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Yuliya Zaripova’s world season leading performance in the women’s 3000m Steeplechase was one of three stadium records to fall at the 46th DN Galan tonight, the tenth stop of the 2012 Samsung Diamond League series.
On a night that celebrated the 100th anniversary of Stockholm’s historical venue, the Russian, one of six recently-minted Olympic champions who prevailed here as well, delivered the finest performance, a 9:05.02 run that improved her own world lead, left a strong field well in her wake, and left her one one-carat diamond richer.
Zaripova dominates from the front
Zaripova was already in the lead 1400 metres into the race, with Ethiopian Etenesh Diro Neda and Kenyan Mercy Njoroge shadowing closely. Less than four minutes into the race the trio had broken from the field, but the order wouldn’t remain that way for long. With 6:10 on the clock Zaripova broke away for good and running some 20 metres ahead.
By the bell Tunisian Habiba Ghribi, the London silver medallist, was making up significant ground, passing the Ethiopian and Kenyan and taking firm control of the runner-up spot. But as in London, there was no catching Zaripova who easily sliced more than 12 seconds from the Stadium record she set two years ago.
Ghribi reached the line in 9:10.36, the second fastest performance of her career, to finish second. Under scoring the quality of depth the next three across the line – Neda (9:14.07), Lydia Chepkirui (9:14.98) and Ancuta Bobocel (9:25.70) – all notched personal bests.
Diamonds for Perkovic and Adams
The first stadium record to fall came courtesy of Olympic Discus Throw champion Sandra Perkovic, but she had to break it twice before securing her diamond.
The Croatian reached 66.26m in the third round to break the Stadium standard of 64.76m set by Cuba’s Carmen Romero back in 1980, then watched her reign as record holder end two rounds later as Russia’s Darya Pishchalnikova snatched the lead with a 66.85m throw. Perkovic’s reply was swift and fierce. Her 68.77m effort was the second farthest of her career, behind only her 69.11m throw which gave her the Olympic title.
"When I threw 66 I thought that would be enough for victory," said Perkovic who has tallied 22 points in the event’s Diamond Race. "After that I somehow found a solution to throw 68.77."
German Nadine Muller reached 65.07m for third while Cuban Yarelis Barrios topped out at 64.29m to round out the top five.
Valerie Adams will be leaving with a diamond as well after another dominating performance in the Shot Put. Each of the two-time Olympic champion’s four measured throws – 20.05m, 20.26m, 20.06m and 20.17m - beat the previous stadium mark, Cuban Maria Elena Sarria’s 19.93m, also set in 1980.
"The goal was to win today, that’s always the goal," said Adams, who upped her Diamond Race point total to 12. She won by more than a metre over Russia’s Olympic silver medallist Yevgeniya Kolodko, whose 19.08m from the opening round was her best. German Christina Schwanitz was third with 18.72m.
Richards-Ross takes 400m showdown
Despite the physical and emotional toll the Olympic Games can take, six of the 11 London champions on the programme continued their winning momentum here. The fiercest battle came in the women’s 400m which featured the top-four finishers from the London final. And again, Sanya Richards-Ross prevailed.
Amantle Montsho, last year’s World champion who finished out of the medals in the British capital, led Richards-Ross off the final turn, keeping the American at bay. But Richards-Ross began to narrow the gap with about 60 metres to go and eventually moved ahead for the 49.89 victory.
"Coming back for a race like this after the Olympics, you can feel physically and emotional drained, but it went pretty well," said Richards-Ross, who also took a series victory in Eugene.
Montsho was second in 50.03, well ahead of London silver medallist Christine Ohuruogu who faded over the final half and clocked 50.77.
Chicherova 2 metres
Conditions cooled as darkness descended on the Swedish capital but that didn’t seem to affect Olympic High Jump champion Anna Chicherova. The Russian produced a clean card through her first-attempt winning clearance at 2.00m, beating back compatriot Svetlana Shkolina who topped out at 1.97m.
Unlike London where back pains forced her to stop jumping after she secured her victory, Chicherova continued here before bowing out with a pair of misses at 2.05m and one at 2.08m.
Tia Hellebaut, the 2008 Olympic champion, was third at 1.94m.
Taylor triumphs in low key Triple
Competitors in the Triple Jump didn't quite manage to get some post-Olympic wind in their sails, with London winner Christian Taylor faring best to extend his victory streak to four. His 17.11m leap in the third round was just one of two jumps beyond the 17-metre line, Sheryf El Sheryf's 17.04m season's best the other.
"Keeping my energy up after the Olympics has been easy as I’ve been on a high," said the American, who now leads the Diamond Race 15 to 6 over Bahamian Levan Sands.
Russian Lyukman Adams was third at 16.93m with Will Claye, the Olympic silver medallist, fourth at 16.88m.
Tinsley over Sanchez
Elsewhere London triumphs didn’t translate into Stockholm victories.
