WARHOLM WINS IN EUROPEAN RECORD WHILE LEWANDOWSKI TAKES THE DREAM MILE
As the capacity crowd took their seats the skies cleared and the sun shone just in time for the start of the fifty-fourth edition of the prestigious Bislett Games, the fifth in this year’s World Athletics Diamond League series.
Warholm wins in style
The anticipated showdown between world lead and last year’s Bislett winner, Abderrahman Samba (QAT) and local hero Karsten Warholm may have been denied after Samba withdrew injured but Warholm definitely did not disappoint the home supporters with a characteristic run from the front in his favoured lane seven. After he safely negotiated the last hurdle there was only one winner as he sprinted to the line and a new European record, meeting record and personal best time of 47.33.
Warholm, the World and European champion, who added an indoor 400m crown to his cabinet earlier this year, fell to his knees in disbelief. Later he said, “That was unbelievable, my face said it all! I’m just so happy – it’s crazy to run a European record and it’s amazing to do it here at Bislett. My coach thought I would run 47.30 so he was nearly right. I’ve worked so hard during the winter with the pressure coming at me, so this is a special feeling, it’s the best in the world. It is worth the cramp – it is one of the best days of my life!”
Second place went to Ireland’s Thomas Barr in a season’s best time of 49.11 while Commonwealth champion, Kyron McMaster of the British Virgin Islands was third in 49.12.
Birthday boy, Lewandowski in dreamland
The historic Dream Mile brought perhaps one of the surprises of the evening when Poland’s Marcin Lewandowski came from behind to pip favourites’ Vincent Kibet and Ayanleh Souleiman to victory in the final gasps of the hard fought race. His time of 3:52.34 was a national record for Poland.
In the closest of finishes, Kenya’s Vincent Kibet was second in 3:52.38 with former Dream Mile winner, Ayanieh Souleiman from Djibouti, third in 3:52.66
A surprised and delighted Lewandowski said, “To win the Dream Mile is something big for me and believe me I am still in good training for Doha. I didn’t expect to win; the peak should come later. I am very happy what can you say I will celebrate not only my birthday but also this great win. It was actually my fist mile ever. I know my speed for 800m is helping me. They should not wait until the last 100m because then I can beat them.”
Double European champion, Jakob Ingebrigtsen was sixth in 3:53.04. Jakob, who last week graduated from high school, was disappointed but said, “I tried different tactics today and maybe got too excited with the crowd. This year I have been great in training but I have had a busy week at school this week.”
Sydney’s sensational finish
In a stacked field of Olympic, world and European champions the women’s 400m hurdles certainly lied up to the pre-meeting anticipation. America’s teenage sensation Sydney McLaughlin took the honours just pipping world leader, Dalilah Muhammad, who had led for most of the race, on the line.
McLaughlin’s winning time of 54.16 was just outside the youngster’s season’s best. She said, “I didn’t get out well. I hit the first hurdle with my knee but rcovered well by fighting back. I’ve got to work on my first half of the race, the second half is always my strongest. It was a really great field and exciting to be part of.”
Muhammad, who had won in both Doha and Rome, finished in 54.35. She said, “It was not my day, I lost and did not run under 54 seconds. I was not surprised by Sydney a I felt her there the whole race.”
In an American 1-2-3 third place sent to Shamier Little in 54.92.
Kenyans 1-2-3 in steeple
In a loaded field featuring no less than eleven of the world’s top 20 athletes the eagerly awaited 3000m steeplechase was always destined to be one of the races of the night.
After last year’s controversy with the height of one of the barriers, thankfully in tonight’s race all the news was firmly on the track with Kenya’s Norah Jeruto and Beatrice Chepkoech neck and neck for most of the race. On the backstraight the world record holder, Chepkoech tried to pull away but Jeruto dug in and after clearing the final obstacle she sprinted for the line with Chepkoech unable to respond. Jeruto’s winning time 9:03.71 is a new world lead.
Olympic silver medallist, Hyvin Kiyeng took third in 9:07.56 to ensure it was a Kenya 1-2-3.
Fourth placed Emma Coburn of the USA said after the race, “It was a good first steeple of the year. Yes maybe I expected a little fast but there was a lot of traffic so all is ok for me.”
Three PBs and a new Norwegian record
In the 3000m Ethiopia’s Selemon Barega accelerated from the bell to finish in a new personal best and world lead time of 7:32.17. Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegi also achieving a personal best with his second place in 7:33.26. In a fast and exciting finish, third placed Nicholas Kipkorir Kimeli also gained a PB (7:34.85).
Barega said, “It was very good that I wa sable to improve my personal best but I think I can run faster hopefully under 7.30. I want to qualify for Doha [World Championships] in both 5 and 10 km. I have never run the long distance but I am preparing to debut in July. It will be tough but I want to try.”
