BRUSSELS DIAMOND LEAGUE
Shaunae Miller-Uibo completes a Diamond League double, while Eilish McColgan sets a Scottish record
BRUSSELS suffered a power cut on the night of their Diamond League final but there was no lack of power from the athletes and the new system of everything being decided at the final instead of points being accumulated through the season was generally well received.
Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo showed her prowess over 200m in Zürich and in Brussels there was no repeat of her London drama as she powered down the finishing straight to win in a world-leading 49.46. That was her second best-ever time for the London fourth-placer, just missing her 49.44 win from Rio.
Chasing her hard all the way was London runner-up Salwa Eid Naser, who ran her first sub-50 with 49.88.
It was a Bahrain record and followed her three records in each round at London plus her win in the Birmingham Diamond League against Allyson Felix and world champion Phyllis Francis.
Miller-Uibo became the first athlete to win the 200m-400m Diamond League double since Felix in 2010.
It has been a great end to the season for Miller-Uibo, who many thought might leave London with double individual gold plus a relay medal but ultimately only had a bronze 200m medal to show for her endeavours.
Her two Diamond victories netted her $100,000 in prize money though and could see her ranked as world No.1 in both events.
Double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson, who won three medals in Rio but went home empty-handed from London, will at least be ranked a clear world No.1 at
100m at the end of the season after her Brussels victory.
The race was very close though but saw Thompson retain her Diamond Trophy with 10.92 even after a slow start as she got up on the line to pip double London silver medallist Marie-Josée Ta Lou, who was second again in 10.93.
The Jamaican was content after the race. “I’ve just got one thing to say – I’m happy, happy, happy!”
Another athlete who was not happy with the outcome in the English capital last month was in winning form in the long jump.
The event produced disappointing distances in the cool conditions, but was a close affair as London fourth-placer Ivana Spanovic, presumably with her bib number on very tight, won with a last round effort. In London, that bib touched the sand as she completed her final jump and may have cost her the gold.
“I kept on fighting until my last attempt and I came out on top,” said Spanovic.
Britain’s Lorraine Ugen pushed her all the way, gaining some good scalps in second.
The Serb took the lead with a 6.62m second round jump, which she matched in round three.
Ugen jumped 6.61m and 6.60m in those rounds followed by a 6.57m in round four.
The European indoor silver medallist, now showing a consistency on the board that was so lacking in London, where she had just one legal jump, then took a narrow lead with 6.65m in round five.
But Spanovic showed her competitive mettle yet again with a 6.70m last round effort to snatch victory back.
Ugen’s reward for her high level was she took the scalps of Olympic champion Tianna Bartoletta (fourth with 6.63m) and beat world champion Brittney Reese (6.61m) into fifth.
Just nine centimetres covered the top five and in sixth was 2015 world silver medallist Shara Proctor.
There was a world champion victory at 5000m which was a quick race, and saw arguably the British performance of the night.
The pacemakers started steadily but impatient London winner Hellen Obiri was ahead at 2000m in 5:50.46 and then pushed on to pass 3000m in a fast 8:41.96.
The Kenyan, who had looked tired in the Birmingham 3000m where she was fourth, kicked away on the last lap to win in 14:25.88 and was chased home by Kenyan teammate Caroline Kipkirui, who ran a PB 14:27.55.
Ethiopian Senbere Teferi did well to finish third in 14:32.03
“I KEPT ON FIGHTING UNTIL MY LAST ATTEMPT AND I CAME OUT ON TOP” IVANA SPANOVIC
having had a heavy fall mid-race which dropped her to last at one stage.
Eilish McColgan was briefly hampered by the fall, but it did not prevent her continuing her stunning season and she carried on her PB form. Finishing as first European – and indeed first non-African – she smashed her PB by 12 seconds and broke 15 minutes for the first time.
Her time of 14:48.49 was a Scottish record and moved her to fourth all-time in the
UK, behind Paula Radcliffe (14:29.11), Jo Pavey (14:39.96) and Zola Budd (14:48.07).
McColgan now heads a bunch of Scottish athletes in the all-time rankings with Laura Muir fifth, Stephanie Twell sixth, Yvonne Murray seventh and her mother, Liz McColgan, eighth!
There was another
London winner in the men’s steeplechase but it was a far closer race.
There was a fast opening kilometre of 2:40.27 from
USA’s Haron Lagat and then compatriot and London bronze medallist Evan Jager went ahead in 2000m in 5:24.45 and there were five disputing the win at this stage.
The American pushed on further on the penultimate lap and it was down to the first three from London at the bell. It was silver medallist Soufiane El Bakkali who kicked past on the last lap and he appeared to have a winning lead at the final barrier. However, Conseslus Kipruto changed pace dramatically in the last 40 metres and pipped the Moroccan to win in 8:04.73 from his rival’s 8:04.83.
Jager, trying to hurdle the final water jump, fell heavily and did well to recover and finish third in 8:11.71, just ahead of his American team-mate Stanley Kebenei.
The women’s 1500m also saw a cracking race decided in the straight, and another London champion come out on top.
Jenny Meadows led a fast first lap in 61.80 but the pace dropped at 800m to 2:07.39.
Sifan Hassan took over and made a long run for home, passing 1200m in 3:11.64.
The world-leading Dutch athlete, who imploded in the finishing straight at London and finished fifth, tried everything on the last lap but world and Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon kicked past just before the finish to win in 3:57.04 from Hassan’s
Laura Weightman was in a battle for third but ended up seventh in a season’s best 4:00.71, close to her PB of 4:00.17, finishing just 0.01 behind world silver medallist Jenny Simpson.
The men’s 800m saw Bran Som lead the pack through in 49.61 and then Nijel Amos, so disappointing in London, kicked past 600m to lead in 77.09.
The Botswanan, who has been the top runner on the Diamond league circuit all year, looked vulnerable in the straight and his last 200m was a sluggish 27.44 but he held on to win in 1:44.53.
A surprise runner-up was Marcel Lewandowski, whose late kick pipped his Polish team-mate Adam Kszczot with 1:44.77 to 1:44.84.
Britain’s Elliot Giles struggled with the pace and was seventh in 1:47.03.
The men’s 200m was a close race and won with a strong finish from USA’s exciting prospect Noah Lyles in 20.00. Close behind was Ameer
Webb on 20.01 and London champion Ramil Guliyev, who lost his unbeaten record at the distance as he ran 20.02.
Zharnel Hughes won the battle of the Brits in sixth in 20.27 with Nethaneel MitchellBlake seventh in 20.33.
The 2015 world champion Sergey Shubenkov carried on his good late season form, winning the 110m hurdles in 13.14. Orlando Ortega was second in 13.17 with world record-holder Aries Merritt, who led early on, third in 13.20.
Shubenkov said: “At last I managed to win in 2017. I was bored of being second like in
Birmingham, Stockholm and the World Championships.
“Now I’ve got my first overall Diamond League title – maybe thanks to the system of one allor-nothing race in the final. But it worked for me, so I’m very happy!,” the Russian continued.
The women’s 400m hurdles was a competitive race which world leader and Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad narrowly won in 53.89 from former double world champion Zuzana Hejnova’s 53.93.
Eilidh Doyle had a much better run than she had in the World Championships and she was fourth in 55.04.
World leader and world and Olympic champion Sandra Perkovic was a clear winner of the discus in 68.82m.
Dani Stevens repeated her London position with a 65.85m in second.
The women’s high jump though was no competition at all as world champion Mariya Lasitskene was a class apart. She cleared 2.02m and a distant second was Yuliya Levchenko with 1.94m.
Third went at a mere 1.88m, with Michaela Hruba taking that place. Belgium’s world and Olympic heptathlon champion Nafissatou Thiam was also over that height in fourth.
Another dominating athlete this season has been Katerina Stefanidi and she won the pole vault with a 4.85m clearance. Sandi Morris was second with a 4.75m leap, a height matched by Alysha Newman in equalling her Canadian record in third. Holly Bradshaw was sixth with a 4.55m vault.
Another successful world champion was Andrius
Gudzius, who won the men’s discus easily with a 68.16m throw, while Christian Taylor was also in dominant mood in the triple jump with a 17.49m leap. As in London, Will Claye was second again in 17.35m. It was Taylor’s fifth Diamond Trophy.
There were three nonDiamond League track races.
Former world champion Yohan Blake was a clear winner of a less than full strength men’s 100m in 10.02. Michael Rogers was second in 10.09. James Dasaolu was sixth in 10.24 and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey was seventh in 10.27.
World champion Elijah Manangoi won a slow and disappointing 1500m in
The men’s 400m was built around the three Borlee brothers but they could only finish fourth to sixth. The clear winner was Luquelin Santos in 45.67, with Rabah Yousif finishing well for second in
46.10 and double European champion Martyn Rooney third in 46.29.
Noah Lyles (far left): missed the London 2017 World Championships but showed his ability with 200m win in Brussels
Eilish McColgan: rose to No.4 on UK all-time list with Scottish 5000m record
Shaunae Miller-Uibo and Salwa Eid Naser both smashed the 50-second barrier for 400 metres in Brussels
SHAUNAE MILLER-UIBO WINS 400m IN WORLD LEAD WHILE EILISH McCOLGAN ENJOYS 5000m BREAKTHROUGH
Ivana Spanovic: won with lastround effort
Andrius Gudzius: Lithuanian took discus win