Monaco Diamond League: Omar McLeod Loses for First Time in 2016, Van Niekerk Keeps Winning, National High Jump Record (And Injury) for Tamberi

July 15, 2016

Less than 24 hours and 20km away from the horrific terrorist attack in Nice, France, on Thursday night, the Diamond League resumed Friday in Monaco with a smaller crowd than normal (most of the fans usually are from Nice) and a somber mood.

The athletes wore black ribbons to honor those murdered on Thursday and the crowd observed a minute of silence before the meet began.

Once the action got underway, the fans witnessed an entertaining meet that saw Omar McLeod’s win streak come to an end and Wayde Van Niekerk’s continue. We recap everything below except the men’s 1500 and women’s 800, which are recapped separately.

Since this is, we start with the distance running events first.

Screenshot_2016-07-15-11-22-24Men’s 800: Alfred Kipketer Shows His Win at the Kenyan Trials Was No Fluke

Kipketer, the World Junior champ in 2014, is still only 19 years old officially, and his immense talent was on display once again today as he went to the front early and stayed there, holding off Poland’s European champion Adam Kszczot at the line to win, 1:44.47 to 1:44.49.

The Race

Kipketer and Canada’s NCAA runner-up Brandon McBride (running in an adidas singlet) got out the best and were shoulder-to-shoulder at 200, though still a bit behind rabbit Bram Som. Som hit the bell in 50.66 with Kipketer slightly behind in around 52 flat. Kszczot was tucked in on the inside in fifth place.

The backstretch is where things heated up. World leader Nicholas Kipkoech began moving up on the outside but could not get around Kipketer, who still led at 600 (1:18.36) with Kipkoech on his shoulder and McBride in third. 1:43 man Jonathan Kitlit put in a huge move on the final turn, but he couldn’t get by Kipketer either.

The final 100 meters was crazy. Kipketer began to pull away with 50 to go as Kitilit faded, but the Poles — Kszczot and Euro bronze silver medallist Marcin Lewandowski — were coming on strong. Kszczot, however, was boxed in back in sixth place with 100 to go and had a lot of work to do. First, he had to weave between Kipkoech and McBride and then move to the rail to go by Kitilit. Finally in second place with 50 to go, he found his way blocked on the inside by Kipketer and had to move again, this time to the outside to try to get the win. He closed the gap before the line, but not enough, finishing second in 1:44.49 to Kipketer’s 1:44.47. Lewandowski, who moved up well on the outside in the home stretch, was third in 1:44.59.

Pl. Athlete Nat. Birth Result
1. Alfred KIPKETER KEN 96 1:44.47
2. Adam KSZCZOT POL 89 1:44.49 SB
3. Marcin LEWANDOWSKI POL 87 1:44.59 SB
4. Brandon MCBRIDE CAN 94 1:44.90
5. Jonathan KITILIT KEN 94 1:45.00
6. Michael RIMMER GBR 86 1:45.38
7. Samir DAHMANI FRA 91 1:45.51 PB
8. Nicholas Kiplangat KIPKOECH KEN 92 1:46.35
9. Luke MATHEWS AUS 95 1:47.00
10. Brice ETES MON 84 1:48.73 SB

Quick Take #1: Kipketer did what you should as a middle-distance runner — he defended lane 1

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Too many times in middle-distance races, we’ve seen the leader get passed in the home stretch because they’re not running close enough to the rail. Sometimes that’s understandable — if an athlete came to the lead by moving out to lane 2, they shouldn’t run extra distance diagonally just to protect the rail.

But in Kipketer’s situation, if you’ve done the hard work to earn the lead coming off the final bend, why would you sacrifice all that by drifting outside for no reason and open up the possibility of an inside pass? He stayed exactly where he should have been and was rewarded with his first Diamond League victory.

Three years ago, when he won World Youths, Kipketer was a horrible tactical runner. He went out in 48.32 in that race and barely held on for the win in 1:48.01. The next year, he almost coughed up the lead on the anchor leg of the 4×800 at World Relays by going out in 49.0 and splitting just 1:48.8. But he managed his energy much better today, allowing Som a gap (even though Som only came through 400 at 50.66) and closing well to win in 1:44.47.

Kipketer was a World Championship finalist last year. Now that he’s figuring out how to run the 800, he’s a legitimate gold-medal threat in Rio.

