Francena McCorory wins the 400m at the IAAF Continental Cup, Marrakech 2014 (© Getty Images)
World leader Francena McCorory and Jamaica’s Novlene Williams-Mills lived up to expectations as they notched up maximum points for Americas, finishing first and second respectively ahead of Europe’s Italian representative Libania Grenot.
For McCorory, who won in 49.94, victory was a fitting end to a long year of racing which began with another big win at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in March, while Williams-Mills had to be satisfied with second again after taking silver at the Commonwealth Games earlier this summer.
McCorory has led the world list for much of the summer and enjoyed IAAF Diamond League wins in New York and Glasgow, but Williams-Mills won the Diamond Race in this event and has had better late-season form.
Indeed, she might have expected to win here and it was a close battle with the slow-starting Jamaican, just failing to make up ground on her Americas team-mate in the closing stages.
Closing hard in the final 50 metres, she just ran out of ground and crossed the line in 50.08, just 0.03 outside her season’s best.
Grenot clocked 50.60 in third, 0.05 from her Italian record, while Kabange Mupopo was fourth in a Zambian record of 50.87, ending a remarkable debut season for the 21-year-old international footballer who clocked 53.44 in her first one-lap race as recently as this April.
Olha Zemlyak also improved her personal best, the Ukrainian finishing fifth in 51.00, a positive end to the season for the European silver medallist.
Matthew Brown for the IAAF