World pole vault record-holder among the 16 Diamond Race winners crowned in Brussels
No one other than Renaud Lavillenie has won the men’s pole vault Diamond Trophy since the Diamond League began in 2010. The Frenchman might have missed out again on world gold in Beijing but the world record-holder continued to prove his dominance in the event as he won his sixth consecutive Diamond Race when the 2015 series came to an end in Brussels on Friday.
A total of 16 Diamond Race winners were crowned at the Memorial Van Damme meeting – some had been secured ahead of the second final of the 14-event series and those athletes only needed to compete, while for others it came down to tight battles in Belgium.
Lavillenie’s victory wasn’t certain as he was only three points ahead of Greece’s world indoor champion Konstantinos Filippidis going into the event. But as the only athlete to clear 5.90m, he also managed 5.95m on his second attempt to beat Canada’s newly-crowned world champion Shawn Barber with 5.85m and Filippidis with 5.80m.
Ghribi and Kipyegon clock quick times
The women’s 3000m steeplechase and mile saw some of the quickest times in the history of the events as Tunisia’s Olympic and world silver medallist Habiba Ghribi went to second on the world all-time list for the longer event before Faith Kipyegon, who claimed 1500m silver in Beijing, went to fourth on the mile all-time list.
Having built up a 10 metre lead at the bell, Ghribi had extended that gap to around 30 metres as she came off the final bend. Staying strong she surged over the line in 9:05.36 – a time that only Russia’s Gulnara Galkina has ever bettered. In second was Kenya’s world champion Hyvin Jepkemoi with a 9:10.15 PB, while her compatriot Virginia Nyambura finished sixth but her consistency this season saw her win the Diamond Trophy.
While Ghribi enjoyed a clear victory in the steeplechase, the mile was much closer with Kipyegon and world 1500m champion Sifan Hassan almost level at the bell. They were still battling over the final 400m but the Kenyan had more than enough left for a final push and clocked 4:16.71 to Hassan’s 4:18.20 Dutch record – the winning time putting Commonwealth champion Kipyegon equal fourth with USA’s Mary Slaney on the world all-time list. Hassan’s time also sees her enter the top 10 and her second place finish secured her the Diamond Race win. Americans Shannon Rowbury and Jenny Simpson were next over the line, clocking 4:22.10 and a 4:22.18 PB respectively, while there were national records set by athletes finishing down in sixth and seventh – Sweden’s Abeba Aregawi with 4:23.07 and Morocco’s Rababe Arafi with 4:23.50.
The men’s 5000m saw the quickest time this year as world junior champion Yomif Kejelcha led four men under 13 minutes and won the overall title. Five athletes had been in contention at the bell and it was down to three with 200m to go. Kejelcha and his fellow Ethiopian Hagos Gebrhiwet stretched away around the final bend but it was the 18-year-old who had the stronger finish and he clocked 12:53.98 to the Beijing bronze medallist’s 12:54.70. Morocco’s Olympic and world 1500m bronze medallist Abdalaati Iguider was third in a 12:59.25 PB, ahead of Kenyans Thomas Longosiwa and Caleb Ndiku with respective times of 12:59.72 and 13:05.30.
The 100m hurdles Diamond Race also came down to this final meeting and Dawn Harper-Nelson went some way to making up for her World Championships disappointment by leading a USA cleansweep, clocking 12.63 to narrowly beat Sharika Nelvis with 12.65 and Jasmin Stowers with 12.76.
That was the final standings in the Diamond Race, too, with Harper-Nelson, who crashed out and failed to make the final in Beijing, demonstrating her delight by doing cartwheels on the track. British record-holder Tiffany Porter clocked 12.81 for fourth, one place ahead of Germany’s world silver medallist Cindy Roleder with 12.91.
The men’s 400m hurdles was won by Jeffery Gibson of Bahamas, the world bronze medallist, as he clocked 48.72 to beat USA’s Bershawn Jackson with 48.76 but the American’s runner-up spot was enough to secure him the Diamond Race. Kenya’s world champion Nicholas Bett clocked 49.90 in seventh.
Ibarguen makes it 30 wins in a row
World champion Caterine Ibarguen continued her triple jump dominance but she left it late to claim victory. Sitting third with one jump remaining, the Colombian secured the overall Diamond League title in style, jumping 14.60m on her final attempt to leapfrog Ukaraine’s world silver medallist Hanna Knyazyeva-Minenko with a best of 14.42m, also from the sixth round, and Russia’s world indoor champion Yekaterina Koneva with 14.37m. That win is Ibarguen’s 30th consecutive victory.
