A happy Karsten Warholm after winning the men's 400m Hurdles title on Wednesday. Photo Credit: Making of Champions/PaV media

The opening day of the London Diamond League (DL) witnessed several outstanding performances, with Karsten Warholm setting the only Meeting Record (MR) on Day 1, while Abdallelah Haroun stormed to a National Record (NR) in the men’s 400m.

Another highlight of the day was the return of former Olympic Champions Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Kirani James, to the venue of their Olympic triumphs from six years ago.

Following the absence of the enigmatic Abderrahman Samba in his signature event, reigning World Champion Warholm held fort to race to a Personal Best (PB), NR and MR of 47.65s as Yasmani Copello followed in 48.44s. Thomas Barr was 3rd in a Season’s Best (SB) of 48.99s.

London 2012 GOLD medallist in the men’s 400m, James would definitely be pleased at making his first appearance in the DL in two years, despite finishing 3rd in a time of 44.50s.

However, it was Haroun that claimed his first ever DL victory with a lifetime best and NR of 44.07s, as Paul Dedewo who won the event at last week’s World Cup, sailed to a Personal Best (PB) of 44.43s in 2nd place.

DL Record holder in the 400m Hurdles, Abderrahman Samba opted for the one-lap event this time around and finished 5th with a PB of 44.62s.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce returned to the DL on a winning note as she posted the overall fastest time of 11.13s in the heats, before racing to her first sub-11s of the season to win the final in 10.98s as Dezerea Bryant took 2nd in 11.04s. Another Jamaican, Jonielle Smith was 3rd with a PB of 11.07s.

London 2017 Silver medallist Christian Coleman was meant to headline the men’s 100m but Did Not Start (DNS). That notwithstanding, it was a close race that elicited a lot of excitement.

Having won his heat with an impressive time of 9.90s, Ronnie Baker equalled the mark to win the final ahead of Zharnel Hughes and Akani Simbine in 9.93s and 9.94s respectively. Yohan Blake finished one place behind in 9.95s.

It was a dramatic finish in the men’s 5000m at the Olympic Stadium as Paul Chelimo (13:14.01) came from behind to upstage Yomif Kejelcha (13:14.39) who had set the pace for the rest of the field. World Champion Muktar Edris pipped Kejelcha on the line to take 2nd in 13:14.45.

It was a desperately close finish in the women’s 400m Hurdles but it was World No.2 Shamier Little who came through for the win in a time of 53.95s, with Janieve Russell coming a close 2nd in 53.96s.

Meanwhile it was a 1-2 for Great Britain in the women’s Long Jump as Shara Proctor soared to an SB of 6.91m. Compatriot Lorraine Ugen saved the best for last but still came up 3cm short, finishing 2nd with 6.88m, with Brooke Stratton settling for 3rd with 6.76m.

World Champion Sam Kendricks bounced back to winning ways as he upstaged World Record (WR) holder Renaud Lavillenie (5.86m) to win the men’s Pole vault with a height of 5.92m. Youngster Armand Duplantis placed 3rd, also with a clearance of 5.86m.

Huihui Lyu dominated the women’s Javelin throw with her best mark of 65.54m gotten in the third round. Nikola Ogrodnikova and Kelsey-Lee Roberts followed with 65.36m and 64.11m respectively.

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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 National Sports Festival and the African Athletics Championships, and has also freelanced for the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN).

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