Christabel Nettey, winner of the long jump at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in New York (© Victah Sailer)
Canada’s Christabel Nettey captured her first IAAF Diamond League victory, Blanka Vlasic and Ruth Beitia shared a meeting record, while Vitezslav Vesely and Sandra Perkovic extended their Diamond Race leads at the Adidas Grand Prix in New York on Saturday (13).
In the women’s long jump, the leader changed at least five times throughout the competition with Nettey, British record-holder Shara Proctor and USA’s Funmi Jimoh and Tianna Bartoletta all in the mix.
Jimoh was the strongest in fighting a strong headwind in the early rounds. She leapt to 6.50m (-2.4m/s) on her first jump. Proctor overtook the top position in the second round with 6.54m only to concede it to Nettey, who jumped 6.59m on her third attempt.
The Briton was back in the lead with a 6.66m jump in the fourth round, but Nettey kept going farther with every attempt. She improved Janay DeLoach-Soukup’s meeting record of 6.79m twice, posting 6.87m in the fourth round and 6.92m into a -1.3m/s headwind in the fifth.
“The conditions were tricky today, we had to deal with a headwind,” said Nettey. “In the first two attempts, I just wasn’t hitting the board, and it was a little frustrating. I was just trying to keep my composure and stay focused. Luckily, after the second round, the wind calmed a little bit.”
Nettey, who emerged in the world elite this season, explained that in 2014, her first post-collegiate season, she was trying to adjust to training as a full-time athlete, while this season “things started to click naturally” in competition.
Nettey’s fellow world leader Tianna Bartoletta sealed her runner-up status with a final-round 6.89m leap. She also kept her Diamond Race lead with a total of ten points, while the Canadian now has seven. Proctor also posted her best distance of the day, 6.72m, in the last round.
The women’s high jump played out in much the same way it did at last week’s IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rome. Croatia’s Blanka Vlasic and Diamond Race leader Ruth Beitia were going head-to-head until the late stages of the competition, where Spaniard was stronger.
It was just these two still in action at 1.97m with Vlasic leading on countback. But Beitia was first to clear the bar, breaking the meeting record on her second attempt. Vlasic then equalled that mark on her third attempt to keep her meeting record-holder status. Both athletes had no luck at 1.99m.
“It was hard to adjust to the wind,” said Beitia. “It was changing direction from attempt to attempt. This is something that affected me at 1.99m.”
Vlasic admitted that she has been lacking volume in training, making long competitions difficult, but at the same time beneficial for her.
“At my last jumping session, I only did six jumps,” she said. “It’s not enough for a high-level competition of 12 jumps. My legs felt empty at 1.99m, they couldn’t handle my speed. But at the same time, these competitions are good for me; it’s a good stress for my body.”
Another record fell in the non-Diamond Race 400m. South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk clocked a national record of 44.24 ahead of The Bahamas’ Chris Brown (44.74).
Perkovic and Vesely remain on top
Croatian discus thrower Sandra Perkovic is now just one victory away from capturing the overall Diamond Race title.
Perkovic unleashed a massive throw on her first attempt. Her 68.44m throw was just four centimetres shy of her own meeting record. It was also her fifth straight victory this season and her third victory over the past 10 days.
“Three Diamond League meetings in 10 days – this is exhausting. But it’s still fun, I love my job,” said the world champion.
Perkovic was happy with the winning mark too, but she has something bigger in mind for the IAAF World Championships.
“I want to defend my title and, hopefully, throw over 70 meters,” said Perkovic. “I want to change a few small things in my technique. For example, to increase the speed of my spin.”
The Olympic champion explained that she rolled her ankle while doing jumping exercises in training. But now that her foot has healed, she is ready to put more power into her spin phase.
Cuba’s Yaimi Perez was a runner-up in the discus with 65.86m, while Melina Robert-Michon from France went from fourth to third with her final-round throw of 62.77m.
Vitezslav Vesely took victory in the javelin and extended his lead in the Diamond Race to five points, but the Czech thrower only took two attempts after feeling a sharp pain in his groin in the first round. As 83.62m was enough to put him in the lead, Vesely decided to be cautious.
Finland’s Ari Mannio almost caught the Czech, throwing 83.37m in the sixth round, but remained a runner-up.
“I was lucky I didn’t have to throw more today,” said Vesely. “Having taken that precaution, I hope I will be ready to compete in one week.”
World leader Joes Kovacs missed Christian Cantwell’s shot put meeting record by just one centimetre with his best toss of 21.67m. As Diamond Race leader David Storl was absent in New York, Kovacs closed in on his German rival and is now just two points behind him.
Another US athlete, Jordan Clarke, confirmed that he is a force to be reckoned with. Clarke notched his second straight runner-up spot in the IAAF Diamond League with a fifth-round throw of 21.34m, 10 days after throwing 21.28m in Rome.
Elena Dyachkova for the IAAF