To the absolute joy of the noisy crowd and himself, home favourite, Henrik Ingebrigsten set a new national record finishing strongly in fourth in 7:36.85. He said, “I did pictures, selfies with all the great fans at Bislett. I must give back to them for their support. All of Bislett was with me.”
Clemons hurdles to victory
After a false start that led to disqualification for pre-race favourite Olympic champion, Brianna McNeal, (USA) the sprint hurdles was won by fellow American Christina Clemons in 12.69 with Sharika Nelvis, also USA, second in 12.74.
Clemons was happy with her race, saying “The crowd was great and it is mazing to come here to such great fans – track and field is much bigger over here than in the States. It was really good fun. I had to focus after the false start to put it out there and just be sharp. The start is my strong point and execution is the most important thing. It felt good to get the win. I am focussed now on the USA’s trails to make the team.”
Local favourite, Isabelle Pedersen improved her season’s best to finish sixth in 13.08.
Coleman and Schippers dominate the sprints
The eagerly awaited men’s 100m did not disappoint with world indoor 60m record holder, Christian Coleman of the USA storming to a new world lead time of 9.85 and marginally improving on his season opener of 9.86 in Shanghai.
On his win, Coleman said “I’m pretty excited about it, it was a good run and a pretty good time – now I’ll look back at the video and critique it. It wasn’t ideal conditions but the crowd made it exciting and I came for the victory.”
China’s Zhenye Xie was second in 10.01 just pipping USA’s Michael Rodgers who took third place in 10.04.
Putting her injury well behind her, Dafne Schippers gave herself an early birthday present comfortably taking the 200m victory in a season’s best time of 22.56 along with the maximum eight points. The double world champion said after the race, “I’m really happy with the win tonight. It’s so cool to race here because the crowd are so great. I’m coming back from injury and getting faster and faster. I just need more races so I will be in Rabat on Sunday.
Second place went to Canada’s Crystal Emmanuel in 22.89 with USA’s Jenna Prandini in third in 23.10.
Mariya masterful again
Double world champion, Mariya Lasitskene followed her 1.92m in Stockholm with another very comfortable winning performance clearing a season’s best 2.01m to take the maximum eight Diamond League points in the women’s high jump. She commented, “I must admit it was not so tough as I expected. Also the weather was better with even the sun coming out. I am happy to be on top of the world lists.”
Sweden’s Erika Kinsey finished second with a leap of 1.96m equalling her season’s best. Third place went to Mirela Demireva of Bulgaria in a season’s best jump of 1.94m.
In the shot put for women, China’s Lijiao Gong, world champion and last year’s Diamond Trophy winner, improved her second place in Shanghai to take maximum points with a throw of 19.51m in round five. She said, “This was an important win for me. I’m very excited to win but it wasn’t the result I wanted. It was too cold but the audience were friendly and helped a lot.”
America’s Chase Ealey pushed her all the way with her best throw of 19.20m coming in the second round. Afterwards she said, “There were some ups and downs but you have to work with the energy you get dealt. It was tough mentally and physically but anything over 19 metres I’m always happy with.”
Vetter wins with first throw
World champion, Germany’s Johannes Vetter in his first competition this season took just one throw of 85.27m to secure victory in the men’s javelin. However it came at a cost with Vetter retiring injured after this throw. He said, “I felt something in my right adducter like a needle so I stopped. I feel better that I am the winner but more concern for my health.”
Estonia’s Magnus Kirt’s was unable to beat his first throw of 84.74m which was enough for second place with China’s Chao-Tsun Cheng in third with his throw of 84.30m.
Victory for Kendricks and Ibarguen
In the pole vault, Sam Kendricks, the world champion from USA, followed his Diamond League victories in Doha and Stockholm with another fine performance clearing 5.91m at his third attempt. Kendricks said after the competition, “Mondo has a magic about him and I was sure he’d make it but I fell back on my experience to take the win. It’s my first time in this beautiful stadium ad I love it here. We weren’t battling each other, we’re all chasing the bars. Next I’ll compete at Pre and then do a couple more competitions in Europe. I will have time to give more in Doha.”
Second place went to Piotr Lisek of Poland on countback after he was one of three athletes to clear 5.81m. Cole Walsh of USA and Armand (Mondo) Duplantis of Sweden were third and fourth respectively.
Olympic champion, Caterine Ibarguen (COL), who won the long jump in Doha, was back competing in the triple jump this evening. She took the honours leaving it late and leaping a world lead14.79m with her fifth jump of the evening.
“It was tough today – I had had one really good jump. But this is a magical track and I wanted to win.”
USA’s Keturah Orji, who had led since round two, was second with a jump of 14.53m while Commonwealth games silver medallist Shanieka Rickets of Jamaica took third place with her final leap of 14.41m.
In non Diamond League events the men’s 800m was won by Ryan Shanchez (PUR) in 1:46.34 while in the women’s 800m Halimah Nakaayi of Uganda was first in 2:01.93 with Switzerland’s Selina Buchel in second.
Carol Austin for Bislett Games media team