Yohan Blake’s remarkable late summer momentum continued in Berlin today, where his 9.82 victory in the 100m highlighted the 90th anniversary celebration of the ISTAF, one of the world’s oldest track meets.
Blake’s blistering run was one of four meet records to fall in this IAAF World Challenge meeting’s 70th edition before a vociferous crowd 51,812 that turned out on an ideal late summer afternoon in the German capital’s historic 1936 Olympic Stadium.
Blake on a roll
‘Success breeds success’ is a mantra that certainly holds true for the 21-year-old Jamaican, who, after taking the World title in Daegu, has continued his late season run with a pair of career best 9.82 performances in the span of less than 72 hours. His victory here, on the same blue track where training partner Usain Bolt set his 9.58 World record two years ago, was even more convincing than his run in Zurich on Thursday where his strong second half surge made the difference.
Today he was already clearly ahead some 40 metres into the race before taking down the 9.86 meeting record held jointly by Maurice Greene (2000) and Asafa Powell (2006). Comparing the two runs, he said he was better in Zurich.
“I was a little lazy at the start here,” said Blake, whose run nonetheless solidified his hold on the No. 7 spot all-time. “I could have run 9.7 easy.”
Blake said his surprise triumph in Daegu has instilled additional confidence, but it’s also going to force him to work even harder to emerge with an Olympic team slot from next summer’s Jamaican trials.
“It’s just going to be crazy,” he deadpanned.
Blake has one more outing on his schedule before hanging up his spikes for the season. On Friday he’ll contest the 200m at the Samsung Diamond League final in Brussels.
Behind him, Kim Collins, the Daegu bronze medallist, clocked a 10.01 season’s best, with Trinidad & Tobago’s Richard Thompson third in 10.08.
Spotakova prevails in latest Big-Three Javelin clash
The meeting opened under bright sunny early afternoon skies with the women’s Javelin Throw, where Barbora Spotakova prevailed in the latest meeting of the event’s big three.
Germany’s Christina Obergfoll, the year’s most consistent thrower, took the lead in the second round with a 64.40m toss to which Spotakova, throwing next, responded with a 67.14m effort which ultimately clinched the victory.
Russia’s World champion Maria Abakumova, who reached 63.57m in the third round, moved to within six centimetres of the German in round five with a 64.34m toss, to which Obergfoll responded with a 64.95m, to solidify her runner-up spot.
“I guess Christina and Maria were just tired, but it is always a surprise to win against them,” said Spotakova, whose 65.20m effort in round three would also have taken the win.
It was only the third time in eight meetings this season that the Czech has gotten the better of Obergfoll whose fourth place finish in Daegu was the lone off-day the 30-year-old produced this season.
“We still have to analyse what was missing during the World Championships,” Obergfoll said, “because I was in top form.”
South Africa’s World bronze medallist Sunette Viljoen struggled, but managed 61.92m to finish fourth.
Meet record for Whiting
The early afternoon portion also witnessed the first of the meet records to fall, courtesy of Ryan Whiting. The youngest of the strong U.S. shot putting corps produced his first victory on the circuit this season thanks to a 21.61m fifth round heave.
The 24-year-old, who was seventh in Daegu, took down Ralf Riechenbach’s 21.51m meeting record that was set 31 years ago - six years before Whiting was born.
Reese Hoffa was second at 21.47m and Olympic champion Tomasz Majewski of Poland third at 21.33m. Surprise World champion David Storl never quite found his rhythm, and finished well back in fifth with a 20.64m best.
Heidler hammers 77.40m
Betty Heidler made her return visit to Olympic Stadium a memorable one. The World record holder and twice-World silver medallist was on fire from the start, opening with a 76.99 effort in the first round and following up with a 77.40m in the second, a distance only she has bettered this season.
“Slowly I’m feeling better after the disappointment in Daegu,” said Heidler, who threw 77.53m in Elstal, Germany, on Friday. “But the disappointment is still there and the silver medal still hurts.”
World champion Tatyana Lysenko, who won yesterday in Rieti, was second here with a 74.67m best, a distance she remarkably threw in both the fourth and fifth rounds. German Kathrin Klaas hit her best effort early, a 74.58m in the second round, which help up for third.
