Monday, 1 August 2016

Action from Day 2 of the London Anniversary Games

The highlight of Day 2 of the Müller Anniversary Games was Double Olympic and World champion Mo Farah as he ran to 5000m victory in 12.59.29, the fastest time in the world this year.

Farah is the only British man to have broken the 13 minute barrier, and he did it again at the Olympic stadium, roared on by the crowd. Running single file from the gun, the intent was clear as the pacemakers did a terrific job of setting the runners on their way to a sub-13 time.

By 3,000m it was Farah versus the clock and that's where the going got tough. But with the help of the crowd the 5,000m and 10,000m champion showed what he was made of, running a last lap of 56 seconds to produce the perfect finale to a great weekend’s athletics. Mo wasn’t the only Brit on form in this race as Scotland’s Andrew Butchart continued his rise to true world class status with a second place finish in 13.14.85. Running in a large chasing group the Scottish record holder ran a blistering last lap to overhaul a number of more experienced campaigners and win his first ever Diamond Race points. 

Katarina Johnson-Thompson continued the theme of her high jump personal best the previous night by jumping a season’s best 6.84m in a long jump field of some class. It was her series that was arguably most impressive though, with six jumps over 6.60m. She didn’t have it all her own way though, as Shara Proctor was also in season’s best form, producing an equally good series to finish just 4cm behind KJT. Jessica Ennis-Hill finished down in seventh with a best of 6.19m - new Diamond League regulations meaning she only got three attempts.

Marie-Josee Ta Lou had to equal her lifetime best of 10.96 (-0.7m/s) to secure victory in the women’s 100m final. An elite field including Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce made up the final, but it was Ta Lou who snatched victory on the line from Michelle-Lee Ahye, who also sneaked under 11 seconds. Fraser-Pryce had to settle for third in 11.06 after winning her heat in 11.03. The battle of the Brits took place in the outside lanes, British record holder Dina Asher-Smith running 11.09 in fourth to edge out Desiree Henry in sixth with 11.17
 Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce winning her heat
 Marie-Josee Ta Lou winning her heat
Dafne Schippers did what she does best in the women’s 200m, putting clear daylight between herself and her rivals to take victory in a world class 22.13. Leading off the bend, she only continued to pull away from Tiffany Townsend and Joanna Atkins, the duo separated by just one hundredth of a second, Townsend equalling her 22.63 season’s best. It’s hard to believe when Schippers was last here it was finishing 11th in the heptathlon at London 2012. Jodie Williams went sub 23 in fifth place, her 22.99 run just fractionally slower than the time she produced at the European Championships.

The GB & NI men’s sprint relay team put previous baton problems behind them, with extensive practice in the last twelve months clearly paying off as they stormed to victory in a world leading 37.78 here in London. Running leg one James Dasaolu set things up nicely for his teammates, and a smooth change with Adam Gemili was a recurring theme as James Ellington and Chijindu Ujah both did the same to take the quartet very close to the British record.

Matthew Hudson-Smith ran another perfectly judged race to win the men’s 400m in 45.03 from Trinidad and Tobago’s Deon Lendore. There were four athletes in contention coming into the home straight, but ultimately Hudson-Smith was the strongest, as he held his form and his nerve to edge clear for the win. Back in third there was a 45.45 season’s best for Rabah Yousif who is rounding into form nicely ahead of Rio.
 Much to the disappointment of the crowd, Martyn Rooney was disqualified for a false start. 

In the men’s one lap hurdles Kerron Clement showed his class, the American winning in 48.40 ahead of Javier Culson, with both men recording season’s bests. Fifth place went to Jack Green with Seb Rodger sixth, both men fractionally outside their season’s bests.
Dimitri Bascou took 110m hurdles victory by a similar margin to Kendra Harrison’s world record run last night, however albeit quick, his 13.20 winning time wasn’t quite as special. David Omoregie was the best of the Brits in fifth, his 13.64 clocking not quite as good as the 13.48 he ran in qualifying.

 Andrew Pozzi wins his heat
 Lawrence Clarke in his heat

There was bad news for both Lawrence Clarke and Andy Pozzi, the former getting disqualified for a false start, the latter withdrawing from the final after suffering cramp in warm-up. Having said that, Pozzi did qualify fastest for the final with a 13.19 personal best, which is right up there in world terms.

Shelayna Oskan-Clarke prevailed in an enthralling three way tussle in the women’s 800m, staying strong in the closing 30 metres to move clear of Lynsey Sharp and American Molly Ludlow. Coming off the bend it was Ludlow who lead, but first Sharp, fresh from a 1.57.75 run at the Monaco Diamond League a week ago, and then Oskan-Clarke edged past, with the latter breaking the tape in a season’s best of 1.59.46.

Joe Kovacs produced a huge 22.04m to win the men’s shot put competition from Kiwi Tom Walsh. Leading from round two with a 21.54m effort, Walsh was overhauled by Kovacs’ winning effort in round five, much to the big American’s delight.

Habiba Ghribi looked in great shape as she fine tunes her Rio preparations; she took 3000m steeplechase victory in 9.21.35 ahead of Stephanie Garcia. Briton Rosie Clarke ran a gutsy race to improve her personal best to 9.51.97, but unfortunately Lennie Waite did not finish.