Report11 Jun 2014

Perkovic, Sum and Lavillenie stay perfect – IAAF Diamond League


Eunice Sum winning the 800m at the 2014 IAAF Diamond League in Oslo (© Mark Shearman)

Three Diamond Race leaders extended their 2014 unbeaten runs with convincing victories at the ExxonMobil Bislett Games, the fifth IAAF Diamond League meeting of the 2014 season, on Wednesday (11).

Sandra Perkovic added another four points to her mounting Diamond Race total with another comfortable discus win; Renaud Lavillenie produced his third Diamond League win of the season in the pole vault, although, like Perkovic, he was well below his best; and there was a third win in three races for Kenya’s Eunice Sum in the women’s 800m, as she led three athletes under two minutes.

After following the Australian pacemaker, Selma Kajan, through 400m in 57.45, Sum moved three metres clear down the back straight before Jessica Judd challenged around the final bend.

The British teenager was overhauled by USA’s Ajee Wilson in the final few metres as Sum clung on for the victory after a tiring few weeks for racing.

“It looks like I’m confident of winning but it is not true,” said Sum.

“I’m taking every competition one at a time especially as I am tired from recent competitions. I would like faster times, but I need to be more fresh. Maybe in Lausanne.”

Wilson went under two minutes for the first time this year with 1:59.68 in second place while Judd was rewarded for her bold move with a personal best of 1:59.77, a remarkable achievement by the world junior silver medallist considering that she spent three months last winter laid up with a stress fracture in her back.

One former world champion, Janeth Jepkosgei, was fourth, while another, Caster Semenya, was 12th.

Perkovic may have won the discus by more than two metres, but the world and Olympic champion was some way short of her previous form this year and she ended the evening complaining that the Bislett’s Stadium’s ‘slow circle’ had hindered her technique.

The Croatian flung her first effort into the cage, as she did in Shanghai last month. Again, she adjusted quickly but instead of going over 70 metres, as she had in China, she had to be satisfied with 67.17m, which stayed as her longest throw of the competition.

She added a 67.14m in round four and 66.64m one round later while the USA’s Gia Lewis-Smallwood took second with her 2014 best of 65.77m.

Perkovic now has three wins from three in the IAAF Diamond League and leads the Diamond Race by nine points from Lewis-Smallwood, but the 23-year-old is a perfectionist and was far from satisfied with her evening’s work.

“Yes I won, but I’m not happy with my result,” she said. “The circle did not allow me to use my technique. It was slow. You know, I’m a technical thrower, not based on power, and on that surface I could not control my throws.”

Next stop for Perkovic is the European Team Championships, before she heads to the Paris and Glasgow for the IAAF Diamond League meetings in those two cities.

Renaud Lavillenie also had to battle some difficult conditions as the swirling Bislett winds restricted the world record-holder to a best of 5.77m. It was enough to claim his third win in Oslo and beat Germany’s Molte Mohr whose 2014 best of 5.70m gave him second place.

“The win was most important for me and I managed that,” said Lavillenie, who remains on course for a fifth straight Diamond Race win with a maximum 12 points so far.

“The conditions were difficult, especially the changing wind. In such a wind, you cannot be relaxed enough. But I’m satisfied with the points – that was the goal.”

Matthew Brown for the IAAF