Ronnie Baker en route to his 9.87 win in Chorzow, Poland (© Organisers)
Ronnie Baker stormed to a world-leading 9.87 100m victory to highlight the Kamila Skolimowska Memorial in Chorzow, Poland, on Wednesday (22).
The performance by the 24-year-old in this southern Polish city clipped 0.01 from his personal best as well as from the world lead he shared with compatriot Noah Lyles. Baker also eclipsed the previous meeting record of 9.98 set by Usain Bolt in 2014 when the competition was held in Warsaw.
Propelled by victories in Rome, Paris and London, Baker will arrive at next week's IAAF Diamond League final in Brussels (31) leading the 100m standings in the series, and, clearly running in the best shape of his career.
Baker dominated the race, finishing more than 0.20 ahead of runner-up Mike Rodgers, who clocked 10.10. World and European 200m champion Ramil Guliyev of Turkey was a distant third in 10.24.
"I felt ready," Baker said. "This is good motivation before the Diamond League final."
Baker’s was one of seven meeting records set at the competition, witnessed by a crowd of 41,200, the largest to attend an athletics meeting in Poland since the 1960s.
Semenya and Gardiner cruise to 400m wins
Olympic and world 800m champion Caster Semenya made her return to the track for the first time since her 400/800m double victory at the African Championships a notable one, taking the shorter distance in 50.06, the second fastest performance of her career. The South African, who will contest the double at next month's IAAF Continental Cup Ostrava 2018 for Team Africa, won by nearly a second-and-a-half, with Justyna Swiety-Ersetic of Poland a distant second in 51.45.
Steven Gardiner also returned to action, racing for the first time since his sub-44 second early season momentum was halted by injury at the Diamond League fixture in Stockholm on 10 June.
The 22-year-old Bahamian, who lowered the national record to 43.87 with his victory in Doha in May, won comfortably in 44.43, well ahead of Poland's Karol Zalewski who clocked 45.32. World and Olympic triple jump champion Christian Taylor was third, just a couple inches further back in 45.34.
Fiodorow and Fajdek nail hammer wins
The meeting, organised to honour 2000 Olympic hammer throw champion Kamila Skolimowska, also marked the conclusion of the 2018 IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge. Both meeting victories went to Poland.
Joanna Fiodorow won the women's competition with a 74.39m season's best ahead of Frenchwoman Alexandra Tavernier, who reached 73.38m. Pawel Fajdek produced the meeting's two farthest throws --79.44 and 78.63-- to take the victory on the men's side over compatriot Wojciech Nowicki, who threw 77.41m in the final round, reversing their positions from the European championships 15 days ago.
There were strong performances in the throws across the board.
European champion Michal Haratyk won the shot put with 21.33m, edging world indoor and outdoor champion Tom Walsh by just five centimetres. Czech Tomas Stanek was third, throwing 21.05m.
Andrius Gudzius took control of the discus in the first round with a 66.15m effort, one that would hold out as the best of the day. Poland's Robert Urbanek was second at 64.50m with former world and Olympic champion Gerd Kanter, now 39, third with 63.52m. Robert Harting, another former world and Olympic champion, winding down his farewell tour, was fourth, reaching 62.94m.
Germany's Andreas Hofmann won the men's javelin with an 83.81m best, Slovenia's Martina Ratej the women's with 61.50m. Aliona Dubitskaya won the women's shot put by nearly a metre, reaching 19.06m.
Elsewhere on the infield, Piotr Lisek of Poland and Canada's Shawn Barber, the 2015 world champion, waged a strong battle in the pole vault. Lisek lead with a clean card through 5.70m, but Barber took control at the next height, taking the lead after a second attempt clearance at 5.80m, while Lisek needed three. But the Pole prevailed thanks to third attempt success at 5.85 while Barber topped out.
Back on the track, freshly-minted European champion Elvira Herman of Belarus won the 100m hurdles in 12.87, a tenth of a second clear of Germany's Richarda Lobe.
World and Olympic steeplechase finalist Colleen Quigley of the US moved down to her second event, the 1500m, and notched a 4:03.02 lifetime best to take an upset victory over Poland's Sofia Ennaoui, who raced to European silver ten days ago. Sarah McDonald of Great Britain was half a step back in third, clocking 4:03.36, 0.08 ahead of Ennaoui.
Marcin Lewandowski won the 800m in 1:44.99, turning the tables on compatriot Adam Kszczot, who took a third continental title in Berlin 11 days ago. Kszczot was third in 1:45.48.
Bob Ramsak (with assistance from Alfons Juck) for the IAAF