Despite finishing a disappointing 4th in the women’s 400m at last month’s London World Championships, the 2017 Athletics season is certainly ending on a high for Olympic Champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo, who made history at the Diamond League meeting in Brussels on Friday, September 1st.
The Bahamian sprinter was simply stunning as she dominated the women’s 400m field at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels, storming to a World Lead (WL) of 49.46s to erase Allyson Felix’s previous time of 49.65s.
She inspired Nigerian-born Bahraini athlete Salwa Eid Naser to a new National Record (NR) of 49.88s in 2nd place, with the 19-year old and London 2017 Silver medallist running inside 50s for the first time in her career. USA’s Courtney Okolo was 3rd in 50.91s.
Miller-Uibo’s inspiring performance comes against the backdrop of her victory in the 200m at the Brussels Diamond League a week ago, making her the only athlete in the 2017 IAAF Diamond League series to win two trophies.
She also becomes only the second athlete after Felix to win the 200m/400m Diamond Trophy, a feat the American achieved in 2010.
The men’s 400m, a non-Diamond League event, was won by Luguelin Santos (45.67s) of the Dominican Republic, who ended up stealing the shine from the Borlee brothers – Dylan (46.42s), Jonathan (46.44s) and Kevin (46.99s) on their home turf.
The Belgian trio finished 4th, 5th and 6th respectively, as Rabah Yousif pipped teammate Martyn Rooney on the line to place 2nd in 4.10s.
The only Meeting Record (MR) set at the 2017 AG Memorial Van Damme came from an unlikely figure in the person of USA’s Darrell Hill.
The thrower pulled off a surprising win in the men’s Shot put held the day before (Thursday), upstaging London 2017 GOLD medallist Tom Walsh and World Leader Ryan Crouser, with his MR and Personal Best (PB) of 22.46m gotten at his final throw.
Crouser, who astonishingly missed out on a medal in London, placed 2nd with 22.37m, while Joe Kovacs finished 3rd with 21.62m, making it a 1-2-3 for the US in the event. Walsh finished a distant 6th with 21.38m.
Sandra Perkovic won the Diamond Trophy in the women’s Discus with a best throw of 68.82m secured on her third attempt. Dani Stevens and Denia Caballero followed with 65.85m and 64.61m respectively.
Newly crowned Champion in the men’s Discus, Andrius Gudzius of Lithuania demonstrated that his victory in London was no fluke as he dominated the event in Brussels with a mark of 68.16m.
He was followed by former World Leader Fedrick Dacres and Beijing 2015 World Piotr Malachowski with throws of 66.31m and 65.73m respectively.
Christian Taylor continued his dominance in the men’s Triple Jump by leaping to the title with a mark of 17.49m, shrugging off the threats posed by teammate Will Claye (17.35m) and Cuba’s Pedro Pablo Pichardo (17.32m) who will be looking for ways to cage the reigning Olympic and World Champion next season.
Mariya Lasitskene has been one of the most consistent athletes this season, and the Authorized Neutral Athlete (ANA) ended the season unbeaten. The two-time World Champion, who hasbeen in a class of her own, claimed the Diamond Trophy in Brussels with 2.02m.
Ukraine’s Yuliya Levchenko played second fiddle with her best clearance of 1.94m, while Michaela Hruba was 3rd with 1.88m. Home girl, reigning Olympic and World Champion, Nafissatou Thiam finished 4th with the same distance.
Another athlete who maintained her winning streak was Katerina Stefanidi in the women’s Pole vault. The Greek jumper won with a distance of 4.85m, while her American rival took a bow with 4.75m. Alysha Newman placed 3rd with the same mark, which was a National Record (NR) for the Canadian.
Ivana Spanovic retained her Diamond Trophy in the women’s Long Jump, and would be delighted at finishing ahead of all three athletes who finished on the podium at the London World Championships.
The Serbian captured the title with her final jump of 6.70m and was followed by Great Britain’s Lorraine Ugen (6.65m) and Shakeela Saunders (6.64m) of the USA. Tianna Bartoletta and Brittney Reese finished 4th and 5th respectively.