David Rudisha wins the 800m in Melbourne (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News

2016 IAAF World Challenge review

Melbourne, 5 March

David Rudisha began the year in which he would retain his Olympic 800m title with another victory in his favourite early season meeting. In his first outing of 2016, he won in 1:44.78.

It was Rudisha’s fifth win in five starts in Melbourne, ranging from his meeting record of 1:43.15 in 2010 to his 1:44.94 to begin 2015, the year he won his second world title.

New Zealand shot putter Tom Walsh, another regular in Melbourne both for training and competition, warmed up for the IAAF World Indoor Championships later in the month by winning with 20.87m.

Matthew Denny got the IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge under way, taking the event with a distance of 68.63m.

Kingston, 7 May

Home sprinter Elaine Thompson won the 100m in 10.71 and Shaunae Miller of The Bahamas the 200m in 22.14 – although the ferment in the stadium dropped a level when it became clear that an excessive following wind had made both times ineligible for record purposes.

Thompson, the world 200m silver medallist, headed US sprinter English Gardner, who clocked 10.85, with a 2.4m/s at her back – 0.4 over the legal limit.

For Miller, the world 400m silver medallist, the wind advantage was slighter – 2.2m/s – as she won in what would otherwise have equalled the personal best and meeting record she set a year earlier.

Brianna Rollins of the United States, the 2013 world 100m hurdles champion, also became a gust star as she won in 12.52 with a 2.9m/s wind behind her.

The wind died down to 1.0m/s for the men’s 100m, where Jamaica’s Commonwealth champion Kemar Bailey-Cole won in 10.01. Asafa Powell won the men’s 200m in 20.45.

Gwen Berry won in the IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge with a best of 73.82m

Kawasaki, 8 May

World long jump champion Tianna Bartoletta completed a long jump-100m double for the second successive year at the Seiko Golden Grand Prix, leaping a best of 6.61m before running 11.23 into a -1.7m/s headwind.

The US athlete said her coach had instructed her to shorten her approach run in the long jump the night before, and she was coming up 50 or so centimetres short of the board on take-off. Asked to describe her jumping performance, she replied succinctly: “Horrible.”

In the 100m she won from Nigeria's Blessing Okagbare, who clocked 11.30.

The Czech Republic's Jakub Vadlejch retained his javelin title with a world-leading PB of 86.76m. Japan’s Ryohei Arai finished second with 84.41m to go second on the 2016 world list.

Canadian pole vaulter Shawn Barber, the other world champion in action at Todoroki Stadium, won with 5.62m.

China had three 1-2s in field events. World high jump silver medallist Zhang Guowei won on countback from Wang Yu after both cleared 2.33m. In the men's long jump, Huang Changzhou reached 7.95m to finish seven centimetres ahead of world bronze medallist Wang Jianan, and Xie Wenjun won the 110m hurdles in 13.36 from Zhang Honglin (13.59).

Beijing, 18 May

Syrian high jumper Majd Eddin Ghazal leapt to prominence by setting three personal bests to win with a world-leading 2.36m, moving to fourth on the Asian all-time list.

With a previous best of 2.31m, the 29-year-old Ghazal cleared 2.32m, 2.34m and 2.36m, adding three centimetres to the world lead.

Four days after defeating world pole vault record-holder Renaud Lavillenie in Shanghai, Sam Kendricks defeated Canada’s world champion Shawn Barber with 5.92m, an outdoor world lead.

The third world lead of the meeting came from Zhang Wenxiu who won the second round of the women’s IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge with a best of 75.58m.

Barber was one of four world champions returning to the Bird’s Nest. Jamaica’s Danielle Williams won the 100m hurdles in a season’s best of 12.80, Ezekiel Kemboi of Kenya won the 3000m steeplechase in 8:14.19, Katharina Molitor (62.01m) was third behind Australia’s Kathryn Mitchell (64.37) in the javelin.

The men’s 100m was won in 9.94 by Justin Gatlin, while his US compatriot Aries Merritt won the 110m hurdles in a season’s best of 13.24.

