The women’s 200m was one of the most anticipated events at the Prefontaine Classic held on May 26th and 27th, and fans at the Hayward Field were not disappointed as the A-list line-up showed pure class, with USA’s Tori Bowie stunning the rest of the field to snatch victory with a massive Personal Best (PB) and World Lead (WL) of 21.77s, bettering her former mark of 21.99s set at the same venue last year.
This is a huge morale booster for the Rio 2016 Silver medallist in the 100m and Bronze medallist in the 200m, as she handed her Jamaican rival and pre-championship favourite Elaine Thompson her first defeat of the season, leaving her in 3rd place in 21.98s.
It was an impressive race also for 400m Olympic Champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo who followed hard after Bowie, taking 2nd with a new PB of 21.91s to improve on her former mark of 22.05s. Reigning World Champion in the event Dafne Schippers was relegated to 4th place in 22.30s.
Multi-talented sprinter Allyson Felix finished 5th (22.33s) as Cote dÍvoire’s Marie Josee Ta Lou followed in 22.37s. Jenna Prandini (22.54s) and Ivet Lalova-Collio (22.88s) complete the field.
The men’s Triple Jump event proved to be one of the highlights of the Eugene Diamond League, with World and Olympic Champion Christian Taylor and rival Will Claye going head-to-head in what became a two-horse race which kept the fans on the edge of their seats.
Both athletes leaped over 18m in Eugene, reminiscent of Taylor’s clash with Cuba’s Pedro Pablo Pichardo at the 2015 Diamond League in Doha where the pair both made leaps over 18m, a first in Diamond League history.
At his fourth attempt in Eugene, Taylor made a huge leap of 18.11m, the third farthest jump in history, a World Lead (WL) and Diamond League Record (DLR). Claye responded by jumping to a wind-aided mark of 18.05m to place 2nd, while China’s Bin Dong finished in 3rd place in 17.27m.
The men’s 100m was keenly contested but it was Ronnie Baker who upstaged his rivals to take the win in an impressive time of 9.86s, finishing ahead of China’s Bingtian Su (9.92s). Great Britain’s Chijindu Ujah and Andre De Grasse placed 3rd and 4th respectively in 9.95s and 9.96s. Justin Gatlin settled for 5th in his first sub-10 of the season (9.97s).
Morolake Akinosun was the woman to beat in the 100m which had a respectable field in action. The Rio Olympic 4x100m GOLD medallist finished ahead of Murielle Ahoure with an impressive time of 9.94s. However, she was denied a new PB as the wind reading was slightly above the legal limit (+2.1). Michelle-Lee Ahye was 3rd in 10.97s.
The men’s 400m was a battle between youth and experience but the latter took the day, with former World Champion LaShawn Merritt dominating the race after clocking a time of 44.79s to finish ahead of Botswana’s Baboloki Thebe (45.04s) and Vernon Norwood (45.05s).
Rio Olympics finalist Karabo Sibanda was part of the line-up, but Did Not Finish (DNF) as he blindsided by an injury which eventually led to the 18-year old being wheeled off the track in great pain.
Caster Semenya overcame the threat posed by Kenya’s Margaret Nyairera Wambui to win the 800m in 1:57.78, with the latter following in 1:57.88, while Francine Niyonsaba settled for 3rd in 1:59.10.
Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon continued her dominance in the women’s 1500m which she won easily in 3:59.67. She was followed by Hellen Obiri 4:00.46 and Great Britain’s Laura Muir (4:00.47).
Jasmin Stowers bounced back to winning ways in the 100m Hurdles following the absence of World Record (WR) holder Kendra Harrison. She won with a time of 12.59s while Queen Harrison and Dawn Harper-Nelson placed 2nd and 3rd respectively in 12.64s and 12.66s.
Olympic Champion Omar McLeod inspired a 1-2 for Jamaica in the 110 Hurdles as he came from behind to win the race in 13.01s, while Ronald Levy clocked 13.10s. USA’s Devon Allen was 3rd in 13.11s.
Rio 2016 Bronze medallist Ashley Spencer raced to a lifetime best and WL of 53.38s to snatch the win from Beijing 2015 medallist Shamier Little who also clocked a PB of 53.44s in 2nd place. Georganne Moline was 3rd in 54.09s and former Champion Zuzana Hejnova 4th with a time of 54.50s.
Multiple Olympic and World Champion Mo Farah opened his season with a resounding victory in the men’s 5000m at the Hayward Field where he snatched maximum points with his time of 13.00.70, with Yomif Kejelcha and Geoffrey Kamworor following in 13:01.21 and 13:01.35.
In spite of his status as World No.1 in the men’s Shot put, Joe Kovacs (21.44m) was beaten to 3rd place by Olympic Champion Ryan Crouser who produced the second best throw of his career, a mark of 22.43m to take the day. Tomas Walsh was 2nd with 21.71m.
Olympic Bronze medallist Sam Kendricks maintained his unbeaten streak in the series, securing another win over World Record (WR) holder Renaud Lavillenie (5.81m) in the men’s Pole vault with a clearance of 5.86m.