Quick Take #2: Adam Kszczot has no one to blame but himself

Kszczot was upset with his performance today, telling the IAAF afterwards:

“I’m disappointed about this race. I was boxed in and couldn’t sprint in the last 150m. I know I could have run at least half a second faster but I had no space. Pity.”

Kszczot is right, but that’s the risk he runs by leaving it late in the 800. He made a similar complaint after the World Championship final last year when he took silver to David Rudisha’s gold.

Kszczot has one of the best closes in the sport, and he knows it. That’s why he doesn’t mind waiting until 150 or 100 to go for the right opening before attacking. Usually, something opens up, but Kszczot was only sixth with 100 to go and didn’t have many options this time. That forced him to weave in and out on the homestretch and dampened his kick just enough for Kipketer to emerge victorious.

Closer than Expected Closer than Expected

Men’s Steeple: Conseslus Kipruto Is The King of the Steeple in 2016

Conseslus Kipruto has run five Diamond League steeples in 2016 and he now has 5 victories after he won in Monaco in 8:08.11.

While Kipruto kept his Diamond League streak going and remains the favorite for gold in Rio, he still has not run under 8:00 (he ran 8:00.12 in Birmingham) as the pacemaking he wanted did not materialize here, leaving Kipruto visibly frustrated during the race.

The first pacemaker took the field through 1km in 2:40.54 and Kipruto nearly tripped on the rail after the pacer dropped out as the next pacer was going slower than he wanted. The second pacer, Lawrence Kipsang, slowed even more and when he stepped off the track after hitting 2km in 5:25.71, Kipruto glanced to his right at Kipsang and appeared to voice his displeasure.

A race was on now however, as Paul Koech and Barnabas Kipyego were with Kipruto at the bell. Koech came up on Kipruto’s shoulder on the final lap and tried to take the lead on the backstretch and over the final water barrier but Kipruto would not give it up. He pulled away on the final stretch and was glancing around, doing just enough to keep his perfect Diamond League season in place.

Kipruto’s final lap was roughly 61 and change but he didn’t appear to be going all-out.

Pl. Athlete Nat. Birth Result
1. Conseslus KIPRUTO KEN 94 8:08.11
2. Paul Kipsiele KOECH KEN 81 8:08.32 SB
3. Barnabas KIPYEGO KEN 95 8:09.13 PB
4. Soufiane EL BAKKALI MAR 96 8:14.41 PB
5. Abraham KIBIWOTT KEN 96 8:14.84
6. Andrew BAYER USA 90 8:17.39 PB
7. Lawrence Kemboi KIPSANG KEN 93 8:19.15
8. Sebastián MARTOS ESP 89 8:19.33 SB
9. John KOECH BRN 95 8:20.11
10. Benjamin KIPLAGAT UGA 89 8:20.35 SB
11. Abdelhamid ZERRIFI ALG 86 8:28.14 SB
12. Valentin PEPIOT FRA 91 8:30.28PB
13. Jigisa TOLOSA ETH 96 8:43.46
14. Mitko TSENOV BUL 93 8:46.14

QT: PR for Andy Bayer

Bayer, who was 4th at the US Trials, got a PR of 8:17.39 (previous best of 8:18.08). Nice to see him and Molly Ludlow bounce back well from 4th places at the Trials.

Women’s 3000m: Hellen Obiri Loves the 3k

Hellen Obiri, the 2012 World Indoor 3000m champ, will be running the 5000m at the Rio Olympics and she ran the 1500m at the London Olympics, but her best event is the 3000m and she showed that Friday night in Monaco.

Kenyans Obiri, Mercy Cherono (2013 World Champs silver medallist at 5000), and Janet Kisa were clear of the field after the rabbit took them through one kilometer. Obiri took over the leading with Cherono hanging on her and Kisa trying not to fall off. It stayed like that until the bell when Obiri just trounced Cherono over the final lap, running roughly 61 flat to get the comfortable win in 8:24.

A slow race in Rio greatly increases Obiri’s chance and she knows it as she said afterwards, “Rio will be anybody’s race because there will be no pacemakers.”