The hosts took the first four places in the long jump – Gao Xinglong, fourth at the IAAF World Championships here the previous year, won with 8.23m ahead of teammates Huang Changzhou (8.12m), Tang Gongchen (8.03m) and Wang Jianan (7.99m).

Ostrava, 20 May

The final action of the night, provided by German javelin thrower Thomas Rohler, proved hugely uplifting for a capacity crowd that had just seen Usain Bolt fall short of his target time in winning the 100m and, a little earlier, third-place finishes for home athletes Zuzana Hejnova and Pavel Maslak.

Rohler won with a last-round effort of 87.37m, topping the 2016 world lists, to surpass the 84.74m of Egypt’s Ihab Abdelrahman.

Bolt, for whom the Rio 2016 Olympic Games offered the opportunity of a ‘treble treble’ of sprint golds, shook his head after finishing the 100m well clear in 9.98, having said beforehand he was in shape to run 9.8.

Poland’s world record-holder Anita Wlodarczyk opened her season by winning with a meeting record and world-leading throw of 78.54m at the IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge.

Wlodarczyk’s compatriot and fellow world champion Pawel Fajdek maintained his 14-month winning streak thanks to a penultimate effort of 80.66m, which topped the 2016 world standings.

Poland’s 19-year-old world U20 shot put champion Konrad Bukowiecki defeated a field which included two-time Olympic champion and compatriot Tomasz Majewski with a lifetime best of 21.01m, just four centimetres shy of Terry Albritton’s outright world U20 best of 21.05m set indoors back in 1974.

Ethiopia’s Belaynesh Oljira won the women’s 3000m in a meeting record of 8:38.55.

Home athlete Hejnova, twice a world champion, finished off the pace in a 400m hurdles won by Poland’s World University Games champion Joanna Linkiewicz in a personal best of 55.40.

A clearance of 5.83m earned world pole vault record-holder Renaud Lavillenie his first win of the season, with Canada’s world champion Shawn Barber second on 5.70m.

A time of 45.46 could only earn the Czech Republic’s world indoor 400m champion Pavel Maslak third place behind Jamaica’s Javon Francis (44.87) and Tony McQuay of the United States (45.17).

But home athlete Jirina Ptacnikova took the women’s pole vault ahead of world champion Yarisley Silva with a season’s best of 4.60m.

After world decathlon champion Ashton withdrew from the long jump with a slight quad injury, Paralympic champion Markus Rehm won with 8.13m.

Hengelo, 22 May

Dafne Schippers, making her first outdoor appearance at home since winning the world 200m title in 2015, delighted the rain-swept crowd with victory in a world-leading meeting record of 22.02.

Another home sprinter, two-time Olympic 100m finalist Churandy Martina, won his final in 10.12.

Phylicia George of Canada defied the rain in the 100m hurdles to win in 12.88 ahead of Germany’s world silver medallist Cindy Roleder, who clocked 12.98.

Dakar, 25 May

Congolese shot putter Franck Elemba provided the highlight in the Senegalese capital with a national record of 21.01m. The effort added 48 centimetres to the African Games champion's previous best.

The meeting also incorporated the IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge and the men’s and women’s events were won by Pavel Bareisha from Belarus and Moldova's Zalina Marghieva, with 75.29m and 71.91m respectively.

US long jumper Jarvis Gotch, who had set a legal personal best of 8.24m the previous month, won with a last-round jump of 8.31m, aided by a strong 4.0m/s wind on his back.

Sao Bernardo do Campo, 19 June

Brazil's two-time World Championships finalist Augusto Dutra de Oliveira cleared a season’s best of 5.70m in winning the men's pole vault on home soil.

Home long jumper Eliane Martins won with a best of 6.72m, adding two centimetres to her personal best.

Colombia's John Murillo jumped a national triple jump record of 16.96m, adding 22 centimetres to the mark he had set at Medellin earlier in the year.

Argentina's South American record-holder Jennifer Dalhgren won this leg of the IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge with 65.43m.

Madrid, 23 June

Yulimar Rojas, the 20-year-old world indoor triple jump champion, provided a resounding finale to the meeting. In the last action of the evening, she became the youngest woman to jump beyond 15 metres, confirming her victory with a national record of 15.02m.

