Christian Taylor at the 2016 IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene (Kirby Lee) © Copyright
Report Eugene, USA

Taylor throws down the gauntlet in Eugene – IAAF Diamond League

He is already a world and Olympic champion and the owner of the second-best triple jump of all time but what Christian Taylor really wants is competition.

He’s inviting it, hoping for it every time he competes.

“I’m chasing records now and I need that push,” said Taylor after winning with 17.76m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene on Saturday (28).

“I don’t want it to be a blowout; I want it to be a back and forth, a rivalry.”

He certainly did get some ‘back and forth’ at Hayward Field.

After a somewhat subdued start to the competition, his former university teammate Will Claye made things interesting with a final-round jump of 17.56m which took the lead from Taylor, whose third-round mark of 17.46m put him in command of the competition.

Taylor needed a response with his final attempt and he produced it, bounding out to 17.76m with the last jump of the competition to clinch the victory and grab back the distinction of being the world leader from Claye.   

“This is what I’m asking for, I’m trying to challenge the field to step it up,” Taylor said. “I can’t do it alone.

“I always want to put on a show. I believe I’m a performer. The conditions (in Eugene) are beautiful. I’m also a little greedy and so I was chasing the 18-metre mark, but it’s definitely progress.”

However, 18 metres wasn’t necessary for the win at the famed Prefontaine Classic meeting and he left feeling encouraged with his winning performance. “I didn’t even touch the board so that’s really exciting for me,” Taylor said. “I know there’s a lot more in the tank.”

Behind Taylor and Claye, Omar Craddock’s 17.15m final-round jump rounded out the top three.

Abelrahman equals javelin world lead

In the men’s javelin, world silver medallist Ihab Abelrahman of Egypt set a meeting and stadium record of 87.37m with his final throw. It also equalled the world lead set by Germany’s Thomas Rohler in Ostrava eight days ago.

He snatched the win from the world champion, and his sometime training partner, Kenya’s Julius Yego.

Yego led the competition from the opening round when he posted a mark of 84.68m, itself a meeting record, but couldn’t respond with his own final throw. Rohler, on this occasion, finished third with 82.53m.

France’s world record-holder Renaud Lavillenie won the men’s pole vault on fewest misses after he and Canada’s world champion Shawn Barber both failed to get over 5.87m. Lavillenie’s first attempt clearance of 5.81m was enough to secure the win.

“I was expecting something better,” Lavillenie said. “The good thing is I take the win, I take the 10 points for the Diamond League,” added the man who has won the Diamond Race in his event all six years it has been in existence. His win in Eugene was also his 28th win at an IAAF Diamond League meeting.

Lavillenie passed all the way up to 5.71m and only took five attempts in the entire competition. Barber finished second after taking three attempts to get over 5.81m and USA’s Sam Kendricks, the winner at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Shanghai, was third with 5.71m.

Three-time Olympian and US record-holder Chaunte Lowe’s first attempt clearance at 1.95m was, perhaps surprisingly, enough to win the women’s high jump.

“This indoor season was really rough. I had to take a lot of losses because I knew the plan ultimately was the Olympic Trials,” said Lowe, who had no failures up to and including her winning height before three failures at 1.97m. “So now the execution of the plan seems to be flawless.”

Levern Spencer of Saint Lucia was one of five women who cleared 1.92m, but her first-time clearance got her second place. USA’s Vashti Cunningham and Spain’s Ruth Beitia, first and second at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Portland 2016, were also over 1.92m but finished down in fifth and sixth respectively.

Kevin Sully for the IAAF