Pl. Athlete Nat. Birth Result
1. Hellen OBIRI KEN 89 8:24.27
2. Mercy CHERONO KEN 91 8:27.25
3. Janet KISA KEN 92 8:28.33 PB
4. Karoline Bjerkeli GRØVDAL NOR 90 8:39.47 PB
5. Stephanie TWELL GBR 89 8:40.98 PB
6. Nicole SIFUENTES CAN 86 8:46.25 PB
7. Katie MACKEY USA 87 8:46.58 PB
8. Dominique SCOTT RSA 92 8:46.65 PB
9. Dera DIDA ETH 96 8:48.31 PB
10. Gabriele GRUNEWALD USA 86 8:59.72
11. Rosie CLARKE GBR 91 9:15.04 PB

QT: PBs Central
3rd through 9th place all set PRs in this one, including Katie Mackey (8:46.58 here, previous PR 8:52.99) who came back from her disappointment at the Olympic Trials and Dom Scott in her first pro race.

Women’s 100m:  Schippers Wins Easily

Dafne Schippers may only be 6th on the world list in 2016 in the 100m, but she is very tough to beat. She got the comfortable win here in 10.94 into a .5 m/s headwind as Veronica Campbell-Brown was a distant second. Tianna Bartoletta, 2nd at the US Trials, was a nonfactor in 5th.

Schipper, who got silver at Worlds last year in the 100 and gold in the 200, has not finished lower than 2nd in a race this year.

Final, wind: -0.5

Pl. Athlete Nat. Birth Result
1. Dafne SCHIPPERS NED 92 10.94
2. Veronica CAMPBELL-BROWN JAM 82 11.12
3. Carina HORN RSA 89 11.14
4. Morolake AKINOSUN USA 94 11.18
5. Tianna BARTOLETTA USA 85 11.21
6. Desiree HENRY GBR 95 11.21
7. Madiea GHAFOOR NED 92 11.60
Marie-Josee TA LOU CIV 88 DQ

Men’s 110m Hurdles: All Good Things Come to An End as Omar McLeod Suffers First Loss of 2016

Former Arkansas star Omar Mcleod of Jamaica is no longer unbeaten in the 110 hurdles as he went crashing to the track and lost a shoe on the last hurdle. The fall didn’t cost the world leader McLeod the win as was already having a poor race. He had a horrible start but then did a good job of getting back into the mix until he hit the sixth hurdle pretty hard and lost some momentum and then totally bit it on the last hurdle.

In the end, the winner was Spain’s Orlando Ortega in 13.04 – moving him to #3 on the 2016 world list. Ortega may not be in Rio, however, as the IAAF has said that his transfer from Cuba won’t officially take place until November.

Race video

Results: Wind: 0.0

Pl. Athlete Nat. Birth Result
1. Orlando ORTEGA ESP 91 13.04 SB
2. Dimitri BASCOU FRA 87 13.12 PB
3. Pascal MARTINOT-LAGARDE FRA 91 13.17  SB
4. Wilhem BELOCIAN FRA 95 13.42
5. Balázs BAJI HUN 89 13.45
6. Damian CZYKIER POL 92 13.64
7. Antonio ALKANA RSA 90 13.66
8. Omar MCLEOD JAM 94 16.82

Men’s 200m: Alsonso Edward Stays Atop DL Standings

This wasn’t the strongest of fields and no doubt the hope was Christophe Lemaitre could impress the French fans in attendance. Lemaitre did get a season’s best of 20.24 (previous best 20.27) but it was no match for Alonso Edward, who got the win in 20.10 and remains atop the DL standings.

Edward got silver at Worlds in 2009, but still is only 26 years old.

Final, wind: +0.1

Pl. Athlete Nat. Birth Result
1. Alonso EDWARD PAN 89 20.10
2. Christophe LEMAITRE FRA 90 20.24
3. Churandy MARTINA NED 84 20.29
4. Nery BRENES CRC 85 20.33
5. Shota IIZUKA JPN 91 20.39
6. Julian FORTE JAM 93 20.40
7. Yancarlos MARTÍNEZ DOM 92 20.56
8. James ELLINGTON GBR 85 20.59

Men’s 400m: Van Niekerk Remains Unbeaten in 2016

Bralon Taplin of Grenada had the lead coming off the final bend, but then Wayde Van Niekerk showed why he is the reigning world champion. Niekerk hit the turbo boost and powered away for the win in 44.12 as Machel Cedenio of Trinidad and Tobago nipped Taplin for 2nd. Both men PR’d.

