“And the rain came down.” That is from a Steve Earle song. Steve Earle is a wonderful writer and musician of the alternative country niche. I like to describe Steve Earle as the Keith Richards of country music.
That song could have described the day and night in Stockholm that greeted 7,000 die hard fans at the Bauhaus Stockholm DL. The stadium seats 14,500, and until 2012, that stadium had never truly seen an open seat in three plus decades. But changes happen in the meet management and the meet began to fail.
It is part of our sport, that the genius at creating events, and bringing a city together to support an event are not appreciated. And now, less than four years after the long term meet director left, the Stockholm DL is in crisis.
Despite that, the meet provided some great moments. Here is how Jonas Hedman saw the meet.
Updated June 19, 2016
Another victory for Harrison in tough conditions in Stockholm Diamond League
It was only 15 degrees when Bauhaus-galan Diamond League took place in the Swedish capital on Thursday. One stadium record was registerd – the women’s steeplechase, 9:08.37 – but all eyes were on the 100m hurdle race which Kendra Harrison won in 12.66. However, she was not the main attraction to the local audience; that was the Swedish 60m hurdles world indoor record holder Susanna Kallur who ran her first race at the distance in six years.
Kallur, now 35, have had several injuries during the years and started running over hurdles again as late as March. At Stockholm Olympic Stadium she got a good start and ran a long with Kendra Harrison, Nia Ali and the others for five, six hurdles. But she didn’t have the strength for the last part and finished fifth in 13.00. Definitely a satisfying comeback for Kallur who really love the sport of athletics.
“It feels like I have been running a very long marathon for the past few years and this was just the last hundredth of a second and the absolute best part,” said an emotional Kallur.
“I’ve been doing so much work to be able to come here and finally I got a little bit of a reward”, says Kallur.
Her main goal is to qualify for the Olympic Games in Rio and perform well there. With 13.00 she targeted the Oly qualifier but need to run 12.80 which is the Swedish Olympic Committes qualifying mark. But Kallur qualified for the European Championships in Amsterdam in July and she might go there since it could be a great road to Rio.
Kendra Harrison won the race in 12.66 which was her third straight Diamond League victory. In Eugene three weeks ago she ran 12.24 which is the fastest time in 28 years.
“Conditions slowed me down a little but I’m happy with my performance. Next goal is to make the US team which is one of the toughest to qualify for. But I am in good shape and will give it my best shot, says Harrison.
Jebet got her diamond
Three weeks ago Ruth Jebet from Bahrain won the Diamond League meet in Eugene in 8:59.97 – just one second from the eight-year-old world record. In Stockholm she wanted the record and went with the rabbit who passed 1000m in 2:58. Jebet was running solo the second half and couldn’t quit maintain the speed. She reached the finish line in 9:08.37, which was a new stadium record. The award for a new arena record is, since 1994, a diamond, which she got at a special ceremony after the last event.
“I want to improve my best time, to challenge myself but the weather was not conducive to this. It was really windy in places and this affected me. But the new meeting record is pleasing, said Jebet who won the race with 14 seconds with Beatrice Chepkoech as runner up.
Her last race before the Olympics will be the London Diamond League at the end of July.
The audience was close to see another stadium record when Sandra Perkovic won the discus in 68.32 – just half a meter from her own four year old stadium record.
“I love this Olympic Stadium and the atmosphere, although the conditions made it tough today. I have the European championships in Amsterday, followed by the Diamond League in London prior to the Olympic Games. I feel really good and am throwing well at the moment”, said Jebet.
The 800m final looked almost like a world championships final with world record holder David Rudisha as the favorite. He held the lead when the field entered the home straight, but could not respond to his competitors over the last hundred meters and finished fourth in 1:45.69.
“I am a bit disappointed. I came here to run fast but the weather was not so great, this is not my condition. I am in really good shape so I was hoping for a better time. I am ready for 1:42-1:43 if the conditions are good”, says Rudisha.
Ferguson Rotich won the race in 1:45.07 ahead of Pierre-Ambroise Bosse, 1:45.23, and Adam Kszczot, 1:45.41.
Spanovic vs Reese in long jump
One of the best performances of the day was 6.90 in the women’s long jump by Ivana Spanovic in the 12 degrees. But she was challenged by 6-time world champion Brittney Reese, who finished just two centimeters behind.
Another solid effort was Christian Taylor’s 17.59m in triple jump which was the last field event of the night. He reached the winning mark in the last round and won his fourth straight competition. He was the only one who could maintain the hard conditions and had a winning margin of close to a meter.
“The crowd was really into it and the announcer also helped me out. I just want to stay consistent over 17 meters. I am healthy, I am happy and now all the focus is on the trials which is in the beginning of July. I am a bit nervous but now I can relax a little bit, recharge and get ready to go again”, said Taylor.
What an Ethiopian fan club!
The men’s 5000m included no less than eighth Ethiopian runners and they had a loudly fan club on the stand in the first bent. Every time the runner’s passed they made noise and waved with their green-yellot-red flags!
Two years ago Muktar Eldris won the 5000m in Stockholm with a world lead of 12:54.83 but now finished third in 13:05.54. Yomif Kejelcha had the lead during the last lap but was surpassed by 2011 10,000m world champion Ibrahim Jeilan on the home straight and finished second – 13:03.22 vs 13.03.66.
Many track and field meets are struggling financially and Stockholm Diamond League is not an exception. The meet has had problems to fill the 14,500 seats for four years and this time the numbers of occupied seats was the lowest in 50 years. The newspaper Dagens Nyheter, “DN”, was the title sponsor for 48 years until 2014 and the new title sponsor Bauhaus has a three year contract until 2017. But it’s a big machinery to organise a world class gala and the question is – was this the last Diamond League meet in Stockholm?