The crowd rose to what was the next best thing to a home win given that the young Venezualan – coached by Cuba’s 2000 Olympic and four-time world champion Ivan Pedroso – was competing 50 kilometres from her semi-permanent base in Guadalajara.

The effort put Rojas second on the 2016 world list, two centimetres behind Colombia’s two-time world champion Caterine Ibarguen.

Earlier in the evening home 200m specialist Bruno Hortelano twice lowered the Spanish 100m record of 10.14, running 10.08 in the semifinal and 10.04 in a final run down the back straight to benefit from the prevailing breeze and won by Iran’s Hassan Taftian in 10.04 – also a national record.

Several other national records fell – Nery Brenes, the 2012 world indoor 400m champion, lowered the Costa Rican record to 44.60 and Luka Janezic was second in a Slovenian record of 45.22.

Spain’s 37-year-old double European champion Ruth Beitia won the women’s high jump with 1.93m on countback from Italy’s Alessia Trost.

Berlin, 3 September

Fireworks were promised and delivered in the men’s javelin as the pyrotechnics installed for throws beyond 80 metres went off regularly during a stupendous demonstration of home talent as Germany filled the first four places.

Olympic champion Thomas Rohler finished fourth with 82.55m in what was his fifth competition in seven days. “What a fantastic afternoon for German athletics,” he said.

Victory went to 23-year-old Johannes Vetter, fourth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, with a personal best of 89.57m.

Olympic finalist Julian Weber, 22, was second with a personal best of 88.29m, while third-placed Andreas Hoffmann set a season’s best with 85.42m.

The women’s javelin was also momentous as home javelin thrower Christina Obergfoll, the 2013 world champion, ended her career aged 35 with an emotional victory over a field including Croatia’s Olympic champion Sara Kolak thanks to a fifth-round effort of 64.28m.

Double world champion and Olympic medallist Bernard Lagat bade farewell to track and field on Berlin’s blue oval at the age of 41 – but was denied a final victory over 3000m by Kenya’s Augustine Choge, who won in 7:43.00, with Lagat second in 7:43.63.

Meanwhile 40-year-old Kim Collins of St Kitts and Nevis continued his own long-running career with another 100m victory in 10.07.

David Rudisha and Caster Semenya, the men’s and women’s Olympic 800m champions, produced suitably emphatic victories in 1:43.31 and 1:55.68 respectively. Fellow Kenyan Kipyegon Bett, the world U20 champion, chased Rudisha home for a personal best of 1:43.76.

Great Britain’s 20-year-old David Omoregie was surprise winner of the men’s 110m hurdles after he and France’s world indoor silver medallist Pascal Martinot-Lagarde clocked 13.24 – a personal best for the European under-23 champion.

Jazmin Sawyers produced another British coup as a long jump of 6.62m earned her victory over a field including Olympic champion Tianna Bartoletta of the United States, third with 6.49m.

Germany’s European 100m hurdles champion Cindy Roleder won the 100m hurdles in 12.65 from Jasmin Stowers of the United States (12.79).

Zagreb, 6 September

Local heroine Sandra Perkovic and Ivana Spanovic from neighbouring Serbia warmed the crowd with victories on a chilly night.

Perkovic, making her first home appearance since successfully defending her Olympic discus title in Rio, threw a best of 67.86m to win by more than five metres.

But the stand-out performance came in the last round of the concluding women’s long jump, where Spanovic registered a wind-assisted 7.03m (2.3m/s), her third meeting record of the night.

Olympic shot put champion Ryan Crouser, who had suffered narrow back-to-back defeats by New Zealand’s Tom Walsh, turned the tables with the second-best throw of his career, 22.28m.

Walsh responded with his third Oceanian record in nine days but this time, reaching 22.21m. It was the first time since 1988 that two men had thrown beyond 22.20m in the same competition.

Poland’s two-time Olympic champion Tomasz Majewski closed his career aged 35, finishing seventh with 20.24m.

Mike Rowbottom for the IAAF