Spread over two days on July 11-12, Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix was a thrilling event, where several DL leaders returned with fine performances. A rather small gathering of 10,000 die-hard athletic fans lustily cheered their heroes and other world-famous athletes. David Rudisha returned to winning ways with a dominant victory in 800m. On a memorable day, Netherlands’ Dafne Schippers broke Dutch records in 100m (non-DL) and 200m with 11.03 and 22.34s respectively. Tianna Bartoletta of USA won the long jump ahead of two British athletes, Puerto Rico’s Javier Culson repeated his Lausanne performance with a victory over America’s Michael Tinsley in 400m hurdles, Pole vaulter Fabiana Murer recorded season’s second DL win. However, the biggest DL upset was caused by American Gia Lewis-Smallwood, who ended the two-year dream run of Croatia’s world and Olympic discus champion Sandra Perkovic.
Kenya’s David Rudisha won 800m, clocking 1:43.34 to register his first win after the Gold medal race in 2012 London Olympics. Rudisha now leads in 2014 DL meetings ahead of Olympic silver medalist Nijel Amos. Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands won women’s 200m, clocking 22.34 ahead of Olympic champion Allyson Felix and Nigeria’s DL leader Blessing Okagbare. Breaking her own Dutch record of 22.35, Schippers overtook Felix in the last 20 meters. In a non-DL 100B race, she had earlier beaten America’s Tianna Bartoletta by 0.04s. But Bartoletta made up for her 100m setback with an impressive 6.97m long jump victory over GBR’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson (6.89) and Shara Proctor(6.82). Brazil’s Fabiana Murer won pole vault by topping over 4.65m, which was below her year’s best of 4.80 but the effort was enough to beat Ekaterini Stefanidi and Olympic silver medalist Yarisley Silva.
Puerto Rico’s Javier Culson followed his Lausanne victory in 400m hurdles with 48.35s to leave close DL rival Michael Tinsley on third place. Ashton Eaton was second in 48.69. In women’s classic 400m run, USA’s Francena McCoroy finished in 49.93s. Second-placed Richards-Ross clocked 50.39 and DL leader Novlene Williams-Mills third in 50.60. In women’s high jump, Croatia’s Blanka Vlasic moved ahead to the top DL spot, after leaping 1.96m. Trinidad and Tobago’s Michelle-Lee Ahye repeated her Lausanne performance with another 100m win against the best in the world. Ahye beat double Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce by 0.09.
One of the best races of the Glasgow was women’s 3000m steeplechase in which the field was studded with several talented women. Ethiopia’s Hiwot Ayalew won the race from Emma Coburn of USA, taking away 0.5 second from Sofia Assefa’s world lead in clocking 9:10.64. Coburn was second with 9:11.42, Kenya’s world champion Milcah Chemos was third in 9:21.91, Sweden’s Charlotta Fougberg fourth, Finland’s Sandra Eriksson sixth, another Ethiopian, 17-year-old Tigist Getnet seventh. USA’s Queen Harrison maintained her fine form in women’s 100m hurdles, winning in 12.58s, ahead of compatriot Lolo Jones, who was second in 12.68 and Australia’s Sally Pearson was third in 12.87.
Germany’s Thomas Rohler shocked DL leader Vitezslav Vesely in men’s javelin with a throw of 86.99m. Vesely was second in 85.23m. In men’s long jump, GBR’s 2012 Olympic champion Greg Rutherford withdrew due to a freak injury that allowed US champion Jeff Henderson to win in 8.21m. Men’s triple jump was won by Olympic champion Christian Taylor, who beat DL leader Will Claye with 17.37m to Claye’s 17.27, Taylor is still behind Claye with five DL events yet to take place. In 100m sprint, three men finished in under 10 seconds with Nickel Ashmeade winning in 9.97. Michael Rodgers was second while Nesta Carted third. DL record holder Yohan Blake fell after 70 meters and had to leave the track in a wheelchair.
In women’s 5000m, Ethiopia’s Hagos Gebrhiwet finished ahead of her DL leader compatriot Ynew Alamirew in 13:11.09. The third place went to Kenya’s Edwin Soi. In men’s shot put, Reese Hoffa of USA overtook DL leader Joe Kovacs, who finished fourth. Hoffa putted 21.67m to beat world champion David Storl of Germany with 21.38. New-Zealander Tom Walsh was third in 21.23. Scotland’s Eilidh Child gladdened the hearts of home supporters, clocking 54.39s in women’s 400m hurdles. American Tate Cassandra was second in 55.43 and Australian Lauren Wells third in 55.78. In another result, Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan beat DL record holder Abeba Aregawi of Sweden in 1500m.
Glasgow was a huge disappointment for Croatia’s world and Olympic discus champion Sandra Perkovic, who was overhauled by USA’s Gia Lewis-Smallwood. It was an unexpected upset for Perkovic after a long streak of victories in women’s discus and the loss ended her two-year dream run in DL meetings. Though the American had already beaten the Croat once last year in Zagreb, Perkovic had not lost since the Paris DL meeting in July 2012. Despite her defeat, Perkovic is still the runaway leader this year with 18 DL points.
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