After a strong start from Poland, the US team soon climbed to the top of the leader board on the first day of the Athletics World Cup in London on Saturday (14) and currently lead the competition with 109 points.
A team contest between eight nations, Poland won three of the first five events, including the women’s hammer. Poland’s world and Olympic champion Anita Wlodarczyk broke her own British all-comers’ record with 78.74m, adding 84 centimetres to the mark she set when winning the world title in the same stadium last year.
Britain’s Olympic bronze medallist Sophie Hitchon was second with a season’s best of 73.48m, 10 centimetres farther than 2015 world bronze medallist Alexandra Tavernier of France.
Wlodarczyk’s compatriot Michal Haratyk won the shot put with 21.95m, beating IAAF Diamond League champion Darrell Hill of the USA, who threw 21.43m.
The home team, meanwhile, benefitted from Holly Bradshaw’s 4.75m victory in the pole vault, beating USA’s Katie Nageotte and Ninon Guillon-Romarin of France, who both cleared 4.68m.
Team captain Lorraine Ugen provided Britain’s other win of the day. The long jump world leader sailed out to 6.86m to win by 38 centimetres from USA’s Quanesha Burks.
Jamaica took a pair of early track victories with Commonwealth champion Janieve Russell winning the 400m hurdles in 55.10 and Stephenie Ann McPherson winning the 400m in 50.98. Fedrick Dacres’s 65.32m win in the discus also helped to boost Jamaica’s score.
Most of the US victories came later in the evening, starting with Clayton Murphy in the 800m. The Olympic bronze medallist out-sprinted Adam Kszczot to win comfortably in 1:46.52 to the Pole’s 1:46.98.
Just 10 minutes later, Ashley Henderson won the women’s 100m in 11.07 to take a surprise victory over double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson (11.09).
The winning margin was even smaller in the following track event, the women’s 4x400m, as the USA once again took a narrow victory over Jamaica. 400m hurdles winner Russell ran 50.4 for the second leg to give Jamaica a narrow lead at half way. USA’s third-leg runner Kiana Horton put the pre-race favourites back into pole position before handing over to world indoor champion Courtney Okolo.
McPherson tracked Okolo but, despite a storming 49.70 split, could not quite catch the leader as USA won in 3:24.28 to Jamaica’s 3:24.29.
USA and Jamaica occupied the top two spots in the last track event of the day, the men’s 4x100m, as Cameron Burrell anchored the US to a 38.42 victory to win by 0.10. In a close race, just 0.55 separated all eight teams.
USA also scored maximum point in the men’s high jump, which was won by Jeron Robinson with 2.30m.
France won just one event – Pascal Martinot-Lagarde taking the men’s 110m hurdles in 13.22 – but their consistent results across all disciplines have given them a tally of 85 points, enough for second place overall.
Had it not been for the -1.1m/s headwind, Xie Zhenye may have improved upon the Chinese 200m record of 20.16 he set earlier this year. But he was more than content with a clear win in 20.25 with South Africa’s Luxolo Adams finishing second in 20.45.
A last-round throw of 61.69m from Sunette Viljoen in the women’s javelin gave South Africa their sole victory of the first day. USA’s Kara Winger, who had led from the first round, finished second with 60.75m.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF