India’s 2010 Asian Games gold medalist Sudha Singh finished 8th in women’s 3000m steeplechase in Shanghai Diamond League Meeting on Saturday. It wasn’t a great performance from world standards but her time of 9:26.55 was enough for her to break the national record, hitherto held by Lalita Shivaji Babar. In the night lit up by exemplary performances from world’s top athletes in many events, Chinese jumpers made a buzz though Gao Xinglong was the only one to strike gold in men’s long jump. Justin Gatlin won the 100m sprint ahead of Qatar’s Femi Ogunode and Compatriot Michael Rodgers, Ivory Coast’s Murielle Ahoure took the honors in women’s 200m, Sandra Perkovic created a world-lead and meeting record in women’s discus and in men’s pole vault, USA’s Sam Kendricks caused a major upset by defeating France’s Olympic champion and world record holder Renaud Lavillenie.
Indians do not figure among the world’s top-level track-and-field athletes but Sudha Singh’s finish in women’s 3000m steeplechase still merits recognition since she has been constantly improving. Sudha was way behind the top-finisher Kenyan Hyvin Kiyeng, who clocked 9:07.42 for a new meet record and a world-lead time. Bahrain’s Ruth Jebet was second with 9:15.98 while Ethiopian Sofia Assefa third with 9:21.07. While Sudha broke Babar’s previous Indian record, Babar herself finished 13th at Shanghai.
China’s Gao Xinglong won men’s long jump with a leap of 8.14m from South African Samaai Rushwal, who also jumped 8.14 but Gao’s second best effort of 8.09 was 2 cms better than Rushwal. Australia’s Fabrice Lapierre was third with 8.09m. China also claimed the second and third spots in men’s high jump behind 2.28m clearance by Ukraine’s Bohdan Bondarenko, who returned to the field after a long injury lay-off. Though men’s high jump was not a Diamond Race, the crowd still derived pleasure from seeing the two Chinese Zhang Guowei and Wang Yu taking second and third places.
USA’s Justin Gatlin won men’s 100m sprint with the first sub-10 time of the year. His 9.94s was better than the second placed Qatari Femi Ogunode, who clocked 10.07. Gatlin’s compatriot Michael Rodgers was third in 10.10. Men’s 800m event was dominated by Kenyans; Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich, Robert Biwott and Alfred Kipketer, who took the first three spots with times of 1:45.68, 1:45.84 and 1:45.93 respectively. Kenya’s World and Olympic champion David Rudisha finished a poor fifth in 1:46.24. In men’s 110m hurdles, the first two places were claimed by Jamaicans Omar McLeod(12.98) and Hansle Parchment (13.12), while China’s Wenjun Xie finished third in 13.34. USA’s Olympic champion Aries Merritt blew up his chances with a false start. Men’s 400m hurdles was won by USA’s Michael Tinsley in 48.90s ahead of Poland’s Patryk Dobek, who clocked 49.01. Bahrain’s Jeffery Gibson was third in 49.11. In women’s 400m, Bahamas’ Shaunae Miller clocked 50.45 to finish first; Jamaica’s Stephenie Ann McPherson was second in 50.98 and USA’s Natasha Hastings, third in 51.10. In women’s 200m sprint, Ivory Coast’s Murielle Ahoure clocked 22.72 to win from double Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica, who ran in 22.82. Campbell-Brown is targeting the Olympic hat-trick at Rio after winning gold medals in Beijing’s 2008 and London’s 2012 Olympic Games.
USA’s Sam Kendricks created waves with the highest vault of his life at 5.88m and defeated world record holder Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie (5.83) and Canada’s world champion Shawn Barber (5.70). USA’s Kurt Roberts was the surprise shot put winner with a throw of 21.40m while USA’s event favorite Joe Kovacs could only manage 20.82 for the third place. The second place at 21.20 went to New Zealand’s Tom Walsh, who was recently crowned as world indoor champion.
Croatia’s Olympic champion Sandra Perkovic began her DL campaign with a world-lead effort of 70.88m, Australia’s Dani Samuels finished second in 67.77 and Cuba’s Denia Caballero third in 66.14. In another world-lead result at Shanghai, Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon won women’s 1500m in 3:56.82 ahead of compatriot Hellen Obiri, who clocked 3:59.34. Ethiopia’s Dawit Seyaum finished third in 3:59.87. In women’s high jump, St. Lucia’s Levern Spencer cleared 1.94 meters to edge out Uzbekistan’s Nadezhda Dusanova, who also cleared 1.94 but with more attempts. Croatia’s Ana Simic was third in 1.92. Women’s long jump was won by Serbia’s Ivana Spanovic with a leap of 6.95m ahead of 2015 DL winner Tianna Bartoletta, who finished third in 6.75. The second place went to Canadian Christabel Nettey, who also made it 6.75 with lesser attempts.
Ethiopia’s Muktar Edris was a surprise DL winner in men’s 5000m, clocking12:59.96 ahead of second-placed Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei’s time of 13:00.60. Kenya’s Thomas Longosiwa was third in 13:01.59. In men’s javelin, Germany’s Thomas Rohler threw his spear 85.71m to win. Czech Republic’s Jakub Vadlejch and Vitezslav Vesely took the second and third places with 84.77 and 83.81 respectively.
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