s Novlene Williams-Mills and Kaliese Spencer extended win streaks to three apiece with respective wins in the 400m (50.06) and 400m hurdles (54.94).

US triple jumper Will Claye also won a third straight event with 17.41m.

Finland’s former world javelin champion Tero Pitkamaki celebrated the birth of his son two days earlier by winning with 84.18m.

New York, June 14

Bogdan Bondarenko and Mutaz Essa Barshim both cleared 2.42m – a height only world record-holder Javier Sotomayor had bettered – in what Barshim described as “the greatest men’s high jump competition in history”.

It was the first time two jumpers had reached that height in a competition, and the Ukrainian world champion won on countback after both men had made three unsuccessful attempts at 2.46m, one centimetre more than the Cuban’s 1993 world record.

Bondarenko and Barshim's jumps were the best in the world outdoors since Sotomayor cleared 2.42m in Seville on 5 June 1994.

The two men thus joined Sweden’s Patrik Sjoberg in second place on the all-time outdoor listings.

Russia’s Olympic champion Ivan Uhkov and Carlo Thranhardt of West Germany cleared 2.42m indoors, in 2014 and 1988 respectively, Sotomayor holding the world indoor record with his 1989 clearance of 2.43m.

Qatar’s 22-year-old world indoor champion had been on the brink of an early exit before clearing 2.35m on his third attempt and then thrilling the Icahn Stadium crowd with an Asian record.

Bondarenko’s clearance equalled Sjoberg’s European record, set as a world record in 1987, and was an IAAF Diamond League and meeting record, as well as a world-leading mark. "High jump is in golden days right now,” Barshim added.

Elsewhere there were world leads from Linda Stahl in the javelin (67.32m), Fabiana Murer of Brazil in the pole vault (4.80m) and Warren Weir of Jamaica in the 200m (19.82).

David Rudisha scored his first victory of the season in the 800m, clocking a season's best of 1:44.63. The world record-holder’s 12-month lay-off was caused by an injury to his right knee jogging in Central Park before this meeting last year.

Valerie Adams extended her winning streak in the shot put to 50 with 19.68m.

Lausanne, July 3

Kirani James of Grenada and LaShawn Merritt of the United States renewed battle over 400m just over a month after their photo-finish in Eugene, and victory went again to the Olympic champion, although here James had a bigger margin.

Merritt, the world champion, ran a season’s best of 43.92, but his rival clocked an IAAF Diamond League record and world age-21 best of 43.74 to extend his career advantage over Merritt to 7-5. He also took 0.2 off the national record he had set when winning the Olympic title.

World high jump champion Bogdan Bondarenko won with a 2.40m clearance after a competition which saw four men – including Mutaz Essa Barshim – clearing 2.38m, surpassing the record set earlier in the year at Doha for the best ever depth in a high jump competition.

In second place, Bondarenko’s compatriot Andrey Protsenko became the latest member of the 2.40m club.

Trinidad and Tobago’s unheralded Michelle-Lee Ahye won the 100m in 10.98.

Kenya’s 18-year-old Ronald Kwemoi defeated a 1500m field including 2011 world silver medallist Silas Kiplagat in 3:31.48, the fastest time in the world by a junior for 10 years.

France’s Pascal Martinot-Lagarde won the 110m hurdles in a personal best of 13.06.

Mike Rowbottom for the IAAF

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