Pl. Athlete Nat. Birth Result
1. Wayde VAN NIEKERK RSA 92 44.12
2. Machel CEDENIO TTO 95 44.34 PB
3. Bralon TAPLIN GRN 92 44.38 PB
4. Tony MCQUAY USA 90 44.79
5. Isaac MAKWALA BOT 86 44.90
6. Pavel MASLÁK CZE 91 45.13 SB
7. Kevin BORLÉE BEL 88 45.36
8. Mame-Ibra ANNE FRA 89 45.82

QT: The Olympic 400m Final Will be a must watch event

Niekerk is behind LaShawn Merritt and Kirani James on the world lists in 2016, but he is undefeated in 2016 across all distances. Merritt, James, and Niekerk are all big-event performers all in the same event. The Olympic 400m should be a dandy.

QT: Happy Birthday van Niekerk

Today was Niekerk’s 24th birthday and his whole family was in Monaco to celebrate. He said, “It was a tough race but I’m taking every small thing as it comes. This is another opportunity I am given to fine tune my racing. Hopefully by the time the Olympics come, I will be ready. It’s a blessing to be able to celebrate my birthday here. All my family is here and I thank the organizers for allowing them to come. I’m looking forward to being back and celebrate with them.”

Screenshot_2016-07-15-11-12-09Women’s 400m Hurdles: Doyle Dominates and PBs

Britain’s Eilidh Doyle, the 2014 European champ, skipped the European Championships this year but was rewarded in a big way this evening as she was dominant in the 400 hurdles, winning in a new pb of 54.08 (previous pb of 54.22 from 2013). The 29-year-old Doyle is now the 6th fastest woman in the world for 2016 but she’s a medal contender as she’s now the 4th fastest of people that will be competing in Rio. In the race today, Doyle finished well up ahead of runner-up Casandra Tate (5th at US Trials last week) of the US, who was second in 54.63.

Tate wasn’t the only American looking for redemption here as 2016 world #2 Shamier Little raced, trying to get over the shock of not even making the finals at the 2016 US Olympic Trials last week, but she suffered another disappointment. Little was never a factor and finished 6th in 55.73. Ashley Spencer, the runner-up at the US Trials, was even worse as she was last in 56.46.

Doyle was ahead coming into the final straight but wasn’t thrilled with her final hurdle.

“I’m absolutely delighted. It wasn’t even a great race, the last hurdle was very poor so I think there’s a lot more to come. If I get it right, I can definitely go sub-54 seconds,” said Doyle.

Pl. Athlete Nat. Birth Result
1. Eilidh DOYLE GBR 87 54.09
2. Cassandra TATE USA 90 54.63
3. Sara PETERSEN DEN 87 54.81
4. Wenda THERON NEL RSA 88 54.93
5. Léa SPRUNGER SUI 90 55.42
6. Shamier LITTLE USA 95 55.73
7. Phara ANACHARSIS FRA 83 56.20
8. Ashley SPENCER USA 93 56.46

Men’s High Jump: National Record for Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy

Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy had already won the competition when he attempted his third attempt fat 2.39, and when he cleared it, it was a new national record. Watch the jump here:

The night ended badly for Tamberi as he was injured on his second attempt at 2.41 and had to leave on a stretcher as shown below.

World outdoor champ Derek Drouin struggled.

Pl. Athlete Nat. Birth Result
1. Gianmarco TAMBERI ITA 92 2.39 NR
2. Bohdan BONDARENKO UKR 89 2.37 SB
3. Majed Aldin GHAZAL SYR 87 2.34
4. Robbie GRABARZ GBR 87 2.31 SB
4. Mutaz Essa BARSHIM QAT 91 2.31
6. Donald THOMAS BAH 84 2.31 SB
7. Derek DROUIN CAN 90 2.27
8. Chris BAKER GBR 91 2.22

Men’s Long Jump: Former LSU Star Damar Forbes Gets First DL Win

Former LSU Tiger Damar Forbes, the 2013 NCAA champion, picked up the first Diamond League win of his career with a third-round jump of 8.23m (27′ 0″), a seasonal best, just off his 8.25m pb. The 25-year-old paid his respects to the victims of the Islamic terrorist attack in Nice (just 20km) away after his win.

“It’s amazing to win a DL and especially here in Monaco after what happened last night,” said Forbes. “The rhythm is there but I have to be patient and not be too quick or too fast on the board. That where the problem is. Every DL is to help me get to Rio. Rio is always on my mind.”

The US’s Mike Hartfield, who was 5th at USAs, was fifth here.

