Reigning world and Olympic 5000m/10000m champion, Mo Farah was one of the star performers on Day 1 of the London Diamond League, storming to the 3000m GOLD with a World Lead (WL) of 7:34.66s.
The Olympic Stadium no doubt holds fond memories for the British athlete who struck double GOLD at the London 2012 Games, much to the delight of the home fans. It was no different at the 2015 Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games as the long distance athlete switched into sprint mode, distancing himself from the rest of the field in the final stretch of the race, while the crowd roared in support.
Morocco’s Othmane El Goumri followed in 2nd place (7:36.71) as Emmanuel Kipsang of Kenya placed 3rd with 7:37.05. The victory will serve as a major boost for the Somali-born athlete whose coach was engulfed in a doping controversy. Farah finished 4th in the 1500m at the Monaco Diamond League a week ago where Kenya’s Asbel Kiprop powered to a WL of 3:26.69.
British youngster, Zharnel Hughes ran a terrific race in the men’s 200m, clocking a Personal Best (PB) of 20.05s to overtake South Africa’s Anaso Jobodwana (20.20s) on the Diamond League standings. The 20-year old has now garnered 8 points as against Jobodwana’s 7; the South African finished 3rd behind USA’s Dedric Dukes (20.14s,) while the Jamaican duo of Nickel Ashmeade (20.24s) and Julian Forte (20.25s) placed 4th and 5th respectively.
USA’s Natasha Hastings upstaged world leader, Francena McCorory in the women’s 400m, returning a time of 50.24s ahead of her team mate who posted 50.67s. Commonwealth champion, Stephenie Ann Mcpherson was 3rd in 50.91s as reigning world champion, Christine Ohuruogu made it in 51.00s. Compatriot and British champion, Anyika Onuora was a distant 8th in the race with 51.51s.
Nigeria’s Regina George finished 9th, posting 51.95s which is some way off her Season’s Best (SB) of 51.30s set in Kawasaki. The US-based athlete would most likely head to Nigeria from London ahead of next week’s National Trials where she will face the likes of Patience Okon George who posted 51.74s on the same day at the Warri Grand Prix.
World No.2 Jasmin Stowers made a fabulous comeback in the 100m Hurdles. The 23-year old started the season with so much promise before succumbing to a string of disappointing results, including missing out on a ticket to the World Championships. However she came back to reckoning at the London Diamond League, snatching a Meeting Record (MR) of 12.47s to finish ahead of the pack.
Stowers was too fast for 2014 Diamond Trophy winner, Dawn Harper-Nelson who clocked 12.64s as world champion, Brianna Rollins placed 3rd (12.65s). Great Britain’s Tiffany Porter (12.67s), Jessica Ennis-Hill (12.79s) and newcomer Cindy Ofili (12.90s) could only settle for 4th, 5th and 6th respectively.
The men’s 110 Hurdles was keenly competed but it was former World Champion, Jason Richardson who stretched out just before the finishing line to pip Frenchman Pascal Martinot-Lagarde to the GOLD medal. Richardson returned a time of 13.19s with Martinot-Lagarde following with 13.22s while Ronnie Ash and WR holder, Aries Merritt clocked 13.26s and 13.32s.
Winning the women’s 400m Hurdles was no mean feat for Zuzana Hejnova (53.99s) who had to overcome the threat posed by USA’s Georganne Moline (54.24s). The reigning world champion looks in form to defend her title next month but will have to contend with Jamaica’s Kaliese Spencer who is sure to put up a fight.
Cassandra Tate (54.36s), Eilidh Child (54.48s) and South Africa’s Wenda Theron Nel (54.81s) complete the Top 5 at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Friday. Bahrain’s Kemi Adekoya did not complete the race.
It was not a good outing for the 2nd best high jumper ever, Mutaz Barshim as the Qatari was denied the top spot once again in London, perhaps due to the damp conditions. The 2014 Diamond Trophy winner recorded a best clearance of 2.28m, as Marco Fassinotti inspired an Italian 1-2 finish, clearing 2.31m as team mate, Gianmarco Tamberi recorded 2.28m.
Barshim finished a distant 5th in Paris and was to have rekindled his rivalry with Bohdan Bondarenko at the Olympic Stadium. However the Ukrainian had to withdraw from the event due to an injury scare. Fans of the High Jump will be hoping that both athletes recover their ‘A’ game ahead of the world championships which is less than a month away.