thompson repeats olympic triumph
ZURICH – Olympic 200 metres champion Elaine Thompson repeated her Rio victory over world champion Dafne Schippers at the International Association of Athletics Federations’ first Diamond League final of the season in Zurich today – but the Dutchwoman was the big winner on the night as she secured the overall Diamond Race title in her event.
Thompson, who won both the 100m and 200m in Rio, clocked 21.85sec, a Diamond League record, with Schippers finishing just 0.01sec behind her in a season’s best, with London 2012 and multiple world champion Allyson Felix of the United States third in 22.02 – also a season’s best.
But the most dramatic result of the night was Laura Muir’s last-gasp securing of the overall honours in the women’s 1500m, where second place in 3:57.85 – behind Shannon Rowbury of the US, who clocked 3:57.78 – saw her reach 40 points to overhaul Kenya’s Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon, who could not add to her total of 36 as she finished seventh in 4:01.86.
The men’s javelin produced a shock as Olympic champion Thomas Rohler lost the overall Diamond Race by just four points to the Czech Republic’s Jakub Vadlejch, who won the 20 points on offer to the winner with an effort of 87.28m as the German had to settle for a best of 86.56m.
Kendra Harrison – who failed to qualify in the US Olympic trials and then lowered the women’s world 100m hurdles record to 12.20 – made sure she came away from season 2016 with tangible reward as she earned a Diamond Trophy and winner’s cheque, finishing almost 50 points clear of her nearest challenger after earning victory in 12.63.
Tom Walsh, New Zealand’s Olympic discus bronze medallist, finished his season on a high as he improved his area record to 22.20m to win a closely contested Diamond Trophy ahead of Rio silver medallist and world champion Joe Kovacs, who finished 16 points adrift after a third place finish with 21.20.
Kovacs’ US colleague Ryan Crouser, the Olympic champion, was not in with a chance of the overall trophy, but fell only a little short of earning a moral victory with a fourth round effort of 22.00m.
Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion and world record holder Ruth Jebet of Bahrain needed only to finish ahead of Kenya’s world champion and Rio silver medallist Hyvin Kiyeng to secure the Diamond Trophy, and duly did so in a meeting record of 9min 07.00sec – relatively sedate for her.
Ruth Beitia was another Olympic champion sweeping the board as her overall high jump victory, a formality, was closed off with a win on the night as she cleared 1.96m.
Meanwhile, men’s 400m hurdles Olympic champion Kerron Clement is also celebrating after earning his Diamond Trophy with victory on the night in 48.72sec.
Olympic pole vault silver medallist Renaud Lavillenie suffered his second Diamond League defeat to Sam Kendricks in the space of a week, but had masses to spare as he maintained his record as the only athlete to have won the Diamond Race trophy in their event on every occasion since the competition began in 2010.
The Frenchman – who lost in Lausanne but beat the American in Paris on Saturday – equalled Kendricks’ clearance of 5.90 but lost on countback, with Brazil’s Thiago Da Silva, who earned a shock home victory in Rio, third after clearing 5.84.
Caster Semenya and Francine Niyonsaba, who have finished in that order all season long in the women’s 800m, did so again, with the South African earning the Diamond Trophy with a time of 1:56.44 as the Burundi athlete managed 1:56.76.
The men’s 100m Diamond Race was the most open of all, and it was Jamaica’s former world record holder Asafa Powell who rose to the challenge, winning in 9.94sec to total 26 points, two more than third placed Ben Youssef Meite of the Ivory Coast.
Ivana Spanovic finished once place below Brittney Reese in the women’s long jump, just as she did in taking bronze at the Rio Olympics.
But on this occasion the Serbian – whose best of 6.93m was just 2cm short of the American’s – ended up as overall winner as she confirmed her Diamond Race victory in emphatic fashion, finishing more than 30 points clear of Reese in the final standings.
Darya Klishina, the only Russian track and field athlete currently cleared to compete internationally, made the most of her opportunity with third place and a best of 6.63, with US Olympic champion Tianna Bartoletta sixth with 6.51.
Spanovic lifted the Serbian record to 7.08m in Rio, but it was clearly not enough for her.
Sandra Perkovic, who successfully defended her Olympic discus title in Rio, completed the formality of collecting her fifth consecutive Diamond Trophy win as a winning throw of 68.44 saw her finish more than four metres clear of France’s Melina Robert-Michon.
The Croatian finished more than 50 points clear of the Frenchwoman overall, and is now seeking to complete an unbeaten season in the Zagreb meeting.
Olympic and world triple jump champion Christian Taylor, another de facto overall winner, secured his Trophy in style as he produced a meeting record of 17.80m.
Hagos Gebrhiwet of Ethiopia secured the men’s 5,000m Diamond Race trophy as he earned 20 points – totals are doubled for the final – with victory in 13:14.82 ahead of Paul Chelimo of the US, the Olympic silver medallist.
LaShawn Merritt of the US, favourite to win the overall men’s 400m honours, did so with victory in 44.64.