Ronnie Baker on his way to winning the 100m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in London (Kirby Lee) © Copyright
Report London, UK

Baker hottest in London sprint showdown – IAAF Diamond League

Ronnie Baker left a high quality field in his dust to win the men’s 100m on the first day of the Muller Anniversary Games in London on Saturday (21), the 11th stop of the IAAF Diamond League.

The event was staged over two rounds, with 11 entrants owning a sub-10-second personal best. But Baker, equal fastest man in the world this year, never looked ruffled. The US sprinter was quickest in the heats, winning his in 9.90. He then matched that time in the final, establishing a lead at 60 metres and holding it to win for the fourth time at an IAAF Diamond League meeting this year. Not that he was entirely happy with his performance.

“In the final, I felt like I stood up at the start, which kind of took away from my transition and how fast I really could go,” he said. “But I am really pleased. Two races in a short space of time; consistency is key.”

Behind him, five further athletes dipped under 10, Zharnel Hughes leading them for second in 9.93, a nose in front of Akani Simbine.

In the women’s 100m, a non-point-scoring event, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce showed she is far from a spent force. The Jamaican did not compete in 2017 after giving birth and travelled to London with her young son.

The two rounds proved no problem for the 2008 and 2012 Olympic champion. She won her heat in a comfortable 11.17. In the final, she briefly trailed the second heat winner Dezerea Bryant, but stayed relaxed to move away over the final 20 metres and win in 10.98, her fastest time of the year. Bryant was second in 11.04.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce on her way to winning the 100m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in London (Kirby Lee)Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce on her way to winning the 100m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in London (Kirby Lee) © Copyright

 

Narrow wins for Kendricks and Proctor

USA’s Sam Kendricks won the men’s pole vault with 5.92m. The mark was good but his score card was checkered: the world champion missed bars at 5.71m, 5.80m and 5.86m. Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie cleared those heights first time, and looked in total control.

But 5.92m proved decisive. While Kendricks went over first time, wheeling away from the pit in wild celebrations, Lavillenie failed his first vault before passing to the next height. He made no further clearances, therefore handing victory to Kendricks, who had no luck with his two attempts at 6.05m. World U20 champion Mondo Duplantis also cleared 5.86m but was third due to failures at previous heights.

Sam Kendricks in the pole vault at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in London (Kirby Lee)Sam Kendricks in the pole vault at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in London (Kirby Lee) © Copyright

 

There was a popular winner in the women’s long jump, as Briton Shara Proctor produced an impressive series to win on home soil. Five of her six efforts were beyond 6.80m, her best a 6.91m that was enough to edge Lorraine Ugen, whose top mark was 6.88m.

“I’m confident in what I can do and today showed that,” said Proctor. “I got my mind together and perfected it.”

Ugen's second place means she stays top of the IAAF Diamond League standings.

Shara Proctor, winner of the long jump at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in London (Kirby Lee)Shara Proctor, winner of the long jump at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in London (Kirby Lee) © Copyright

 

Chelimo’s kick proves smartest

USA’s Paul Chelimo achieved a first win in an IAAF Diamond League race, showing a clean pair of heels to Yomif Kejelcha over the final 130 metres to win the men’s 5000m.

Kejelcha moved to the front at the bell, and his kicking tactic looked to have paid off as he quickly established a lead of a few metres. The Ethiopian had run conservatively over the previous 4600 metres, the pace nowhere near as fast as the previous week’s race in Rabat, where he had won with a world-leading time.

But Chelimo had also positioned himself smartly, avoiding the fluctuating splits of Muktar Edris and Hagos Gebrhiwet at the front of the pack. The Olympic silver medallist darted in front of Kejelcha as they emerged onto the straight for the final time and pulled away to win in 13:14.01.

“What I was doing today was just running really smart and then going for it,” said the winner. “Kejelcha made a really crazy move on the back … I knew I was going to have it with 200 metres to go.”

Kejelcha was cooked: world champion Edris pipped him on the line to claim second place. Birhanu Balew, who tops the overall IAAF Diamond League standings, was fourth.

In the opening Diamond discipline on the track, Shamier Little and Janieve Russell reprised their home straight duel from Lausanne. Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad led through the first 200 metres, but coming off the bend it was Little and Russell who had positioned themselves best.

Russell held a slight edge but, as in Switzerland, Little showed terrific strength through the final barrier and prevailed with a dip, winning by 0.01 in 53.95. US champion Little moves to third in the overall standings, behind Russell in second. Muhammad, who tired after her swift start but still finished third, remains top.

“It was a tough race but it was no different to the race I had a couple of weeks ago in Lausanne,” said Little. “I put my soul into that lean for all the points!”

Abdalelah Haroun on his way to winning the 400m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in London (Kirby Lee)Abdalelah Haroun on his way to winning the 400m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in London (Kirby Lee) © Copyright

 

A late burst from Abdalelah Haroun saw him win the men’s 400m in a personal best of 44.07. The Qatari looked out of the race coming off the bend, as first Kirani James and then Nathon Allen held leads.

But Haroun, who earned world bronze in London last year, suddenly started motoring with 50 metres to go. Pumping his arms hard, he crossed the line with clear daylight to Paul Dedewo, who paced his lap well for a PB of 44.43. James, the Olympic champion here in 2012, was third.

Records for Warholm and Bosworth

The men’s 400m hurdles was not a scoring event, but world champion Karsten Warholm didn’t run any more conservatively for that fact. The Norwegian, who claimed the world title in London last year, employed his usual fast start tactics and established a big lead. He held it well over the final two hurdles to win in a national record of 47.65. All eyes now turn to the finals for a showdown with world leader Abderrahman Samba.

Karsten Warholm on his way to winning the 400m hurdles at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in London (Kirby Lee)Karsten Warholm on his way to winning the 400m hurdles at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in London (Kirby Lee) © Copyright

 

One year on from his record-breaking performance over one mile, Britain’s Tom Bosworth set a world best in the men’s 3000m race walk of 10:43.9.

In the non-scoring women’s 3000m, Lilian Rengeruk held off a late charge by Susan Krumins to win in 8:41.51.

All the action in the women’s javelin came early. Lyu Huihui, winner in Shanghai back in May, took an early lead with her opening 64.97m. In round two, Nikola Ogrodnikova moved ahead with 65.36m. Throwing next, Huihui responded instantly, finding 65.54m, a mark neither she nor her competitors would better. The win means the Chinese thrower moves to the top of the overall standings.

Thomas Byrne for the IAAF