Felix Sanchez was the first Olympic champion to face defeat with Michael Tinsley reversing their London finish. Third entering the homestretch, the American was still trailing Sanchez and Jehue Gordon over the final barrier but then mustered a kick that left the rest of the field seemingly moving in slow motion.
"There is a lot of physical and mental stress going into the Olympics so it’s nice to come out and relax and run," said Tinsley, who lowered his personal best to 47.91 when taking silver in London. He clocked 48.50 here, well ahead of Sanchez (48.93) and Jamaican Leford Green (48.97) who snuck in for third out in lane seven. Gordon, who led the field off the final turn, faded to fourth in 49.00.
Hoffa stops Majewski
Like Sanchez, Tomasz Majewski saw his London momentum end at Stockholm’s Olympic stadium as well. London bronze medallist Reese Hoffa set the tone with an opening round 21.24 toss, forcing the twice Olympic champion was forced to play catch-up. And the Pole wasn't quit up the task.
He hit 20.88m in the second round and improved to 21.01 in the third to fall 23 centimetres short. Hoffa was clearly the best on the night, backing up his winning effort with 21.20 in round three.
World indoor champion Ryan Whiting was third at 20.94m.
Reese and Suhr below par
In the women’s Long Jump, Olympic champion Brittney Reese couldn’t fare better than ninth, reaching just 6.23m with her opening effort and not earning her three final jumps. The win went to London runner-up Yelena Sokolova of Russia who reached 6.82m, finishing ahead of Belarusian Nastassia Mironchik-Ivanova who reached 6.75m in the final round.
The night went even worse for Jenn Suhr who 11 days after London victory couldn’t clear her 4.55m opening height here. Again it was the London runner-up who prevailed, in this case Cuban Yarisley Silva who sailed clear at 4.70m with her first attempt. Silke Spiegelburg beat World champion Fabiana Murer on countback for second at 4.55m.
Aman defeats Makhloufi in classy 800m
Both middle distance races on the programme were highly entertaining affairs, with Ethiopian Mohammed Aman taking the men’s 800m and Maryam Jamal the women’s 1500m.
Sudan’s Abubaker Kaki and Duane Solomon of the U.S. were leading at the bell (49.45), with Aman and Makhloufi another step behind. At the 600-metre point, Kaki began to struggle, was quickly enveloped by the chase pack and out of contention.
By the top of the homestretch it became a two-man race with Aman and Taoufik Makhloufi, the Olympic 1500m champion, spending the next 80 metres vying for position. Ultimately the Ethiopian managed to fend off each of the Algerian’s surges, 1:43.56 to 1:43.71 a personal best for Makhloufi. Kenyan Abraham Rotich was third in 1:44.23 while Kaki and Solomon fading to fifth and eighth, respectively.
In the women’s 1500m Jamal was the picture of confidence. Third at the bell behind Abebe Aregawi and Mimi Belete, Jamal let the pair break away briefly with about 200 metres remaining, but never completely lost touch. Still third entering the home straight, the former World champion switched gears with about 60 metres to go to easily run away with her second win of the season, clocking a season’s best 4:01.19.
Belete won the battle for second in 4:02.72 also a season’s best, with Aregawi (4:02.04) third.
Second Samsung Diamond League win win for Harper, first for Bailey
Dawn Harper was a convincing victor in the 100m Hurdles. Clearly ahead my midway, she held off challenges by Ginnie Crawford and Kellie Wells en route to a 12.65 performance. Wells closed well over the final two hurdles to finish second in 12.76 while Alina Talay of Belarus, running in lane eight, snuck into the top three in 12.79, 0.04 ahead of Crawford.
As expected London finalist Ryan Bailey proved to be the class of the men’s 100m. In full command by midway, the 23-year-old American forged on to a 9.93 win, his first in the Samsung Diamond League series.
"I thought it would be a bit faster but I kind of fell apart towards the end," said Bailey, who was fifth in London.
Nesta Carter and Michael Frater, members of Jamaica’s 4x100m World record-setting squad, were second and third in 10.06 an 10.12, respectively.
Back on the infield, 2007 World champion Tero Pitkamaki energised an otherwise listless Javelin Throw competition in the fifth round with an 86.98m throw, a season’s best that elevated the Finn to the No. 2 spot on the 2012 world list.
Diamond Race leader Vitezslav Vesely was a distant second at 83.74m, and Oleksandr Pyatnytsya of Ukraine, the Olympic silver medallist, third here with 81.23m.
Kenyan top 5 in 3000 flat
Leading a Kenyan top-five in the men’s 3000m, Isiah Koech out-sprinted Caleb Ndiku with a 55.27 last lap to win in 7:30.43, just a scant 0.01 shy of the 2012 world lead. U.S. Steeplechase record holder Evan Jager (7:35.16) finishing sixth.
Williams over Knight
And finally, Charonda Williams of the U.S. won the 200m in 22.82, edging compatriot Bianca Knight by 0.04 to take the lead in the Diamond Race with 10 points, two ahead of Murielle Ahoure of Cote D’Ivoire, who was a distant seventh here.