Alex Mills provides us his second part of a three part feature on the Fourteen plus magic moments of the 2014 Diamond League.
Leg 7 Lausanne
Kirani James verus LaShawn Merritt, (from Pre Classic, May 31),
photo by PhotoRun.net
Following a break for the European Team Championships and numerous national championships, Diamond League action returned in Lausanne and the wait was well worth it.
The highlight of the meet came in the men’s 400m where Kirani James trumped Lashawn Merritt once more on his way to recording an incredible 43.74, the fastest time recorded in 7 years and also a Diamond League record. This time James’ winning margin was slightly more clear-cut as he stretched away from Merritt in the home strait to win by .18 of a second from his American rival.
Continuing on from his success in Eugene and Oslo, Pascal Martinot-Lagarde reigned supreme once more as he lowered his personal best even closer towards the 13 second mark. Winning in 13.06, ahead of Sergey Shubenkov, the Frenchman’s progression would not finish there in 2014.
After arguably the best high jump in history in the previous DL, the men where on top form once more with 5 athletes jumping 2.35m or higher, to ensure that we saw one of the most stacked competitions ever. Just as he had done in New York, Bohdan Bondarenko came out on top, winning after a second-time clearance at 2.40m. This time his main competition came from a little closer to home as compatriot Andriy Protsenko improved his personal best by 5cm and also jump 2.40m at the third time of asking.
Leg 8 Paris
The players (Hassan, Simpson, Aregawi, Bahta, Dibaba, Stockholm), photo by PhotoRun.net
Just two days after the action in Switzerland, attention turned to Paris and the meeting Areva where the middle and long distance events threw up some brilliant performances.
Like in Eugene, five athletes went under 4 minutes in the women’s 1500m but there was a new winner; 5th on that occasion a month and a half before, Siffan Hassan proved why she has become a serious contender for the world championships next year by winning in a world leading 3:57.00. The athlete who finished one position ahead of her in America, Jenny Simpson was this time one place behind as she fought courageously to the line to further improve her own personal best to 3.57.22 and edge ever closer to Mary Slaney’s national record.
Over in the men’s 800m it was another 1500m expert who took victory; running in a different event to usual, Asbel Kiprop showed the speed by posting a world leading 1.43.34 to push Commonwealth champion to be Nijel Amos into second. Finishing in 4th was home favourite Pierre-Ambroise Bosse, running in a full French football kit.
Kenyan Edwin Soi became the first man to break the 13 minute barrier in 2014 by winning the men’s 5,000m in 12:59.82 ahead of Ethiopia’s Yenew Alamirew, it was to be a time that would eventually seem him finish as the 4th fastest athlete this year.
In a non-Diamond League 110metre hurdles Hansle Parchment ran 12.94 seconds to become the first Jamaican to go under 13 seconds as he went to 11th in the world all-time lists. In second Martinot-Lagarde improved his personal best again, this time to 13.05s.
Leg 9 Glasgow
Emma Coburn, Steeple AR, Glasgow, July 12-13, 2014,
photo by PhotoRun.net
This two-day dress rehearsal for the Commonwealth Games held almost every event over one weekend, so understandably there was a lot of action to choose from.
Siffan Hassan continued he mid-season domination by winning the 1500m comfortably from then Diamond League leader Abeba Aragawi, running just outside 4 minutes to record a meeting record. Great Britain’s Laura Weightman followed up a personal best in Paris by finishing 4th as she gave a glimpse of the form that would later see her take bronze behind Hassan and Aragawi at the European Championships.
In the Women’s 400m Francesca McCory produced a superb performance to beat Olympic champion and compatriot Sanya Richards-Ross and in turn go sub-50 seconds and continue her excellent season.
Day one was crowned by an excellent finish to the men’s 100m with 3 athletes crossing the line almost instantaneously as they all went sub-10 seconds. Jamaica finished 1st and 3rd with Nickel Ashmeade taking the victory in 9.97, Nesta Carter completed the top 3 .01 seconds down. Sandwiched in between was Mike Rodgers of the USA. Just behind the trio in 10.03 was Great Britain’s James Dasaolu with a performance that almost assured his place in his country’s team for the European Championships, an event he would later go on to win.
She may not have won on this occasion but Emma Coburn showed just how much she has come on this year as she once again went toe to toe with her East African rivals and in turn broke New Balance team-mate Jenny Simpson’s American record on the second day of competition. Running an 9.11.42 AR, Coburn was runner-up to Hiwot Ayalew 9:10.64s, after the pair had broken away early in the race to finish well clear of the rest.
After seeing his friend and rival Asbel Kiprop rip up his event in Paris, world record holder David Rudisha returned to the DL with an easy 1:43.34 world lead-equalling victory in the 800m, where he finished well ahead of any of his rivals, albeit in the absence of his biggest challengers Nijel Amos and Mohammed Aman.
There was yet another American victor in the women’s 100 metre hurdles as Queen Harrison this time took the win from Lolo Jones.
Leg 10 Monaco
Tori Bowie, (from Roma Golden Gala), photo by PhotoRun.net
The Beautiful conditions provided a great opportunity for some top performances in the South of France, luckily the prospect materialised perfectly into something spectacular.
It took over 4 years to happen, but the wait was finally worth it in the women’s Triple Jump, where after 6 rounds of competition Caterine Ibarguen became the first women to cross 15 metre barrier in nearly half a decade. It wasn’t a crawl over the invisible marker either, but instead a huge leap of 5.31 metres that saw the Columbian elevate herself way up in the all-time world rankings. Victory hadn’t even been hers until then with Yekaterina Koneva having lead since round 2 with her own personal best 14.89m.
Continuing on from the great miles races from earlier this season, the men’s metric equivalent came to life in Monaco in one of the fastest and strongest races in history. In total a huge 7 athletes went below minutes as the top 10 runners all at least ran personal bests. The race had been structured around Asbel Kiprop’s world record attempt, but in the end the world champion didn’t even claim victory, as he was outkicked and outthought by Silas Kiplagat, who in turn went ahead of him in the all-time lists after recording 3:27.64. Ronald Kwemboi completed a Kenyan 1-2-3 with a world junior record time of 3:28.45.
For the American’s, Leo Manzano won the battle with Matt Centrowitz as they both produced their best ever times to finish 8th and 9th in 3.30.98 and 3:31.09 respectively.
Having chipped away at his personal best all season, Pascal Martinot-Lagarde made a huge improvement to his time to smash the French record and the 13 second barrier all in one go and win his 4th Diamond League race of the season in a brilliant 12.95 seconds.
Tori Bowie another of this season’s stars, also ripped apart her personal best and the field as she won the women’s 100m in an awesome 10.80 seconds to mean that at one point she owned world leads in both sprint events, despite having amazingly started the season by primarily a long jumper.