Piotr Lisek won a monumental men’s pole vault at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Monaco tonight (12) with an effort of 6.02m – a Polish record, meeting record, and world-leading mark.
It was the second lifetime best in the space of a week for the 26-year-old world silver medallist, who cleared 6.01m to win in last Friday’s IAAF Diamond League meeting in Lausanne.
Nineteen-year-old Swede Armand 'Mondo' Duplantis did all he could to frustrate the Pole’s driving ambition, taking second place with a clearance of 5.92m and – after passing following one failure at 5.97m – two near misses at 6.02m.
And in his best performance by some distance since winning the 2016 Olympic title on home soil, Thiago Braz finished in third place on countback, having also cleared 5.92m.
After clearing his best ever height, Lisek collapsed back into the pit with his hands over his face before being joyfully embraced by fellow Pole Pawel Wojciechowski, the 2011 world champion, who finished fourth on 5.87m.
Lisek had three decent but unsuccessful efforts at 6.06m before bowing out with morale soaring as the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 come ever closer.
“For sure I didn’t expect 6.02,” said Lisek. “It’s almost a dream – I can’t believe it. I thought 5.90m this season, maybe 6.00m in Doha. I’ve been injury-free this year and 100 per cent healthy.”
Taylor tops Claye in epic triple jump clash
In the end the men’s pole vault took top billing in the field events, but the much anticipated men’s triple jump, featuring three 18m-plus athletes, certainly didn’t disappoint.
Christian Taylor of the United States, the world and Olympic champion, earned the honours with a winning effort of 17.82m, a meeting record and season’s best.
His compatriot Will Claye, who leads this year’s world list with a personal best of 18.14m, retired after three rounds but had done enough with his second-round effort of 17.75m to earn second place.
Portugal’s Pedro Pablo Pichardo, the last of the 18m-plus trio, finished third with a best of 17.38m.
Germany’s European silver medallist Andreas Hoffman won the opening event, the men’s javelin, with a third-round best of 87.84m, although Estonia’s Magnus Kirt almost tipped the contest with a final-round effort of 87.47m.
Olympic champion Thomas Roehler, always partial to a thumping great opening throw in the javelin, was out-thumped on this occasion by his compatriot as Hoffman’s first effort soared out to 87.66m to give him the early lead.
Roehler found his mojo in the third round as he sent the spear out to 86.04m, which proved good enough for third place.
Lasitskene tops 2.00m again
For world high jump champion Mariya Lasitskene the evening followed a familiar pattern. Four successive clearances at 1.85m, 1.90m, 1.97m and 2.00m cleared away all opposition – with Mirela Demireva being her closest challenger having cleared 1.94m.
That left her free to choose a height for the second part of her evening. She chose 2.04m, but on this occasion it proved too much.
Morocco’s world 3000m steeplechase silver medallist Soufiane El Bakkali, whose plans fell apart at last month’s IAAF Diamond League meeting in his native Rabat, came good in style here. He moved from fourth to first between the final barrier and the finish line, overtaking a flagging Benjamin Kigen of Kenya to win in 8:04.82, the fastest time recorded this year.
Kigen registered a personal best of 8:05.12, with third place going to Ethiopia’s Getnet Wale in a national record of 8:05.51.
Spain’s Fernando Carro set a national record of 8:05.69 n fourth place, just ahead of Kenya’s Abraham Kibiwott, who had a personal best of 8:05.72.
Ajee Wilson proved an equally decisive winner of the women’s 800m that followed, assuming the lead as the pacemaker, who had led the field through 400m in 56.12, peeled away going into the back straight for the second time.
The world bronze medallist was challenged by Jamaica’s Natoya Goule, but held her narrow lead all the way down the finishing straight before crossing in a season’s best of 1:57.73.
Goule was second in a season’s best of 1:57.90, while third place went to Britain’s European 1500m champion Laura Muir, who never quite managed to get in contact with the leading pair. She was rewarded for her characteristically unstinting effort with third place in a personal best time of 1:58.42, one place ahead of compatriot Lynsey Sharp, who clocked a season’s best of 1:58.76.
Gatlin takes down Lyles
At the age of 37, world 100m champion Justin Gatlin continues to defy probability with his winning performances. Tonight a great smart and a smoothly handled follow-through earned him victory in 9.91.
His 21-year-old US compatriot Noah Lyles, twice Diamond League 200m champion, had to settle for second in 9.92 after running out of track and time as he sought to recover from his own less than great getaway.
Michael Rodgers of the United States was third in 10.01.
Lyles has been agonising over whether to double up for the IAAF World Championships later this season in Doha.
“That was a good second place so I’m not too sad,” said Lyles. “My start was considerably better than other races and that makes me excited going to the Trials.”
Gardiner prevails in odd 400m
The men’s 400m was also won in commanding fashion as the 6ft 5in figure of Steven Gardiner of The Bahamas held his form to hold off the efforts of 400m hurdles specialist Aberrahman Samba of Qatar to get on terms, winning in 44.51.
Samba, unaccustomed no doubt to having to chase anyone to the line, was second, blowing a bit, in 45.00, with third place going to Nathan Strother of the United States, who clocked 45.54.
The race had been prefaced by an unfortunate earlier version involving the men in the three outside lanes - Davide Re of Italy, Jonathan Jones of Barbados and Anthony Zambrano of Colombia - who did not hear the recall gun and ran various distances before realising their labours were in vain.
Re got to just past the 100 metres mark before twigging that all was not well. Zambrano, passed by Jones on the final bend, peeled off after 200 metres. Jones finished all on his Jack Jones before looking up to see five eighths of the field staring at him with a mixture of sympathy and alarm.
After some heated infield discussion, the two men who had run the furthest chose to call it a day, but Re ran again, finishing sixth and last in 46.21.
Season’s best 12.43 for Harrison
World 100m hurdles record-holder Kendra Harrison of the United States looked ominously sharp as she overhauled leader Danielle Williams of Jamaica, the 2015 world champion, over the final two sets of hurdles and powered through the line in a season’s best of 12.43.
Williams was second in 12.52, also a season’s best, with third place going to Christina Clemons of the United States, who clocked 12.62.
Mike Rowbottom for the IAAF