Sounding the Gong of victory
PARIS — China’s Gong Lijiao met little resistance from her rivals en route to the women’s shot put crown at the IAAF Diamond League Paris meet on Saturday.
Olympic champions fared differently, as Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson continued to shine on the 100m track, contrary to a sluggish performance from women’s 3,000m steeplechase world record holder Ruth Jebet of Bahrain and men’s 110m hurdler Omar McLeod of Jamaica.
Gong’s first throw of 18.56m built a solid lead over Yuliya Leantsiuk of Belarus, at 17.83m. Anita Marton of Hungary, Gong’s toughest rival in the event, made 17.82m on her first throw.
Gong improved to 18.68m in the second round and to 19.14m in the third to finish with the top six throws at Charlety Stadium. Marton was second at 18.48m, but her total of 25 points after four meets is one ahead of Gong. Leantsiuk was third at 18.28m.
“The conditions at the stadium were very good today, and I hope to come back next year,” Gong said after her third consecutive Diamond League triumph after Shanghai and Rome.
“My main target is the world championships in London in next month, so I will go back to Germany tomorrow to prepare for that competition.”
Thompson, who won gold in the 100m and 200m at last year’s Rio Olympics, clocked 10.91 sec in the 100 — 0.2 short of her season best, recorded in Kingston the previous week. The win extended her winning streak to 17 races including heats.
“In this moment, I am exactly where I want to be, feeling excited with one month to go to the worlds,” Thompson said.
Britain’s Christian Taylor was another triumphant Olympic gold medalist, winning the men’s triple jump with a leap of 17.29 meters.
Other champions found the going more difficult.
Jebet, who hoped to improve on her current world record of 8:52.78 set one year ago at the same meet, finished a distant fourth in the 3000m steeplechase with a time of 9:10.95.
Hurdler McLeod fared even worse after failing to build on his leading position after the heats. He finished seventh in 13.41sec, with the title going to his compatriot Ronald Levy at 13.05.
In the pole vault, Sam Kendricks of the US scaled 5.82m to edge local favorite and 2012 Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie. Germany’s Johannes Vetter took top honors in javelin with a throw of 88.74m while compatriot Thomas Rohler, who won gold in Rio, finished third at 87.23m.
The next stop on the Diamond League tour is July 6 in Zurich, Switzerland.