The men’s event has seen some brilliant battles between Cuba’s 18.08m man Pedro Pablo Pichardo and USA’s world and Olympic champion Christian Taylor, who leapt 18.21m to take the title in Beijing, this year. Their rivalry continued in Brussels but while Pichardo retired in the fourth round, Taylor went on to leap his best of 17.59m in the fifth to claim his fourth overall Diamond League victory.
Croatia’s Sandra Perkovic was among those to have already secured a Diamond Trophy ahead of the final and only needed to compete in Brussels to claim the discus title. With 67.50m from her third throw the world silver medallist in Beijing turned the tables and won the competition from Cuba’s world champion Denia Caballero with 65.77m. There was more of a battle in the men’s shot put as Joe Kovacs and David Storl went into the competition level on points. New Zealand’s world indoor bronze medallist Tom Walsh threw 21.39m for victory by just two centimetres as Jamaica’s O’Dayne Richards, the bronze medallist in Beijing, also finished ahead of the pair with 21.37m. With 21.35m, USA’s world champion Kovacs finished third and again saw off Germany’s Storl, silver medallist in China, who threw 21.09m for fourth – the American therefore taking the overall title.
The men’s javelin title was secured by Finland’s Tero Pitkamaki, who now has a full set of world medals after his bronze in Beijing. He threw 87.37m to beat Germany’s Thomas Rohler with 86.56m, while high jump victory went to Russia’s world indoor and outdoor champion Mariya Kuchina in Brussels as she equalled her PB of 2.01m, but Spain’s Ruth Beitia cleared 1.93m and won the Diamond Race. Britain’s Isobel Pooley finished joint fourth with 1.90m.
Storming Schippers beats Felix
Another highly-anticipated head-to-head had been that between Dafne Schippers and Allyson Felix – world champions over 200m and 400m respectively – in the half-lap event. Felix, the Olympic champion over the shorter distance, had a slight lead coming off the bend but Schippers, who became the third fastest 200m runner in history in Beijing, overpowered her in the home straight and crossed the line in 22.12 to the American’s 22.22, though Felix took the overall title by two points ahead of her Dutch rival. Jamaica’s world silver medallist Elaine Thompson finished third in 22.26 as Britain’s Jodie Williams was seventh in 23.34.
The 400m was won by Shaunae Miller. As Francena McCorory began to tire, the Bahamian world silver medallist came through to pip the American into the runner up spot – 50.48 to 50.59. However, with a more consistent series it was McCorory who won the Diamond Race ahead of Miller.
USA’s Justin Gatlin wrapped up the 100m Diamond Race with a narrow win in 9.98 – the same time as that clocked by runner-up Femi Ogunode of Qatar. France’s Jimmy Vicaut ran 9.99 in third, while Britain’s Chijindu Ujah was eighth with 10.19. A short while later, Ogunode returned to the track to run the non-Diamond League 200m, an event in which Gatlin had also been entered but withdrew from, and ran a 19.97 Asian record for victory.
A ‘blade runners’ 100m gave Britain’s Paralympic champion Jonnie Peacock another opportunity to go up against his American rival Richard Browne but the US sprinter was disqualified for a false start. Peacock went on to cruise to victory in 10.99, beating Germany’s Felix Streng with 11.08, and the trio will meet again at Saturday’s Great North CityGames.
Nijel Amos retained his 800m Diamond Race title but he didn’t enjoy victory on the night as Poland’s world silver medallist Adam Kszczot ran another well-judged race, making Olympic silver medallist Amos go the long way around in the closing stages. Kszczot crossed the line in 1:45.12 to Amos’ 1:45.25, as Amel Tuka of Bosnia and Herzegovina repeated his position from Beijing with 1:45.45 for third.
The 1500m might have been a non-Diamond League event but it still came down to an exciting finish as Australia’s Ryan Gregson couldn’t respond to a final surge by Morhad Amdouni and the Frenchman got victory – 3:36.92 to 3:37.14. Britain’s Tom Lancashire was the best of the Brits, running his quickest time this season of 3:38.02 for fourth, while Chris O’Hare ran 3:43.97 in 10th, one place ahead of Dale Clutterback, racing in his Newham & Essex Beagles vest, who clocked 3:44.02.
» Full results can be found here