European champion leads a 1500m Diamond League clean sweep while training partner also produces an emphatic win in the 800m
British female athletes dominated the middle distance events at Sunday’s BAUHAUS-Galan Diamond League meeting in Stockholm, with training partners Laura Muir and Jemma Reekie producing standout performances in the Olympic Stadium over 1500m and 800m respectively.
After breaking Kelly Holmes’ British record for 1000m with a run of 2:30.82 in Monaco just a few days earlier, Muir proved to be in imperious form in what was her first 1500m outing this year. The Scot front ran her way to victory and looked in control throughout, clocking just inside 60 seconds for the closing 400m to come home in a world-leading time of 3:57.86.
Her fellow in-form Briton Laura Weightman, who went to second on the UK all-time lists with her 5000m performance in Monaco, was an impressive second in 4:01.62, while Melissa Courtney-Bryant completed a clean sweep of the top three places with her personal best of 4:00.17. Eilish McColgan was eighth in 4:03.74, while Kenya’s world 5000m champion Hellen Obiri slipped back to 11th in 4:10.53, one place ahead of Ireland’s Ciara Magean (4:10.99).
Not to be outdone, double European under-23 champion Reekie, who had enjoyed 1500m victory in midweek at the World Athletics Continental Tour Bronze event in Poland, further underlined her explosive finishing speed when she took on the two-lap distance shortly afterwards in Stockholm.
Reekie is looking increasingly at home on the big stage and convincingly won her tussle with American world silver medallist Raevyn Rogers, pulling away on the final bend with what is now her trademark kick to win in 1:59.68. Rogers produced a season’s best 2:01.02 Norway’s Hedda Hynne clocking 2:01.44 for third. Britain’s Alex Bell was fifth with 2:02.25.
“I like to run fast,” said Reekie, who had spent the lockdown period in Glasgow with Muir and is also coached by Andy Young. “My coach said if you have a kick at the end, kick, and I felt good so I did.
“We’re really fortunate that we (Laura Muir) train together and we’re world class athletes and we complement each other in different ways. I’m bringing her on in speed and she’s bringing me on in endurance and we’re both working so hard together. I’ve run 1:57 indoors so I was hoping to run a bit quicker but this year is about getting experience before next year and learning to win.
“It’s been hard without physios and camps but you have to look at the bigger picture – athletics might be our whole world but there are other things going on in the world as well.”
There was also a strong British presence in the women’s 400m, albeit the race was won by American Wadeline Jonathas. The world 4x400m gold medallist came home in 51.94 as Laviai Nielsen, third at the midweek World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting in Hungary, finished second with a season’s best 52.16 and Dutchwoman Lieke Klaver came third in 52.35. British indoor champion Jessie Knight produced a personal best of 52.42 for fourth place.
Swiss sprinter Ajla Del Ponte is in a rich vein of form and made it three 100m wins in 10 days when she added Stockholm victory to having finished first in Monaco and Bydgoszcz.
She hit the line in a time of 11.20 (+1.3), the Netherlands’ Marije van Hunenstijn second in 11.28 and 2019 world bronze medallist Marie-Josée Ta Lou third with a season’s best 11.32.
World heptathlon champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson, who also competed in the long jump, was in sprints action over the 100m hurdles. The Briton made contact with the final two barriers as she clocked 13.94 (+1.4) to finish sixth in a race won by Italy’s Luminoso Bogliolo in 12.88. Finland’s Lotta Havala equalled her PB in second with 13.07, while there was a Danish record of 13.13 for third-placed Mette Graversgaard.
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