In this final piece by Alex Mills, a frequent contributor to RunBlogRun, Alex provides some of his favorite moments from the Diamond League in 2014. How do you note the best moments of the year? Alex gives it a very good try.
Leg 11 Stockholm
Victor of the 5,000m: Muktar Edris, photo by PhotoRun.net
With the Commonwealths, Europeans and African Championships now all been and gone it was time for the final section of Diamond League competition to get underway. While many of the athletes cut tired looking demeanours due to their endeavours at respective championships, the competition did offer the American athletes the opportunity to show how much they had benefited from time out of competition, completing some hard training.
The Diamond finals were drawing ever closer, but first up were races in Stockholm and Birmingham, firstly in Sweden. In what was a rather predictably flat competition the shine through performances once more came in the distance events.
In an electric 5,000m the top 3 athletes all went under 13 minutes to in turn become the fastest athletes of the year.
Leading the way was Ethiopian teenager Muktar Edris in 12:54.83 who I expect we will be seeing a lot from in recent years. In second was Thomas Longosiwa of Kenya with his compatriot Caleb Ndiku in third
Jenny Simpson finally reaped the full rewards of her hard training by taking her first Diamond League victory of the season as she produced a brilliant piece of tactical running to overtake Genzebe Dibaba and Siffan Hassan just when it mattered most.
Leg 12 Birmingham
Mo Farah sizzles in Birmingham, photo by PhotoRun.net
Mo Farah returned to the Diamond League for the first time this season following his European heroics a week earlier to delight the home crowd and break the British 2 mile record and in turn post a world leading time in the rarely run event. Running on his own from around the 400m mark Farah cruised to victory over his rivals winning in 8.07
Christine Ohurougu produced arguably her best performance of the season to win the 400m and beat a field including Americans Joanna Atkins and Natasha Hastings.
In the men’s version of the race Kirani James romped home, easily beating Isaac Mkwala and Britain’s Martyn Rooney to cement himself as the best 400m runner in the world this year.
Lynsey Sharp’s brilliant summer continued ever further with a fantastic win in the women’s 800m as she beat Eunice Sum and world leader Ajee Wilson after her brilliant finishing kick proved incredibly effective once more.
Leg 13 Zurich
The battle goes to the last meters, Simpson and Rowbury, Zurich, photo by PhotoRun.net
After 12 great spectacles around the world it was time for the first of Diamond League finals to get under way in Zurich with 16 event champions to be crowned.
In what has been the one of the biggest battles in the field events this year, Olympic champion Christian Taylor left until the last jump in the last competition to deny his fellow American rival Will Claye the Diamond League victory in the triple jump.
In another contest that came right down to the wire, the men’s 400metre hurdles, Cornel Fredricks pipped Michael Tinsley to victory on the night. Although Tinsley was still able to celebrate afterwards as he in turn stole the Diamond League title away from Javier Culson.
Both those contests were close but they were still won by clear margins compared to the women’s 1500m. Jenny Simpson needed 6 stitches in her leg after she clung on to beat compatriot Shannon Rowbury and claim her successive Diamond League victory and in turn claim the overall trophy for the event. Having been well behind in the standings before Stockhom, Simpson produced a brilliant pair of races to emerge in the standings from nowhere. This time she showed a wonderful piece of front running to ensure that she finished well ahead of her closest rivals for the trophy Siffan Hassan and Abeba Aregawi.
Similarly to the 1500m, the women’s 100metre hurdles are an event stacked with quality athletes, so really the key is consistency and luck. Dawn Harper showed both qualities to claim victory on the night from Sally Pearson and overall from Queen Harrison, who unfortu
nately never recovered from smashing one of the early hurdles and falling during the race, her margin of victory being 8 points. Harper won the race on the night by .13 of a second, winning in 12.58. Her Diamond League victory ensured that America could have 5 finalists in next year’s world championships final.
Leg 14 Brussels
Mutaz Essa Barshim, from adidas NYC GP, photo by PhotoRun.net
Mutaz Essa Barshim was the star of the show as the 2014 Diamond League culminated in a brilliant fashion with 7 world leads set on a fine early September evening.
All season -long Barshim has been involved in a battle with Ukrainian world champion Bohdan Bondarenko, with the Quatari athletes often narrowly missing out on victory despite breaking his own personal best and the Asian record on a number of occasions, most notably in New York. Yet this time he would not be beaten, after stuttering his way through the early round the world indoor gold medallist burst into life as another epic encounter ensued.
After both athletes cleared 2.40m, Barshim attempted a new personal best 2.43m. Jumping almost as if he was merely taking on the first jump of the round, he cleared the height with ease. Replays and photos of the jump suggest that he may have even leapt above the world record such was the distance between him and the bar. Instead the accolade he achieved on that occasion was a new Diamond League and Asian record for which he rewarded with becoming the second highest jumper in history.
Victory was made even more bittersweet by the fact he stole Diamond League victory from Bondarenko, when his rival already had one hand on the trophy.
Another spectacular clearance came in the men’s Pole vault as Renaud Lavillenie did just he had done at the Shanghai Diamond League and set a world leading performance. This time going clear of 5.93m. Unlike in the high jump, the Frenchman was forced to rely on his self-determination to jump high after all his fellow competitors had already gone out.
Shot Put Queen Valerie Adams finished her Diamond League season in style as she also recorded a world lead, throwing 20.47 metres on her way to becoming the first athlete to win all 7 Diamond League meets in a season.
200m specialist Allyson Felix returned to the top of her game to beat heptathlete and European double gold medallist Dafne Schippers comfortably as cruised home to the fastest time of the year, running an electric 22.02. After the race Felix’s delight at returning to form was clear, yet the time it had taken to get there was obviously frustrating.
Elsewhere on the track Justin Gatlin ran the fastest one day double in history, first beating a stacked field in the 100m before returning to defeat Diamond League champion Afonso Edwards in the 200m. His respective times were 9.77 and 19.71
In the 1500m the ever explosive and unpredictable Taoufik Makhloufi ratified his early race celebration by holding on for victory from soon to be crowned Diamond League champion Silas Kiplagat. His winning time was 3.31.78.