The two-day Sainsbury Anniversary Games, of which the London Diamond League was a part, were held in Olympic Stadium during July 24-25, 2015. All talk on Friday was about Usain Bolt returning to the track and Mo Farah dominating the field in 3000m. Besides these two big names, Friday’s events saw sparkles by Britain’s Zharnel Hughes in 200m; Italian Marco Fassinotti in High Jump causing a disappointment to Mutaz Barshim; Natasha Hastings in women’s 400m and Jasmin Stowers in women’s 100m hurdles. On Saturday, there was a hard-fought battle in men’s 3000m steeplechase between Conseslus Kiopruto and Jairus Birech; a dominant run by Eunice Sum in women’s 800m; a lively contest between David Rudisha and Nijel Amos in men’s 800m; a 6-meter-plus leap by Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie; another shot-put loss for New Zealand’s Valerie Adams and South African Wayde van Niekerk’s great performance in men’s 400m. But Saturday was most remarkable for Asbel Kiprop’s strangest victory in Emsley Carr Mile. Regardless, London DL could not match the terrific actions of last week’s Monaco DL, which was arguably the greatest single-day track meet in recent history.
Since New York’s Adidas Grand Prix of June 13, 2015, Bolt was competing in London for the first time. After New York, he went to Germany for the treatment of the pelvic injury, which didn’t allow him to attend Jamaican Championships and DL meets at Paris and Lausanne. But on Friday, Bolt produced his best show of 2015 to romp home in 9.87s. In the heats too an hour earlier, Bolt led the field with the same time of 9.87. Rain and headwind accounted for bad racing conditions but Bolt still managed to run into the wind and came up with his best effort since he won the final race in 9.80 at Brussels in 2013. He had a slow start into a 1.2 m/s headwind and yet again with 10 meters left, he slowed down. Under such circumstances, the final time of 9.87 should be considered impressive. USA’s Mike Rodgers at 9.90 was second. At the end of the 11th DL meeting, Justin Gatlin retains the world-lead time of 9.74 clocked at Doha.
In 3000m, it was Britain’s Mo Farah all the way. At 2000m in 5:07.74 minutes, Farah took the lead over Australia’s Collis Birmingham, who remained with him at the bell. With 400m left, Farah broke away at blistering speed to destroy everyone and ended in a world-lead time of 7:34.66. El Goumri of Morocco was second in 7:36.71. Last week in Monaco, Mo Farah ran 1500m in 3:28.93 but still finished fourth, more than three seconds slower to Kenya’s Asbel Kiprop. But Farah specializes in 5,000/10,000m and knows how to run such race.
Usain Bolt and Mo Farah might have stolen the limelight on Friday but Jamaica-based Briton Zharnel Hughes, who trains with Bolt, came up with a scintillating performance in men’s 200m by crushing the field at London. In spite of a terrible weather, Hughes romped home in the personal best time of 20.05s to jump to the top in this category.
Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim lost once again in men’s high jump, where Italian Marco Fassinotti won by leaping 2.31m. Barshim couldn’t progress beyond 2.28 to finish third. In Friday’s other notable results; Women’s 400m race was won by USA’s Natasha Hastings in 50.24 with her compatriot Francena McCorory taking the second place; women’s 100m hurdles had a 1-2-3 for Americans; Jasmin Stowers (12.47); Dawn Harper-Nelson (12.64) and Brianna Rollins (12.65).
On Saturday, an intriguing battle ensued in men’s 3000m steeplechase between Kenya’s Conseslus Kipruto and Jairus Birech with Kipruto edging out Birech in 8:09.47. In women’s 800m, Kenyan Eunice Sum beat Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan in 1:58.44. In men’s 800m; there was a tooth-and-nail fight between Botswana’s Nijel Amos and Kenya’s David Rudisha before Amos emerged the winner in 1:44.57. Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie rose 6.03 meters to take men’s Pole-vault and continued his fine performance. New Zealand’s Valerie Adams lost once again in women’s shot put and South African Wayde van Niekerk ran a great 400m men’s race to win 44.63s. Men’s 400m hurdles was won by USA’s Michael Tinsley and another American Marquis Dendy leapt 8.38m to win men’s long jump. Women’s 100m was won by Netherlands’ Dafne Schippers in 10.92 ahead of Nigerian Blessings Okagbare while the non-DL 200m was taken by Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson ahead of USA’s Tori Bowers. Kenya’s Mercy Cherono won women’s 5000m in 14:54.81 with USA’s Molly Huddle finishing second. With a leap of 4.79m, Nikoleta Kyriakopoulou of Greece won women’s pole vault with Russia’s Anzhelika Sidorova finishing second. Czech Republic’s world champion Barbora Spotakova lost narrowly in women’s javelin to Latvia’s Madara Palameika, who sent her equipment to 65.01 meters.
Other than routine performances, London DL’s Saturday will be remembered for Asbel Kiprop’s strangest victory in the Emsley Carr Mile. For almost half the distance the Kenyan led the pack and suddenly he dropped back and allowed all 15 competitors to pass him. Instead of leaving the race, Kiprop summoned the energy and continued. With 300 meters left, the Kenyan rejoined the leaders and shot ahead to leave everyone back. In a bizarre sight, Kiprop breasted the tape in 3:54.87 ahead of USA’s Matthew Centrowitz and Djiboutian Ayanleh Souleiman.
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