Barely a month to the commencement of the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London, the Muller Anniversary Games held on Sunday gave us a glimpse of what to expect in a few weeks time as some athletes recorded World Leads (WL) & Meeting Records (MRs) in their respective events.
USA’s Allyson Felix held off her compatriots Courtney Okolo and Shamier Little to win the women’s 400m with a WL of 49.65s, the fastest time in the world this year. Okolo came in 2nd at 50.29s, while Little who’s main event is the 400m Hurdles finished 3rd with a Personal Best (PB) of 50.40s.
For some of the athletes, it was like a dress rehearsal knowing that London Olympic stadium is also the venue for the World Championships next month.
Meanwhile in the men’s 800m, Botswana’s Nijel Amos made it back to back wins from Paris as he raced to a WL of 1:43.18 to win the race ahead of Donavan Brazier who ran a Season’s Best of 1:43.95 to finish 2nd and Kenya’s Asbel Kiprop 3rd in 1:44.43.
This is the second race Amos will be winning consecutively this year, and he will no doubt be a major challenger for the world title when he competes next month against the likes of David Rudisha.
Meanwhile in the women’s 100m, Olympic champion Elaine Thompson came from finishing 2nd in the heats to winning the final in 10.94s ahead of Dafne Schippers who was 2nd in 10.97s and Blessing Okagbare 3rd with an SB of 10.99s.
It was an American 1-2-3 in the men’s 200m, where Ameer Webb won with a time of 20.13s, beating his compatriots Fred Kerley competing in his first race since turning pro and racing to a PB of 20.24s, same time as Isiah Young who was 3rd.
Just a year after setting a World Record in the women’s 100m Hurdles, Kenra Harrison returned to the scene of her triumph and secured yet another victory in 12.39s. For Sally Pearson, she had a lot to cheer after finishing 2nd with an SB of 12.48s, making her comeback since her horrific injury last year. Sharika Nelvis finished 3rd in 12.62s.
While in the men’s 110m Hurdles, Arries Merritt was back to winning ways after taking the race in 13.09s, and Milan Trajkovic running a new Cyprus record of 13.25s to finish 2nd and Shane Braithwaite 3rd in 13.27s
Kerron Clement might not have had the kind of season he would have wished for, however on Sunday he was back amongst the wins, taking the 400m Hurdles in 48.02s, slightly ahead of Kyron McMaster who was 2nd in 48.12s and Yasmani Copello 3rd in 48.24s.
In the women’s 1 mile, Kenya’s Hellen Obiri further underlined her status as the reigning queen of the long distance races this season, storming to an MR & National Record (NR) of 4:16.56. Obiri who is an Olympic silver in the women’s 5000m in Rio looks set to add the World title to her haul, beating home favourite, Laura Muir who ran a PB of 4:18.03s and Winny Chebet 3rd in 4:19.55
Competing in his last track event before switching to road races after the World Championships, Mo Farah gave the home crowd something to cheer about after winning the men’s 3000m in 7:35.15, and Adel Mechaal finishing 2nd in 7:36.32 while Andrew Butchart was 3rd in 7:37.56
In the field events, the women’s Javelin provided the best thrill for spectators with three MRs, and seeing Barbora Spotakova winning the event with her very last throw.
Olympic champion Sara Kolak looked destined to win having thrown two MRs, but Spotokova repaid her for the loss in Lausanne, landing the spear at a mark of 68.26m just as Kolak won the last time they met with her last throw. Kolak finished 2nd with 67.83m and Martina Ratej 3rd with 64.84m.
The men’s Discus was so close that Daniel Stahl narrowly defeated Federick Dacres throwing a distance of 66.73m, with the latter throwing 66.66m. Philip Milanov finished 3rd with 66.65m
Mariya Lasitskene continued her winning streak in the women’s High Jump, scaling a height of 2.00m, with Vashti Cunningham 2nd jumping a height of 1.97m and Erika Kinsey 3rd with 1.94m.
While for Katerina Stefanidi, there was no stopping her in the women’s Pole Vault after clearing a height of 4.81m. Nicole Buchler finished 2nd with 4.73m while Michaela Meijer was 3rd with 4.65m
The Diamond League action returns in a week’s time in Rabat, with the Moroccan city hosting the 10th leg of the series.