Athletics Weekly - - Start - PIC­TURES: JP DU­RAND

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

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