Sound­ing the Gong of vic­tory

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

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.

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