After some outstanding men’s javelin throwing in the same stadium barely two weeks ago, there was another fine display in the IAAF Diamond League final. But instead of it being European champion Antti Ruuskanen who took the honours, it was Germany’s Thomas Rohler's turn to shine instead on Thursday (28).
Rohler, who won in Glasgow last month with what was then a personal best of 86.99m to suggest that he might be a contender for a continental medal, was to finish a disappointed 12th on his last visit to the Letzigrund Stadium, but he made up for that performance by winning at the famous Weltklasse meeting with a personal best of 87.63m to take the Diamond Race and the $40,000 first prize.
The full Diamond Race standing for each event can be seen here.
The 22-year-old from Jena unleashed his big throw in the first round and despite good conditions for the javelin, his nearest rival was almost two metres in arrears.
Second place went to Trinidad and Tobago’s Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott, who is even younger than Rohler at 21, who set a national record of 85.77m when throwing immediately before Rohler in the first round. Tero Pitkämäki, bronze medallist at the European Championships, was third again, 85.12m.
Ruuskanen this time was down in sixth with 83.85m while Egypt’s 2014 world leader Ihab Abdelrahman was one place and 23cm further back in sixth and as neither men took any points, it eliminated them from Diamond Race contention.
By contrast, the men’s triple jump was not decided until the last round with Olympic champion Christian Taylor bounding out to a season’s best of 17.51m to go from third to first.
Taylor had a nail-biting minute or two as he watched his friend and former training partner Will Claye improve from 17.24m to 17.39m with the next jump, before France’s Benjamin Compaore was unable to improve on his second round 17.45m which had held the lead until Taylor’s final big effort.
Finally, the affable Taylor was able to celebrate completing his mission, which he’d publicly stated at the start of the season, of capturing the Diamond Race.
On the track, the top men’s track even was arguably the men’s 800m.
Amos the boss
Kenyan pacemaker Sammy Tangui took the field through the first lap in 49.69 with Pierre-Ambroise Bosse three metres back.
The Frenchman then took over in pole position for the next 250 metres, passing 600m in 1:17.34, before the phalanx of African runners closed around him as the field entered the home straight.
With 60 metres to go, Botswana’s 2014 world leader Nijel Amos burst to the front and he stayed there all the way to the line, which he crossed in 1:43.77, and it was enough to clinch the Diamond Race.
Behind him, Djibouti’s world indoor 1500m champion Ayanleh Souleiman was second in 1:43.93 while Kenya’s Olympic champion David Rudisha was third in 1:43.96.
There was another immensely entertaining race in the men’s 5000m even if it was like the 800m, slightly slower than anticipated on the basis of the expected pace.
Kenya’s Caleb Ndiku took the lead just ahead of the bell and then went through the gears. He held off all his opponents to win in 13:07.01, but it was a close-run thing.
He was chased home by Ethiopia’s Muktar Edris, who set a world-leading time in Stockholm last week, but didn’t quite have an answer to Ndiku’s sustained acceleration and was just 0.31 behind the winner.
USA’s Galen Rupp again was caught just slightly short of speed on the last lap and was third in 13:07.82 as less than three seconds the first six men home.
Unfortunately for Ethiopia’s Yenew Alamirew, the Diamond Race leader ahead of Zurich by seven points, he wasn’t one of them.
Reportedly slightly ill, he trailed home 12th and the Diamond Race went to Ndiku.
Jamaica’s Kemar Bailey-Cole was a convincing winner of the non-Diamond League men’s 100m in a season’s best of 9.96, with USA’s Michael Rodgers second in 10.05
Phil Minshull for the IAAF