Nijel Amos triumphantly crosses the line as 800m Champion at the 2014 C'wealth Games! (Photo Credit: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images Europe)

London 2012 Silver medallist Nijel Amos showed a glimpse of his pre-Beijing 2015 form after securing his first Diamond League victory in almost two years at the Stade Charléty on Saturday in France.

The 23 year old raced to a Season’s Best (SB) of 1:44.24s to upstage the Kenyan duo of Kipyegon Bett (1:44.36) and Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich (1:44.37) in the men’s 800m at the Paris Diamond League. This will serve as a major boost for the African Champion who will be hoping to finish on the podium in London.

Though no Meeting Record (MR) was set at the Paris Diamond League, some of the big names extended their unbeaten streak, such as double Olympic Champion Elaine Thompson who secured her 17th consecutive victory over the 100m with an impressive time of 10.91s.

She finished ahead of Marie Josee Ta Lou and Blessing Okagbare who clocked SBs of 10.96s and 11.07s respectively, as Murielle Ahoure placed 4th with 11.10s.

Rio 2016 Silver medallist and World Leader (WL) in the men’s High Jump, Mutaz Barshim continued his dominance with the height of 2.35m, which was enough to get him the title after failing in his attempt at 2.40m.

The Qatari jumper hasn’t been beaten this year, even as his Ukrainian rival Bohdan Bondarenko is yet to hit the form that saw him become the third best High jumper ever. He was 2nd in Paris with an SB of 2.32m, while Syria’s Majed Aldin finished 3rd with the same height.

Having already secured victories in Shanghai and Eugene, World Leader in the men’s Pole vault Sam Kendricks handed Renaud Lavillenie a bitter defeat on his home turf to remain unbeaten this year. The WR holder seemed to have lost his rhythm and could only manage a clearance of 5.62m in 2nd place.

Reigning World and Olympic Champion in the men’s Triple Jump, Christian Taylor has continued to hold sway in the event. The American has remained consistent for three seasons, and the meeting in Paris was no exception as he claimed the title with 17.29m. US Champion Will Claye settled for 2nd with 17.18m, while German jumper Max Heb finished 3rd with an SB of 17.07m.

Having missed most of the 2016 season due to injury, Beijing 2015 Silver medallist Pedro Pablo Pichardo returned to Diamond League action where he extended his SB by 1cm, placing 4th with a mark of 17.05m. The return of the Cuban sensation is set to spice up the Triple Jump field ahead of the World Championships in London.

At least four Olympic Champions succumbed to defeats in their respective events at the Paris Diamond League, with Jamaica’s Omar McLeod topping the list. The 23-year old came to Paris brimming with confidence after racing to a Jamaican National Record (NR) of 12.90s last weekend.

McLeod won Semifinal 2 with a time of 13.13s, while Sergey Shubenkov raced to victory in Semifinal 1 in an SB of 13.09s. However, the final turned out to be an anticlimax for two reasons, first of which was Devon Allen’s disqualification for beating the gun.

Secondly, McLeod hit a hurdle and ended up in an unfamiliar position, finishing a distant 7th. And though the race was eventually won by a Jamaican, it certainly wasn’t the Jamaican everyone else was expecting to take the day.

Even Ronald Levy could hardly believe that he had emerged victorious, a feat he achieved by clocking a Personal Best (PB) of 13.05s, while Andrew Pozzi followed in 2nd with a PB of 13.14s.

Johannes Vetter put an end to his compatriot, Thomas Rohler’s unbeaten run in the men’s Javelin throw as he dominated the event with a mark of 88.74m, while Jakub Vadlejch equalled his PB of 88.02m in 2nd place.

Hard as he tried to throw over 90m at the Stade Charléty, this was not to be the day for the Olympic Champion who had to settle for 3rd place with a distance of 87.23m.

Having set the WR of 8:52.78 in the women’s 3000m Steeplechase last year, many expected Olympic Champion Ruth Jebet to aim for same this year. Prior to the Paris Diamond League, the Bahraini athlete had already been overtaken on the world rankings by World Junior Champion Celliphine Chepteek Chespol, and the prediction was that Jebet would bounce back in Paris.

However, things went awry for the 21-year old as she stumbled in the course of the race, and lost some ground in the process. That notwithstanding, she picked herself up and finished in 4th position, much to her credit.

It was a big win for Kenya’s Beatrice Chepkoech who won the star-studded race that had the Top 5 finishers in Rio, in 9:01.69, as reigning World Champion Hyvin Kiyeng followed in 9:06.00. Chespol grabbed the 3rd spot with a time of 9:07.54.

World Leader Sifan Hassan has fired warning shots ahead of the London World Championships, even as she held off the challenge posed by Olympic GOLD medallist in the women’s 1500m, Faith Kipyegon on Saturday.

Hassan gave no room for error and controlled the race to take the win in 3:57.10s, while her Kenyan counterpart raced to an SB of 3:57.51 in 2nd. Ethiopian Gudaf Tsegay was 3rd in 3:59.55.

Yemi Olus is a Senior Sports Writer and Editor at Making of Champions. She has a bias for Athletics and was previously a Sports Reporter at the National Mirror, where she hosted a weekly column ‘On the Track with Yemi Olus’ for over two years. A self-acclaimed ‘athletics junkie’, she has covered national and international events live, such as the African Athletics Championships, African Games and IAAF World Championships. She has also freelanced for the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) and currently hosts a weekly Track and Field column in the Vanguard Newspaper.


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