Scores were settled at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday and top on the list was the rematch between World Record (WR) holder David Rudisha and Commonwealth champion Nijel Amos on Day 2 of the London Diamond League.
Amos was beaten by Rudisha at this same venue three years ago. The Kenyan set a new WR of 1:40.91 in the men’s 800m final at the London 2012 Olympic Games, inspiring Amos to a 2nd place finish with a National Record (NR) and World Junior Record in tow.
However the positions were switched this time around as the Botswana athlete exerted revenge on his predecessor, taking the glory in 1:44.57 with Rudisha coming a close 2nd with 1:44.67. Poland’s Adam Kszczot was 3rd.
This is the second time Rudisha has succumbed to defeat in the hands of Amos in as many meetings. It therefore goes without saying that the former IAAF World Athlete of the Year still has some work to do ahead of next month’s World Championships if he is to dethrone Ethiopia’s Mohammed Aman as world champion.
The battle for superiority between Wayde Van Niekerk and Isaac Makwala was won by the South African who took his pound of flesh from the world leader. A few weeks ago, Van Niekerk stunned Diamond Race leader, Kirani James in Paris, running an African Record of 43.96s to erase Makwala’s one-year old record of 44.01s.
But the Botswana athlete would have none of it as he went on to eclipse his rival’s mark 24 hours later, blazing the trail with a lifetime best, World Lead (WL) and African record of 43.72s. And so the London Diamond League provided the perfect setting for a faceoff as it was the first time the pair was going head to head in 2015.
Makwala started strong and had almost left his opponents trailing in his wake, before fading away to 4th place with 45.29s. Van Niekerk took it easy, waiting until the curve before taking off smoothly from behind to lead the rest of the field, winning the race in 44.63s. USA champion David Verburg (45.01s) and Chris Brown (45.22s) of the Bahamas were 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Jamaica’s emerging sprint sensation, Elaine Thompson was the woman to beat in the 200m, racing to a Meeting Record of 22.10s ahead of USA’s Tori Bowie (22.32s) and winner of the event in Monaco, Candyce McGrone (22.70s). Olympic 400m champion Sanya Richards-Ross was 6th with a Season’s Best (SB) of 22.87s while Great Britain’s Margaret Adeoye (22.99s) and Jessica Ennis-Hill (23.49s) finished 7th and 8th respectively.
Michael Tinsley took the men’s 400m Hurdles ahead of South Africa’s Lj Van Zyl (49.27s), returning a time of 49.02s which he wasn’t too pleased with; Great Britain’s Niall Flannery placed 3rd in 49.53s. USA’s Johnny Dutch finished a distant 7th while Commonwealth champion, Cornel Fredericks returned to action after a long absence; the South African placed 9th with 51.22s.
World 800m champion and leader Eunice Sum maintained her winning streak, dominating her event in 1:58.44 with Sifan Hassan (1:59.46) of the Netherlands and Great Britain’s Lynsey Sharp (1:59.57) following. The women’s 5000m was taken by World Championships Silver medallist, Mercy Cherono (14:54.81) ahead of USA’s Molly Huddle (14:57.42) and Janet Kisa (15:10.66), while Asbel Kiprop secured victory in the 1 Mile.
WR holder in the pole vault, Renaud Lavillenie maintained his winning ways in London, clearing an MR and Stadium Record of 6.03m. The event was initially billed to hold on the first day of the two-day meeting, but had to be pushed to the following day due to heavy rain. Going by his result, the Frenchman would be thankful that the change in timing worked to his favour, providing him with perfect conditions for a morale-boosting victory after suffering two defeats in the series.
Shawn Barber of Canada and Brazil’s Augusto Dutra finished 2nd and 3rd with 5.93m and 5.81m respectively. The women’s Long Jump was taken by home girl, Shara Proctor who inspired a 1-2 finish for Great Britain, leaping to a PB/NR of 6.98m as compatriot Jazmin Sawyers followed with 6.66m.
The men’s event was dominated by USA champion Marquis Dendy who erased Greg Rutherford’s Stadium Record with a new mark of 8.38m. The Briton was unable to return the challenge in equal measure and stopped at 8.18m which put him in 3rd place. The South African pair of Zarck Visser and Khotso Mokoena finished 2nd and 4th respectively with 8.21m and 8.16m, while Triple Jump Olympic champion, Christian Taylor ended the day on the 5th spot with 7.95m.
Valerie Adams is slowly returning to form, finishing in 2nd place behind USA’s record holder, Michelle Carter in the women’s Shot put. Carter sealed her position with her first throw of 19.74m while Adams recorded a mark of 18.59m to follow in 2nd. Trinidad and Tobago’s Cleopatra finished 3rd with 18.53m.