This is Stuart Weir’s second column on the London DL, and this is his piece on notable performances.
Notable performances on Day 1 at the Anniversary Games
The Anniversary Games is the only two day event in the Diamond League program but there are rumors that this is the last year that the event will be spread over two days.
The day one program consisted of eight Diamond events, with the men’s 100m and the women’s 100m hurdles each having prelims leading into the final. In addition, there were four non-diamond races and two para athletics races and a women’s 4 by 100m relay in the 3 hour 10 minute program, which was preceded by five kids relays.
It seems strange to start my list of notable performances with a meaningless relay but it proved to be an incredibly exciting race. Poland, China, Brazil, Jamaica and Australia (plus an all star team) provided the opposition for a strong but not full strength GB squad. GB had a two meter lead when the baton was passed to Daryll Neita for the final leg. Jamaica – with Elaine Thompson on leg two – handed the baton to Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in second place. Fraser-Pryce made up the deficit to bring Jamaica home in 42.29 to win by one 100th of a second. Momma Rocket said afterwards: “When it comes to the relay you just have so much energy and I felt strong and was overall just glad I managed to come away with the win for the team”.
With Keni Harrison, Brianna M’Neal, Christina Clemons and Sharika Nelvis absent, the women’s 100m hurdles looked to have suffered more than most from the partial American boycott. There were in fact four American women in the field. The first heat saw two disqualifications for jumping the gun and a faller. It also saw the 2015 the world champion, Danielle Williams of Jamaica, running a PR of 12.41.
The final saw another disqualification under rule Rule 168.7. for a trail leg infringement. Williams ran the second PR in 2 hours, this time a world lead and national record 12.32. with Nia Ali and Queen Claye (both USA) second and third in 12.57 and 12,64 respectively. Speaking afterwards Williams seem completely unfazed by her spectacular achievement, saying: “I am thrilled with that, my aim was always to run fast”.
Christian Taylor is the reigning world triple jump champion (from London 2017). He is the double Olympic champion (London 2012 and Rio 2016). In fact he has never lost a triple jump competition in the London stadium – until today that is. In a disappointing competition, made difficult by a swirling wind, there were seventeen fouls in 42 jumps with only the top two achieving a 17 meter jump. The winner was Pedro Pablo Pichardo with 17.53, the best of his four 17 meter plus jumps. Taylor’s best was 17.19 and he had to wait until the fifth round to pass 17m.
Taylor, gracious as always, said afterwards: “I am happy to come out healthy, it was difficult. There was a lot going on today, the crowd are really into the event but there is so much going on that it is hard to concentrate. It is always good to have Pichardo pushing me because this is what we need. It’s good for the spectators as well because of the rivalry. We still have two months before the World Championships so there is no rush and I am just happy to be here with this being my first games. It’s always special to be back here, I would like have to put on a better show but I was battling the elements”. Having lived in England for a few years, Taylor is a very popular competitor in the UK but his London winning streak, I suppose, had to end some time.
Another notable performance was Goldie Sayers’ javelin throw in the 2008 Olympics where she finished fourth. Today, with the. Russian athlete, Mariya Abakumova, having been disqualified after historic doping violations, Sayers received her bronze medal eleven years too late.