Rounding out another solid throws showing for the hosts, two-time World champion Robert Harting produced a solid series to dominate the Discus Throw. His best, a 67.22m blast, came in the first round, but even his 66.41m from the fifth would have beaten back the best Estonia’s Gerd Kanter (66.16m) and Lithuania’s ageless Virgilijus Alekna (65.08m) could manage today.
James, Kapachinskaya take 400m wins
Two other Daegu champions on the bill, Kirani James and Jesse Williams, lived up to their World triumph credentials.
In the 400m, James’s roll continued with a comfortable 45.33 victory, his fourth straight since the first week of August, and his last for 2011. “I’m done for the season,” the teenager said. “I have to go back to school.”
Costa Rican Nery Brenes was a distant second in 45.62.
Anastasiya Kapachinskaya, who won her second straight World 400m bronze in Daegu, took top honours here. Carrying a lead off the final turn, the Russian held off American rising star Francena McCorory 50.75 to 50.91.
Williams and Spiegelburg stand out in the jumps
In the High Jump, Williams produced a scorecard similar to the one that brought him the World title and the outcome was the same. Perfect at his first four heights through 2.30m, the American cleared 2.33m on his third to top Bahamian Trevor Barry, the Daegu bronze medallist, who topped out at 2.30m here. Williams took one leap at a would-be 2.38 world lead, but not particularly close, called it a day.
Silke Spiegelburg, whose ninth place showing in Daegu was a major personal disappointment, was in better spirits here after prevailing over a solid field at 4.71m.
Cuba’s rising star Yarisley Silva was second at 4.66m, ahead of Russia’s World bronze medallist Svetlana Feonfanova, who topped out at 4.56m.
Besides Lysenko, another Daegu winner to face defeat was Dwight Phillips, who had to settle for second in the Long Jump behind Alexandr Menkov. The Russia reached 8.15m in the fifth round to overtake Phillips’ 8.05m from the second, the only eight-metre jumps of the competition.
Jepkosgei, Choge and Koech impress
The three middle distance races on the programme produced some solid times as well. Daegu bronze medallist Janeth Jepkosgei put in a solid performance from the front to take the 800m in 1:58.26, while Caster Semenya passed Maggie Vessey over the final 50 metres to finish second in 1:58.74 ahead of the American’s 1:59.33. Jepkosgei will conclude her season in Brussels where she’ll contest the 1500m.
In the men’s 1500m, Augustine Choge lead off the final turn and was never threatened en route to a 3:31.14 season’s best. Moroccan Abdalaati Iguider cruised by Nixon Chepseba to take second by a narrow 0.06 in 3:31.60.
The first ISTAF meeting in 1921 ended with a 3x1000m relay; this year’s ended over the same distance with Paul Kipsiele Koech winning his fourth 3000m Steeplechase this season in eight starts. Already in front by the 2000-metre mark, Koech prevailed in 8:04.48, another meeting record. Pace setter Bernard Nganga decided to finish the race and held on for second clocking an 8:05.88 personal best.
Jehue Gordon made up – at least a little bit – for his disappointing appearance at the World championships with a resounding victory here in the 400m Hurdles. In the lead after the first 100 metres, the young Trinidadian – he won’t turn 20 until 15 December – padded his marginal lead at the midway point into an insurmountable one when he reached the homestretch before crossing the line in 48.66, a season’s best. Well back, South African Cornell Fredericks edged Germany’s Georg Fleischhauer by a scant 0.01 in 49.18 to win the battle for second.
World bronze medallist and this year’s fastest L.J. van Zyl didn’t have the best of days. Never in the hunt, he finished last in 52.78.
In the women’s 100m Hurdles, Olympic champion Dawn Harper prevailed in 12.68m, comfortably ahead of compatriots Kellie Wells (12.74) and Yvette Lewis (12.91).
Kelly-Ann Baptiste collected the third victory of the afternoon for Trinidad & Tobago with her dominant run in women’s 100m. In full command by midway, she ran away with the win in 11.15, well ahead of Jamaicans Sherone Simpson (11.24) and Kerron Stewart (11.28).
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF