July 24, 2015
On a cold and rainy day in London, there were some fireworks on the track and some big-time star power thanks to Usain Bolt and Mo Farah.
Usain Bolt’s return to the Diamond League gets its own article here. We recap everything else from Friday in London, starting with Mo Farah’s 3000m win below. Day 2 of the meet is Saturday (TV broadcast begins at 10:00 a.m. ET).
Men’s 3000: Mo Farah Thrashes The Field Over The Final 200m To Win Easily
There was never a question on who was going to win this race. Mo Farah was head and shoulders better than everyone else on paper and he showed it.
The only question was would the race be fast and the answer was no, thanks to a 4:07 opening 1600. The pace then picked up and at 2000 (5:07.74) Farah took the lead and began pushing. Australia’s Collis Birmingham was still with him at the bell and then it was the Mo Farah show. He ran a 55.34 final lap to absolutely destroy everyone. Morocco’s Othmane El Goumri and Kenya’s Emmanuel Kipsang held on until the final 200m, but once Farah unleashed his kick no one could come close to matching it.
Farah won easily in a world-leading 7:34.66 while El Goumri was second in a new PR of 7:36.71. Kipsang was third, Ethiopia’s Yenew Alamirew 4th (7:38.47) and Collis Birmingham was left back in 5th (7:39.85).
And the Americans? Bernard Lagat, Chris Derrick and Lopez Lomong were never in contention (we barely noticed they were in the race), finishing back in 7th, 8th and 9th.
Farah’s time was an outdoor PB (previous PB: 7:36.85) though he has run faster indoors (7:34.47 in 2009). He missed the British record of 7:32.79 (by Dave Moorcroft from 1982) by 1.87-seconds.
Quick Thought #1: Mo Farah Had Time to Finish and Do His “Bolt” Celebration Before 2nd Place Finished
Look at the photo above. It speaks for itself. A clean-shaven Farah had time to finish and celebrate before second and third finished.
He enjoyed the win as he said post-race, “I got amazing support tonight which was incredible. It meant everything to me tonight, this is where I made my name and it changed my life to win and become Olympic champion here.”
Quick Thought #2: Dear Kenyans and Ethiopians, don’t let Worlds be tactical. You will lose.
In case you missed it, last week Mo Farah ran 3:28.93 at the Monaco Diamond League meet. Sure he was “only” fourth place, but fourth place in 3:28 as a 5,000/10,000 specialist. Today that incredible speed was on display again as he absolutely destroyed this field over the final 150 meters. With 300m to go there were six men still in contention and as a spectator you began to think, “Surely one of these other five guys has something left to at least challenge Farah?” But no, they didn’t. For 2800m they made it interesting, going with Farah’s surges, throwing in surges of their own and hanging in there until the end. However, in the final straight it was absolutely no contest. It wasn’t simply Farah’s 2.05-second winning margin that made his win so impressive, it was how quickly he built up that margin. Once Farah finally decided to turn it on with 150m left, no one could come close to matching it.
With this kind of speed, it’s very hard to see anyone challenging Farah in a slow race if Worlds is tactical. Even Asbel Kiprop acknowledged this a week ago when he said, “Farah is in a class of his own in 5,000m. His 1,500m personal best tells it all since no Kenyan athlete in 5,000m has that time.”
Quick Thought #3: How Does This Race Compare To Caleb Ndiku’s In Monaco Last Week?
Playing devil’s advocate on our point above, maybe Kenya’s world indoor champion Caleb Ndiku has the speed to stick with Mo Farah. Last week in Monaco, Ndiku won the 3,000 in a then-world-leading 7:35.13. His splits in that race were almost exactly the same as Farah’s today (2:34 for the first 1K, 5:07 at 2K) and he kicked away in the last lap to get the win just like Farah did today (Ndiku closed in 55.6, Farah in 55.34).
However, Farah’s race struck us as superior for a few reasons. First, it was faster as Farah ran a new world lead with 7:34.66 (.47 faster than Ndiku). Then there is the fact that Farah won by a greater margin of victory (2.05 vs 1.26 seconds) even though he waited longer to start kicking. Farah really only turned it on with 150m to go while Ndiku made a big move at 300m and almost had the field come back on him. Making a direct comparison to the only runner who was in both races, Farah beat Yenew Alamriew by 3.81 seconds while Ndiku only beat him by 1.26. Overall, Farah looked smooth getting an easy win here while Ndiku had to work for his. That said, it was only Ndiku’s second race back from injury so he isn’t as sharp as Farah right and has more room for improvement between now and Beijing.
Quick Thought #4: What Does This Mean For Yenew Alamirew?
Last week the Ethiopian Federation announced their team for Worlds and 12:48 man Yenew Alamirew was on it. However, Alamirew was one of four names listed in the 5,000 along with Yomif Kejelcha, Hagos Gebrhiwet and Dejen Gebremeskel. Ethiopia can only send three men to Beijing, so someone will be left at home. Based on the article, Kejelcha’s spot is the only one guaranteed. Out of the other three it’s hard to say who will be selected. Gebrhiwet ran well early in the season and actually beat Farah over 3000 in Doha, but hasn’t raced since June 4. Alamirew has been competitive (but lost) in the last two Diamond League 3Ks while Gebremeskel just won a 5000 in Belgium in 13:05. A tough decision; we’d like to know why Gebrhiwet hasn’t raced in 7 weeks before we choose.
Quick Thought #5: Has Father Time Finally Caught Up With Bernard Lagat?
This past winter Bernard Lagat turned 40 years old and it looks like his biological clock might have finally caught up with him. Don’t get us wrong, he’s not running poor times or finishing like someone who can’t hack it anymore. Today he was still 7th in a Diamond League race and finished as the first American, beating out two much younger guys in Chris Derrick and Lopez Lomong. That said, he’s not running like the former world champion who is known for his devastating kick. Lagat seems to have lost a step even compared to last year when he was second at world indoors or this past indoor season when he ran a world masters record of 7:37.71. Maybe he’s just having an off season or string of bad races. Or maybe he’s finally feeling his age.
|Pl.||Athlete / Team||Cnt.||Birth||Result||Score|
|1.||Mo FARAH||GBR||83||7:34.66||1210||WL, PB|
|2.||Othmane EL GOUMRI||MAR||92||7:36.71||1197||PB|
|14.||Frederick Kipkosgei KIPTOO||KEN||96||7:58.31||1066|
Women’s 1500: Laura Weightman Gets the Win Before the Home Crowd
We can’t prove it, but sometimes 30-40,000 fans cheering for you can make the difference in a track race.
Britain’s Laura Weightman got the win here over Americans Gabe Grunewald and Katie Mackey in 4:06.09 as she took the lead at the bell and never gave it up despite pressure the entire final lap. Grunewald was a close second, Mackey third, and Rababe Arafi fourth.
After an honest opening 400m (63.91), the pace slowed the second lap (2:12.21) and this was going to come down to the final lap. Weightman took the lead just before the bell (3:18.56) and was stalked by Grunewald, Mackey, and Gudaf Tsegay, the runner-up at World Juniors last year.
Weightman led onto the backstretch when Tsegay ran up on her and appeared to stumble on the rail. She immediately went backwards, before recovering a bit to finish in 8th in 4:10.01 but she would be carted off the track in a wheelchair.
Weightman kept leading and around the turn Grunewald came up on her shoulder and would stalk her down the homestretch. But Weightman had the support of the home crowd, never gave up the lead and held on for the win.
Behind the top places, Treniere Moser never contended for the win in this one but finished 5th, ahead of Americans Rachel Scheider and Sarah Brown. Two Americans, Lauren Johnson (3rd to last) and Mary Cain (2nd to last) really struggled in this one.
Quick Thought #1: A Career Day For Laura Weightman
This was a big day for Weightman, who got the biggest victory of her career against an international field. She had won races at UK national championships before, but never at anything as big as a Diamond League meet against international competition (although this race doesn’t count for DL points). Add that to the prestige of doing it at home in the London Olympic Stadium.
This was a great opportunity for anyone in the field to win a race before tens of thousands of fans and Weightman took advantage. After the race she was thrilled saying, “I really wanted that today, it was really important that I got the win. … I’ve struggled over the last couple of weeks which is unusual for me, but I needed a good race like that tonight.”
Quick Thought #2: Mary Cain Going Backwards
For a couple races after her disappointing finish at USAs (where she was only 8th in the 1500 final) Mary Cain had looked as though she was on the upswing. A week after USAs she ran 9:05 for 3000 in a race won by Abbey D’Agostino in 8:58 and then followed that up a week later with a season’s best 4:09.08 1500 in Belgium where she was 4th and less than two seconds behind the winner (Rachel Schneider). But now, her last two races have been a disaster. At Heusden last week she was 17th in the 1500 with a 4:11.76 and today she was over a second slower (4:12.89) in second-to-last place (13th). The Mary Cain of two years ago would have likely won this race; today she was a non factor.
QT #3: Lauren Johnson is Going to Worlds But Struggling in Europe
Lauren Johnson was coming off a three-second PR of 4:04.17 last Saturday, however that was her only good race in now five tries in Europe this year. Her other races are 4:16, 4:10, DNF and now 4:12 here. However, thanks to her 4th-place finish at USAs and the 4:04 last week, she’ll be going to Worlds.
Men’s 200: Britain Has a Gift in 20-Year-Old Zharnel Hughes
Three weeks ago, no Brit had won a Diamond League short sprint race. Now, thanks to Zharnel Hughes, who recently announced he’ll be representing Great Britain at Worlds, GB has two DL sprint victories. Hughes followed up his win in Lausanne by running 20.05 into a 1.4 m/s headwind, pulling away from Dedric Dukes and Anaso Jobodwana over the final 50 meters. The time was a PB for Hughes by .08 of a second.
LRC did a profile on Hughes last year. He has British citizenship as he’s from Anguila, which is a British overseas territory. His mother is from Jamaica, so there was some talk of him competing for Jamaica, but he has chosen Great Britain.
Hughes turned 20 on July 13 and would have gone under 20.00 tonight under better conditions. It would have made him the fourth-youngest man to break 20.
Men who have broken 20.00 before turning 21 years old
- Usain Bolt, 17 years, 7 months, 21 days
- Alonso Edward, 19 years, 8 months, 12 days
- Adam Gemili, 19 years, 10 months, 10 days
- Wallace Spearmon, 20 years, 3 months, 24 days
- Don Quarrie, 20 years, 5 months, 9 days
- John Capel, 20 years, 6 months, 19 days
- Yohan Blake, 20 years, 6 months, 26 days
- Xavier Carter, 20 years, 7 months, 3 days
- Francis Obikwelu, 20 years, 9 months, 3 days
- LaShawn Merritt, 20 years, 10 months, 23 days
- Joe DeLoach, 20 years, 11 months, 10 days
Men’s 110 hurdles: Pascal Martinot-Lagarde Lets One Get Away
France’s Pascal Martinot-Lagarde appeared to have the race won, but 2011 world champ Jason Richardson closed much harder off the final hurdle as Martinot-Lagarde hit hurdle 10 and then mistimed his lean. Richardson got the win in 13.19 as times were slowed due to a 1.5 m/s headwind.
Final, wind: -1.5
Women’s 100 hurdles: Jasmin Stowers is Back to Her Winning Ways
Jasmin Stowers used a late burst of speed over the final four hurdles to leave the rest of the field in the dust, running 12.47 to earn the win into a 1.2 m/s headwind, her fastest wind-legal time since May 15. 2012 Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill returned to the scene of her greatest triumph and finished fifth in 12.79, her second-fastest 100 hurdles performance ever (behind only her time in the Olympic heptathlon).
Stowers dominated the early season when she finished races, then was only 5th at USAs (and will not be going to Worlds as a result), 2nd in Lausanne, 4th in Monaco, but now has won two straight.
Final, wind: -1.2
Women’s 400m: Natasha Hastings Takes Down Francena McCorory
Natasha Hastings, the US runner-up, got the win and a season’s best of .01 over Francena McCorory who ran a world-leading 49.83 a week ago in Monaco. A nice run for Hastings in less than ideal conditions.
|3.||Stephenie Ann MCPHERSON||JAM||88||50.91|
Women’s 400 hurdles: Hejnova Wins Again
Reigning world champ Zuzana Hejnova of the Czech Republic followed up her win in Paris three weeks ago with another victory here, running 53.99 to get the win over American Georganne Moline (54.24) who set a season’s best in second.
|5.||Wenda THERON NEL||RSA||88||54.81|
Men’s discus: Belgian Milanov Gets His First Diamond League Win
24-year-old Belgian Philip Milanov earned his first career DL victory, tossing 65.14 meters on his fourth attempt.
Men’s high jump
Marco Fassinotti earned his first career Diamond League victory as his clearance of 2.31 meters was enough to get the win in rainy conditions. No one had won a DL event with a lower clearance since Cyprus’ Kyriakos Ioannou won with 2.28 in Oslo in June 2011. It was a great day for Italy, as in addition to Fassinotti’s win, countryman Gianmarco Tamberi beat out Mutaz Essa Barshim for second place on countbacks.
|Pl.||Athlete / Team||Cnt.||Birth||Result||Score|
|3.||Mutaz Essa BARSHIM||QAT||91||2.28||1161|
Women’s triple jump
With Colombia’s Caterine Ibarguen competing at the Pan American Games in Toronto (she won the gold medal on Tuesday), this event was wide open and Kazakhstan’s Olga Rypakova took advantage, coming up with a clutch 14.33m leap on her final attempt to take her first Diamond League victory in almost three years. Jamaica’s Kimberly Williams, who led through the first five rounds, also saved her best for last, jumping 14.15m in the final round, but it was only good for second.
|Pl.||Athlete / Team||Cnt.||Birth||Result||Wind||Score|
|6.||Jeanine ASSANI ISSOUF||FRA||92||13.33||+0.5||1031|
|8.||Teresa NZOLA MESO BA||FRA||83||13.11||+1.1||1006|