Sollentuna, SwedenOn a picture perfect Scandinavian summer evening with a deepblue sky, 25-26 degrees Celsius and negligible winds it was the middle distance runners that seemed to appreciate the optimal conditions the most at the Sollentuna Grand Prix held on Tuesday (28) at Kajsa Bergqvist's home track in the northwestern Stockholm suburbs.
Abubaker Kaki, who for the fourth straight year has his summer base in Sollentuna, paid back for the hospitality he has experienced by delivering a display of world class 800m running. Compatriot Abdallah Abdelgadir provided the pacing for the first lap and after reaching the bell in 50.25 Kaki powered on his own on the second lap towards 1:44.39. He was 0.93 off Rudisha's recent world season leading time and won the race by over two seconds ahead of Great Britain's Mukhtar Mohammed who lowered his PB to 1:46.58.
Further behind the crowd of about 2500 (despite Sweden playing women's World Cup soccer the same afternoon) was treated to an exciting 4-way battle for the national top spot. A battle won by Mattias Claesson who still in the process almost lost his national junior record to the 2009 surprise World Youth champion Johan Rogestedt who improved his PB by about a second to 1:47.18.
There was world class running also in the women's 1500m where Russians Yekaterina Martynova and Olesya Syreva och Ukrainan Anzhela Shevchenko followed the pacesetters and then pushed on together. This until former World Youth medallist Martynova broke away on the final lap to improve her PB to 4:04.64 in the process moving up to position No 11 on the current 2011 world list!
In the men's 1500m it was Australia's man of the future Ryan Gregson that took responsibility for the pace when the pacesetters had completed their task in 58 – 1:57. A third lap at sub-58 was however not sufficient to shake off all opponents and at the line he was nipped by Kenya's Ismail Kombich: 3:36.61 to 3:36.64. In 4th Dmitrijs Jurkevics improved the Latvian NR to 3:37.35.
Of the one-lap races the men's hurdles was the most competitive with Ukraine's Stanislav Melnykov going out the fastest only to be collared in the closing stages by the more evenly paced effort of Welshman Rhys Williams: 49.59 vs 49.78. So they finished in the same order as when they got the lesser medals behind David Greene in the 2010 European Championships.
On the home straight the spectators were treated to two very impressive displays of fast running by Andy Turner and Ramil Guliyev. The Briton blitzed through the 110m Hurdles winning by almost three meters in 13.34 into a slight headwind. Turner was just 0.07 off his PB and looking at his ever increasing number of races around 13.30 it seems almost inevitable that a breakthrough into the sub-13.20 is imminent.
While Turner also has the World championships to strive for this summer Guliyev – after transferring his allegiance from Azerbaijan to Turkey – will have to sit out the international championships for a couple of years. Judging from his race today he could still be well on his way to reclaim his junior position as more or less on par with a certain Christoph Lemaitre.
Because after a rather slow start and early part of the race Guliyev didn't hit the front until perhaps 70 metres – and still won by a couple of metres in 10.19 – his 4th fastest ever. And he is probably even better in the 200m.
In advance most of the media attention for the meet was centered around the Long Jump competitions featuring home favourites Michel Tornéus and Carolina Klüft fresh from impressive jumping one and a half week ago in the European Team Championships in Stockholm. However, both of them looked somewhat flat this evening and although they both finished second the distances achieved were disappointing: 7.84 and 6.38.
Morten Jensen (Denmark) and Anastasiya Mironchik (Belarus) were thus both decisive winners with their 7.99 and 6.72 respectively. Mironchik had another couple of long efforts that were nullified by fouling at the board.
In the vertical jumps Dmytro Demyanyuk and Silke Spiegelburg didn't face any really challenging opposition. Their winning heights of 2.27m and 4.50m illustrated this situation. But it should be said that Spiegelburg was quite close in two of her attempts at 4.70.
Of the throwing events the men's Discus Throw had the strongest field headed by reigning Olympic Champion Gerd Kanter. In the still wind conditions Kanter had to be content with consistent 63/64 metre throwing topped by 64.44. He still had the four longest throws and won by one and half meter ahead of Estonian compatriot Märt Israel (62.95) with Sweden's Niklas Arrhenius third in 62.01.
The meet also featured a special women's triathlon consisting of the Long Jump, the Shot Put and the 200m. The first event was won by Berlin medallist Jennifer Oeser of Germany in 6.37, the second by Sweden's Jessica Samuelsson in 14.96 (PB) but the overall win was clinched by Poland's Karolina Tyminska thanks to a convincing win in the third. With her 23.70 she left Oeser and Samuelsson more than half a second behind.
Lennart Julin for the IAAF