Moments after crossing the line in the 200m at the Sainsbury’s Birmingham Grand Prix, USA’s Jeneba Tarmoh and Allyson Felix were given the same time of 22.29 at the IAAF Diamond League meeting on Sunday (7).
The pair probably felt a slight sense of déjà vu.
Three years earlier at the US Olympic Trials, Tarmoh and Felix had finished joint third in the 100m. With the Olympic berths going to the top three finishers, the training partners had to be separated somehow. After talk of a re-run and even the flipping of a coin, Tarmoh eventually let Felix have the place on the team.
In Birmingham, though, Tarmoh finally gained redemption.
Although both she and Felix were credited with the same time, Tarmoh was given the victory. It was the first time that Tarmoh had finished ahead of Felix in a 200m race.
But it wasn’t just a two-woman affair. World junior champion Dina Asher-Smith, fresh from her British 100m record of 11.02 little more than a week ago, held the lead coming off the bend.
She maintained her composure as Felix and Tarmoh edged closer to her, but crossed the line just a fraction behind the US pair and was rewarded with a personal best of 22.30.
“I didn’t think it would be that fast,” said Tarmoh after coming within 0.01 of her best. “I was shocked to win over Allyson and I stayed focused and patient. Now I’m definitely confident I’ll get a spot on the US team for the World Championships. And if I get on the podium in Beijing, that would be a blessing.”
Bracy upstages Rodgers
Before the meeting, US champion Mike Rodgers was perhaps the slight favourite in the men’s 100m, which he appeared to confirm when he won the first heat in 10.04.
But world indoor 60m silver medallist Marvin Bracy responded with a 9.97 win in the next heat to set up a mouth-watering clash in the final.
Bracy showed his earlier run was no fluke and sped to victory in the final with a best of 9.93, with a perfect breeze of 2.0m/s on his back.
In second place, Britain’s European 200m champion Adam Gemili prevented a US one-two, clocking a PB of 9.97 before crashing to the track with a torn hamstring.
Rodgers finished a close third in 9.97, 0.03 ahead of Nesta Carter while Great Britain’s world indoor champion Richard Kilty ran a best of 10.05 in fifth.
Third Birmingham wins for Harper Nelson and Spencer
Jasmin Stowers hasn’t had the best of weeks.
After her stunning start to the season, including clocking a world-leading 12.35 in Doha, the 100m hurdler from the USA hit a hurdle in Rome and fell on Thursday. In Birmingham, she was disqualified for a false start.
But things are looking up, meanwhile, for 2014 Diamond Race winner Dawn Harper Nelson. She finished eighth in Doha but improved to second place in Rome before her victory in Birmingham.
European champion Tiffany Porter and world champion Brianna Rollins were ahead at halfway, but Harper Nelson came through at the end to win in a season’s best of 12.58 (1.5m/s).
It was her third consecutive win in Birmingham following victories in 2014 and 2013 and her fastest one to date. Rollins clocked a season’s best of 12.63 in second, just 0.02 ahead of Porter.
Jamaica’s Kaliese Spencer also achieved her third win at this meeting. The 2014 Diamond Race winner had won here in 2012 and 2013 and set a season’s best of 54.45 to win here on Sunday.
Spencer went off cautiously but had built up a lead before entering the home stretch. Her clearances over the last two hurdles weren’t the cleanest, but she did enough to hold off USA’s Cassandra Tate, who finished second in 54.73, while world champion Zuzana Hejnova finished third in a season’s best of 55.00.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF