There were three GB & NI winners on the second day of the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games, as the London leg of the IAAF Diamond League reached new heights thanks to numerous meeting records.
Christine Ohuruogu (coach: Lloyd Cowan) delighted the home crowd, winning the women’s 400m in a world class 50.00. The Londoner had to really dig deep in the home straight to hold off America’s Francena McCorory, and she was not only rewarded with victory, but a season’s best clocking and the Sainsbury’s performance of the day award too.
“I’m happy with the win and I ticked the box today. I put the result down to hard work and will go away and speak with my coach and see what we can work on for the World Championships,” she said.
There was a very promising run for Shana Cox (George Harrison) who also clocked a season’s best of 51.12 to finish fourth.
Double Olympic champion Mo Farah (Alberto Salazar) did what he does best, winning the men’s 3000m in 7.36.85, just four seconds short of Dave Moorcroft’s British record. The cheer that erupted from the crowd upon Farah’s introduction would surely have rivalled the noise levels on ‘Super Saturday’ twelve months ago. Farah was never more than ten metres back from the lead, and with 500m to go he hit the front, storming away from the field to take victory in a personal best time.
“It’s great to be back; it was a good race and the crowd were great,” he said. “There are so many people out here to support us, and I wanted to make them proud. It’s good to be back and win here again – I have so many nice memories of racing here. I’ m in great shape so it’s going well for Moscow.”
Chris Thompson (Mark Rowland) was the next British athlete home in 7.45.52, good for seventh, with Andy Vernon (Nic Bideau) eighth and Jonny Mellor (Dave Evans) 13th in a new personal best of 7.51.88.
Jessica Ennis-Hill (Toni Minichiello) made an emotional return to competition, exactly one year on from her Olympic Games triumph. She contested both the 100m hurdles and the long jump to test her recovery from injury, which had forced her to delay the start of her season.
The hurdles were first up, and it also featured Olympic champion Sally Pearson and GB & NI’s Tiffany Porter (Rana Reider). They took a 1-2, with Pearson clocking a season’s best of 12.65, whilst Ennis-Hill was fourth with a 13.08 clocking.
“It is really nice to be back in the stadium a year on – obviously I have really good memories from last time. It’s a bit of a different situation to last time, but it’s great to be back in front of a home crowd and in the stadium,” she said.
Meanwhile Porter added: “I had some bad aspects of the race but I’m happy to finish it and stay healthy. I’m very confident for Moscow. It’s absolutely amazing to be here; I love running here.”
Next up for Ennis-Hill was the long jump, but it was the girl tipped as the next Jess Ennis-Hill who stole the show. European Under 23 heptathlon champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson (Mike Holmes) took victory with the final jump of the competition, leaping to 6.46m, to delight the crowd just moments after Mo Farah’s victory. Ennis-Hill finished eighth with a best jump of 6.16m.
The final event of the afternoon was the men’s 4x100m relay, which pitted two GB & NI sides against the Racers Track Club, who had none other than Usain Bolt on anchor. It was Bolt’s team who took victory, with Forsythe, Bailey-Cole and Weir combining to give last night’s 100m champion a lead that he only ever looked like extending. GB & NI ‘2’ finished fifth in 38.77, however GB & NI ‘1’ failed to finish following a failed exchange between Adam Gemili (Michael Afilaka) and James Ellington (Reider).
In the men’s 110m hurdles final, Olympic champion and favourite Aries Merritt clattered a hurdle mid-race, meaning he failed to finish. That left the door wide open, and both David Oliver and William Sharman (Jerzy Maciukiewicz) seized the opportunity with both hands. Oliver took victory in 13.20, with Sharman second in a new personal best of 13.26, which sets him up nicely for the IAAF World Championships in Moscow in two weeks’ time.
The men’s pole vault went to script, with Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie taking victory, however his attempt at a world record height of 6.16m was anything but run of the mill. Lavillenie broke the French national record and the Diamond League record to win the competition with a 6.02m vault, but couldn’t quite add a world record to his list of accolades. Luke Cutts (Trevor Fox) performed well finishing fourth with a personal best clearance of 5.70m but with three failures at 5.77m, Steve Lewis (Dan Pfaff) had to settle for seventh.
The men’s 400m hurdles was a very close race, unsurprising given that four of the six fastest men in the world this year were in the field, however it was Mike Tinsley who finished strongest to take the win. He stopped the clock at 47.98, just outside his own 2013 world leading performance. GB & NI’s Rhys Williams (Adrian Thomas) was sixth, just outside his personal best with 48.97, and European U23 Championship silver medallist Sebastian Rodger (Stephen King) was eight in 49.64.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce left nothing to chance in the women’s 100m heats, clocking a world lead and meeting record of 10.77 to book her place in the final. There was also a season’s best for Carmelita Jeter in second, whilst GB & NI junior Desiree Henry clocked a personal best of 11.50 further back. The second heat was won by Blessing Okagbare who broke the African record with a 10.86 clocking.
In the final it was the African record holder Okagbare who powered out of the blocks to win the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games 100m title and lower her African record further to 10.79. American Barbara Pierre equalled her personal best of 10.85 in second, with Kelly-Ann Baptiste third in 10.93. Jeter didn’t start in the final as a precaution against a quadriceps injury.
In the women’s 200m, victory went to yet another London 2012 Olympic champion, as Alyson Felix held her form in the closing metres to hold off Shalonda Solomon. Felix stopped the clock at 22.41 into a -0.5m/s headwind, whilst back in fourth, GB & NI’s Anyika Onuora (Reider) set a personal best of 22.79. European Under 23 200m champion Jodie Williams (Stanley Madiri) was a couple of places further back thanks to her 23.06 clocking.
The Emsley Carr Mile is an event steeped in tradition, and a man who already has his name in the famous leather book deservedly signed it for a second time. Kenyan Augustine Choge, the 2011 winner, ran a great last lap to set a new personal of 3.50.81 and take the title. Diamond race leader Ayanleh Souleiman set a new national record for Djibouti in second, with Charlie Grice (John Bigg/Craig Winrow) the best placed of the Brits, clocking a personal best 3.54.61 in thirteenth.
The men’s 3000m steeplechase splintered early on with two main groups forming, and with a lap to go a Kenyan trio of Jairus Birech, Brimin Kipruto and Gilbert Kirui were well clear of the rest. The momentum was with Kipruto over the last barrier, and he squeezed through for victory in a new meeting record of 8.06.86. Moscow bound James Wilkinson (Phil Townsend) was the first British athlete home in ninth with a 8.47.21 clocking.
The women’s shot put featured Olympic champion Valerie Adams and GB & NI’s European Junior silver medallist from last weekend Sophie McKinna (Geoff Capes). As expected, Adams took the victory, wowing the crowd in the process. She threw over 20.70m four times, her best throw 20.90m in round five a world lead and new meeting record. McKinna finished ninth, just short of her personal best with a 16.81m throw.
The men’s long jump got the action underway in the field, and there was a win for Aleksandr Menkov of Russia who leaped to 8.31m. Both Chris Tomlinson (Rana Reider) and JJ Jegede (Peter Stanley) were in action, and they recorded best jumps of 7.99m and 7.92m for fifth and sixth respectively.
Germany’s Christina Obergfoll secured yet another Diamond League victory courtesy of a 65.61m throw in the women’s javelin whilst Great Britain & Northern Ireland’s Izzy Jeffs (David Parker) was eighth with a throw of 51.65m.