Olympic 100m and 200m bronze medallist Walter Dix highlighted the 25th anniversary of the Spitzenleichtathletikmeeting in the Allmend Stadion in Luzern on Thursday (21), clocking 20.02 to win the 200m.
It was a new meeting record, breaking the previous 20.18 set last year by his compatriot Wallace Spearmon. For Dix it was the second consecutive outstanding performance in this meeting after last year’s 9.88 in where he was beaten by Jamaican Nesta Carter (9.86) in the 100m.
“The track is very fast,” said Dix, who’s next race will be the London 200m. “It was not very cold for me as I kept myself warm before the race. The crowd was magnificent.”
The meetings other big star was Norwegian Olympic, World and European champion Andreas Thorkildsen. The Javelin super-star took an easy win with 84.12m. He would have won with the second best attempt where he speared to 83.17 m. Fresh European Under 23 silver medallist Faith Avan threw 82.54 m to take second place.
“I would have liked to throw further but the technique was shaky today,” said Thorkildsen. “I enjoyed the lovely atmosphere of this meeting. After the injury I felt that I needed one more competition before Birmingham and Stockholm. Scoring as many points for the Diamond Race is my big goal together with the world title defence in Daegu. I am happy to come to Lucerne. It’s like a postcard city with lake and mountains.”
US 400m Hurdles world silver medallist Lashinda Demus was also in the spotlight with a solid 54.18 win. European U23 champion Hanna Yaroshchuk finished a distant second in 55.46. Demus was crowned with the Diamond Jackpot prize for the best performance of the meeting.
Urech excites packed house
Swiss 100m Hurdles star Lisa Urech thrilled the very supportive Swiss crowd with an impressive performance winning over a strong opposition in 12.94 into a headwind of -0.8 m/s. Urech was the big favourite at last week’s European U23 championships after her national record set in Chaux de Fonds where she clocked a jaw-dropping 12.62, which is currently ranked fifth in the world this year, but she had to settle with second place in the Czech city. In Luzern the young hurdler from Langnau bounced back successfully beating Kristi Castlin of the U.S. This outdoor season Urech performed very well in the Diamond League clocking 12.84 in Rome and a wind-assisted 12.72 in Lausanne.
“It is always special to win front of my home crowd,” Urech said. “The most important thing was to win. The time was not so important.”
In the men’s 110m Hurdles, Jamaican record holder Dwight Thomas edged out American Tyrone Akins to take a very narrow win in 13.29 by just 0.01.
Kellie Ann Baptiste from Trinidad followed up her recent Diamond League win in Paris over Veronica Campbell Brown, where she clocked 10.91, with another impressive victory this time in 11.10. Alexandria Anderson of the U.S. finished second in 11.22.
Jamaican sprint shooting star Nickel Ashmeade, the second fastest in the world this year in the 200m with 19.95, clocked a winning 10.24 edging U.S. sprinters Trell Kimmons (10.27) and Travis Padgett (10.28).
Isinbayeva withdraws with minor injury
Twice Olympic Pole Vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva pulled out of the meeting due to a minor injury.
“I picked an injury during the warm-up and I cannot vault,” Isinbayeva said. The Russian vaulted 4.60m last weekend in Heusden-Zolder but no-heighted in Lignano Sabbiadoro on Tuesday.
However, the Swiss crowd had plenty to cheer about as local favourites Anna Katharina Schmidt and Nichole Buchler provided a solid competition in which they both cleared 4.40m but lost on countback to American Mary Saxer who took the win, as she vaulted 4.30m and 4.40m at the first attempt.
Miles Smith, the son of former 100m World record holder Calvin Smith, took the 400m in 45.19. Rabah Yousif from Sudan finished a distant second in 45.63 ahead of Virgin Islands’ Tabarie Henry (45.87).
Alice Schmidt of the U.S. dipped under two minutes to take the women’s 800m in 1:59.74 ahead of her compatriot Maggie Vessey (2:00.61) and Romania’s Natalie Lupu (2:00.96).
In the women’s 3000m steeplechase Barbara Parker from Great Britain overtook Almaz Ayana in the final straight to set a new PB of 9:35 after the Ethiopian led for most of the race but faded dramatically in the last lap. Ayana clocked 9:36.48.
Juan Luis Barrios won the 3000m at a canter in 7:42.82 setting a new meeting record.
In the Long Jump, five men leapt beyond the eight-metres barrier. Moroccan Yahya Berrabah took the lead in the second attempt with 8.18m and was never in danger. The only man who came close to Berrabah was Briton Greg Rutherford who leapt 8.09m in the last attempt. Tyrone Smith finished third with 8.06m.
The Spitzenleichtathletik meeting returned to Luzern after being staged in Notwil last year. This year’s edition was marked by the inauguration of a brand new main tribune with 2000 seats. A large crowd packed the Allmend Stadium creating a enjoyable atmosphere.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF