MONACO DIAMOND LEAGUE
WORLD RECORDHOLDER ROUNDS INTO FORM AHEAD OF IAAF WORLD CHAMPS WITH 9.95 VICTORY OVER 100m
Bolt cruises to victory while Muir and McColgan are pick of the Brits
USAIN BOLT had not impressed in his early races this season but he has repeatedly peaked when it mattered and the Jamaican breezed to his first sub-10 second clocking of 2017 to beat a decent field in Monaco.
With the IAAF World Championships starting early next month, Bolt ran 9.95 to beat American Isiah Young by three hundredths of a second as Akani Simbine of South Africa and CJ Ujah of Britain ran 10.02 in third and fourth.
Bolt said: “It was good. I’m going in the right direction but there is still a lot of work to do.”
While many of Bolt’s rivals for London were absent, that certainly was not the case with the women’s 800m.
It was a red-hot race where four national records fell as pacemaker Laura Roesler blasted a far-too-fast 55.31 opening lap, well over a second ahead of the pack.
Olympic champion Caster Semenya was ahead at 600 metres in a controlled 86.72 and produced a notable 28.55 last 200 metres to win in a South African record of 1:55.27. However, she was pushed hard by Francine Niyonsaba, who improved her Burundi best to 1:55.47, plus Ajee’ Wilson, who ran an American record of 1:55.61, after all three entered the straight abreast.
Sifan Hassan of Netherlands was fourth in a 1:56.81 PB to show significant speed for someone focusing on the 1500m in London after being last after the first 200 metres.
She was followed by
Melissa Bishop, who clocked a Canadian record of 1:57.01, as Britain’s Lynsey Sharp was sixth in a season’s best of 1:58.01. The Scot was just 0.32 outside her Scottish record set when sixth in the Rio Olympics.
Some believed Wayde van Niekerk could threaten his
400m world record of 43.03 after his exploits at 200m and 300m this year.
However, the South African had to work hard to simply win the race after he blasted the first 200m to build up a good lead but Botswanan Isaac Makwala kicked on the bend, then led into the home straight and pushed him all the way.
Van Niekerk prevailed by a metre in 43.73 from Makwala’s 43.84.
It was a night when a number of global athletics’ big names were given tough competition. In the women’s sprint hurdles, world recordholder Keni Harrison won by just one hundredth of a second from fellow American Sharika Nelvis.
The men’s 1500m is traditionally a quality event in Monaco and this year’s 30th anniversary meeting was no exception.
Chris O’Hare followed up his Müller Anniversary Games win in London and here he beat Olympic champions Matt Centrowitz and Asbel Kiprop, double Olympic medallist Nick Willis and European indoor champion Marcel Lewandowski while running a Scottish record of 3:33.61 but only finished in seventh.
Up front, Elijah Manangoi led a Kenyan one-two-three, winning in a world-leading 3:28.80 after a 54-second last
lap from Timothy Cheruiyot’s 3:29.10 with Ronald Kwemoi clocking 3:32.34.
The early pace was fast with 53.75 at 400m, 1:51.43 at 800m and 2:48.73 at 1200m.
European runners followed with Filip Ingebrigsten of
Norway fourth in 3:32.48 and Germany’s Homiyu Tesfaye fifth in 3:33.47.
Centrowitz, Willis and Kiprop were only ninth, tenth and eleventh with 3:34 clockings while Lewandowski set a Polish record of 3:34.04 in eighth and Willis bagged a late world qualifying mark.
The women’s 3000m was just as impressive with Hellen Obiri enjoying a runaway victory to clock a world-leading 8:23.14.
The opening kilometre was 2:47.53 and Obiri broke clear at halfway and had a good lead at 2000m in 5:34.83.
Fellow Kenyan Beatrice Chepkoech closed the gap with a fast last lap to run 8:28.66.
Behind, Laura Muir ran an outdoor PB of 8:30.64 in third though outside her indoor best of 8:26.41 where she beat Obiri by three seconds at Karlshrue.
Eilish McColgan set a 12-second PB of 8:31.39 after making up a big gap on her fellow Scot on the last lap. McColgan’s time was quicker than her mother, former world 10,000m champion Liz, clocked (8:34.80) and moved her to sixth all-time in the UK.
Steph Twell was 13th in 9:01.01.
With great performances coming thick and fast, the men’s 800m saw NCAA champion Emmanuel Korir of Kenya winning in a world lead of 1:43.10 to confirm his position as London favourite. Further back, Britain’s Elliot Giles clocked a disappointing 1:46.10 in ninth after bravely attacking the first 600 metres, and was third down the backstraight but faded badly in the last 200 metres.
Kori Carter of the USA won the women’s 400m hurdles in 53.36 as Britain’s Eilidh Doyle was fourth in 54.75.
Marie-Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast took the 200m in 22.25 as Dina Asher-Smith’s comeback from injury continued with a promising season’s best of 22.89 in third. Fellow Brit Finette Agyapong, fresh from her European under-23 victory, finished fifth in 23.22.
Kenyans aren’t often beaten in the 3000m steeplechase but they lost the men’s and women’s races at the last Diamond League in Rabat and, here in Monaco, the victory in the men’s race went to Evan Jager as the American clocked 8:01.31 to beat Jairus Birech by a whopping six seconds and showed he should challenge the Africans in London.
USA’s former Kenyan Stanley Kebenei set a PB of 8:08.30 in third.
In the field, Piotr Lisek took the men’s pole vault with 5.82m – the European indoor champion from Poland equalling his PB.
In the triple jump, Caterine Ibarguen continued her rivalry with fellow South American Yulimar Rojas, with the Colombian winning by 3cm from the Venezuelan with 14.86m.
The high jump, meanwhile, saw more quality jumping from Mariya Lasitskene as the Russian won with an impressive 2.05m, 8cm ahead of Yuliya Levchenko of Ukraine and under-20 Vashti Cunningham of the United States.
There was only one throws event on the timetable – the men’s javelin – and Thomas Rohler of Germany established a lead with 87.06m in the first round and then lengthened it with 89.17m in the second.
Johannes Vetter couldn’t match his 94.44m form of the previous week and finished third in 85.14m.
USA won the women’s 4x100m relay in 42.34.
Usain Bolt: Jamaican clocked his first sub-10-second performance of the year
Isaac Makwala (left) and Wayde van Niekerk battle it out in the 400m
Mariya Lasitskene: Russian high jumper’s fine form continued with 2.05m victory in Monaco