Pl. Athlete Nat. Birth Result Wind
1. Damar FORBES JAM 90 8.23 +1.5
2. Fabrice LAPIERRE AUS 83 8.21 +1.3
3. Xinglong GAO CHN 94 8.00 +0.6
4. Rushwal SAMAAI RSA 91 7.93 +1.6
5. Michael HARTFIELD USA 90 7.93 +1.1
6. Changzhou HUANG CHN 94 7.79 +1.4
7. Tyrone SMITH BER 84 7.56 +1.0
8. Kevin MAYER FRA 92 7.51 +0.4

Women’s Triple Jump: Order Is Restored as Caterine Ibarguen Wins Comfortably

Colombia’s Caterine Ibarguen rebounded from her first Diamond League loss in four years in Birmingham by returning to the top of the podium in Monaco, leaping 14.96m on her final attempt to earn the victory. Ibarguen’s second- and third-best jumps (14.87, 14.82) would also have won the competition over World Indoor champ Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela.

Pl. Athlete Nat. Birth Result Wind
1. Caterine IBARGUEN COL 84 14.96 -0.2
2. Yulimar ROJAS VEN 95 14.64 +0.7
3. Kimberly WILLIAMS JAM 88 14.47 -1.0
4. Patrícia MAMONA POR 88 14.24 +0.9
5. Olha SALADUKHA UKR 83 14.03 +0.7
6. Olga RYPAKOVA KAZ 84 13.97 +0.6
7. Jeanine ASSANI ISSOUF FRA 92 13.68 +0.8

Women’s Shot Put: Valerie Adams Wins High-Profile Showdown

In a showdown between the reigning World (Christina Schwanitz), Olympic (Valerie Adams) and World Indoor (Michelle Carter) champs, it was Valerie Adams that emerged victorious, surpassing 20 meters for the first time since 2014. Adams has lost just one of her eight competitions outdoors this year.

Pl. Athlete Nat. Birth Result
1. Valerie ADAMS NZL 84 20.05
2. Christina SCHWANITZ GER 85 19.81
3. Michelle CARTER USA 85 19.58
4. Tia BROOKS USA 90 19.13
5. Anita MÁRTON HUN 89 18.36
6. Cleopatra BOREL TTO 79 17.79
7. Emel DERELİ TUR 96 17.39

Women’s Javelin: Khaladovich Keeps Winning

Belarus’s Tatsiana Khaladovich won the women’s javelin with her first-round throw of 65.62m (215′ 3″), a throw not too far off the pb and national record she threw to win Europeans last week (66.34m). 34-year-old Kathryn Mitchell of Australia, who was second in Doha and Birmingham, was second once again. 2008 and 2012 Olympic champ Barbora Špotáková, who was just 5th at Europeans, was third.

Pl. Athlete Nat. Birth Result
1. Tatsiana KHALADOVICH BLR 91 65.62
2. Kathryn MITCHELL AUS 82 63.80
3. Barbora ŠPOTÁKOVÁ CZE 81 63.34
4. Madara PALAMEIKA LAT 87 62.79
5. Sunette VILJOEN RSA 83 60.17
6. Sara KOLAK CRO 95 59.97
7. Katharina MOLITOR GER 83 58.63
8. Matilde ANDRAUD FRA 89 52.78

Men’s Discus:  Piotr Malachowski Dominates

Any of Piotr Malachowski four legal throws would have been good enough to win the discus as he increased his lead in the Diamond League standings.

Pl. Athlete Nat. Birth Result
1. Piotr MAŁACHOWSKI POL 83 65.57
2. Daniel STÅHL SWE 92 62.87
3. Mauricio ORTEGA COL 94 62.27
4. Zoltán KŐVÁGÓ HUN 79 61.67
5. Gerd KANTER EST 79 61.60
6. David WROBEL GER 91 60.33
7. Robert URBANEK POL 87 59.62
8. Lois Maikel MARTÍNEZ ESP 81 58.43

Women’s Pole Vault: Katerina Stefanidi Wins Comfortably

Stefanidi only needed two attempts tonight to earn the victory, clearing 4.65m and 4.76m as World Champ Yarisley Silva of Cuba cleared 4.71m but missed all three attempts at 4.81m. Stefanidi cleared 4.81m as well for good measure but came up short on three tries at 4.93m, which would have been a pb.

Pl. Athlete Nat. Birth Result
1. Katerina STEFANIDI GRE 90 4.81
2. Yarisley SILVA CUB 87 4.71
3. Fabiana MURER BRA 81 4.65
4. Holly BRADSHAW GBR 91 4.65
5. Eliza MCCARTNEY NZL 96 4.55
6. Ling LI CHN

More LRC Recaps: Men’s 1500 and Women’s 800.

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