Caterine Ibarguen, newly established as the Pan American champion, extended her winning run to 28 competitions at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Stockholm with another demoralising performance – that is, if you were one of her opponents.
In the opening Diamond Race event of Thursday night, three-and-a-half hours before the main action got underway, the 31-year-old Colombian and world champion produced five jumps, the best of them 14.69m, that were superior to anything anyone else could manage.
She passed on her last round as the rain which had fallen lightly throughout the competition redoubled, and the floodlights came on to clarify proceedings for the few hundred enthusiasts who had turned up early with their umbrellas.
Ibarguen, her dayglo-lime knee socks standing out in the relative gloom of the venerable 1912 Olympic stadium, laid down her marker with a first-round effort of 14.59m, which gave her a lead of more than half a metre.
Olympic champion Olga Rypakova of Kazakhstan provided a serious response with a second-round jump of 14.30m, but was unable to improve upon that as her rival added further efforts of 14.51m, 14.49m, 14.60m and 14.69m.
Ibarguen now has an unassailable 13-point lead ahead of the Zurich final of her event on 3 September. All she needs to do is turn up fit to compete in the Swiss city to claim a hat-trick of Diamond Race trophies.
“The weather was not what I expected,” said Ibarguen. “It was not nice, but I did the job. I feel great. Now I have 28 victories in a row. I’m working hard for Beijing and the gold medal is what I expect.”
Malachowski off key when slinging in the rain
Rain was still falling steadily an hour later as the men’s discus got underway, although it eased off for the final two rounds.
By that point, Belgium’s Philip Milanov had demonstrated the best aptitude in the slippery conditions, as he had done when winning in similar circumstances in London last Friday, and led with a fourth-round effort of 64.50m.
But Poland’s Diamond Race leader Piotr Malachowski produced a final-round flourish as the sun arrived through the clouds, reaching out to 65.95m, a season’s best.
Milanov responded with an improved effort in the final round which had him staring hopefully at the digital board before it came up with the relatively disappointing news that he had only improved to 64.97m.
Malachowski now has a 17-11 lead over his countryman Robert Urbanek, third here with 63.25m, in the Diamond Race as they head to Zurich.
“My goal today was to throw 66 metres and reach the Olympic qualifying standard for next year,” said Milanov. “Lately I have performed well in the rain so I’m hoping for rainy conditions in Beijing!”
The Polish winner viewed the conditions differently. “The rain was very bad for me, the circle was very slippery so I’m very happy with the result.”
Cuba’s Olympic silver medallist Yarisley Silva finished triumphant in a women’s pole vault that turned into an intriguing tactical battle between herself and her two main rivals, Greece’s Diamond Race leader Nikoleta Kyriakopoulou and Brazil’s 2011 world champion Fabiana Murer.
Silva was the only woman to clear 4.81m, although the result was not decided until the next height, when Murer – who had skipped after two failures at that height – was unable to turn her last vault to advantage.
Both Murer and Silva had delayed their entry until 4.46m, which they both cleared first time. Kyriakopoulou delayed further still but also achieved a first-time clearance at 4.56m, a height Silva also cleared first time.
Murer skipped to 4.61m, clearing first time, but her two main rivals moved straight to first-time clearances at 4.66m.
Only the Brazilian vaulted when the bar was raised to 4.71m, clearing it at her second attempt, but she gambled again on passing at 4.76m, which both her rivals managed, and this time it didn’t pay off as she could go no further.
Kyriakopoulou looked the favourite as vaulting began at 4.81m, having had no failures as against Silva’s two, but she was unable to progress further and the Cuban’s clearance in a second attempt proved decisive, before the latter failed with her three attempts at a world-leading height and meeting record of 4.86m.
The women’s javelin was an equally competitive affair, with double Olympic champion Barbora Spotakova winning with a third-round effort of 65.66m which took the lead from South Africa’s Sunette Viljoen, who finished second with 64.03m, a centimetre ahead of Germany’s Linda Stahl.
Mike Rowbottom for the IAAF