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

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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.

1.Alfred KIPKETERKEN961:44.47
2.Adam KSZCZOTPOL891:44.49 SB
3.Marcin LEWANDOWSKIPOL871:44.59 SB
4.Brandon MCBRIDECAN941:44.90
5.Jonathan KITILITKEN941:45.00
6.Michael RIMMERGBR861:45.38
7.Samir DAHMANIFRA911:45.51 PB
8.Nicholas Kiplangat KIPKOECHKEN921:46.35
9.Luke MATHEWSAUS951:47.00
10.Brice ETESMON841:48.73 SB

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

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.

1.Conseslus KIPRUTOKEN948:08.11
2.Paul Kipsiele KOECHKEN818:08.32 SB
3.Barnabas KIPYEGOKEN958:09.13 PB
4.Soufiane EL BAKKALIMAR968:14.41 PB
5.Abraham KIBIWOTTKEN968:14.84
6.Andrew BAYERUSA908:17.39 PB
7.Lawrence Kemboi KIPSANGKEN938:19.15
8.Sebastián MARTOSESP898:19.33 SB
9.John KOECHBRN958:20.11
10.Benjamin KIPLAGATUGA898:20.35 SB
11.Abdelhamid ZERRIFIALG868:28.14 SB
12.Valentin PEPIOTFRA918:30.28PB
13.Jigisa TOLOSAETH968:43.46
14.Mitko TSENOVBUL938:46.14

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.”

1.Hellen OBIRIKEN898:24.27
2.Mercy CHERONOKEN918:27.25
3.Janet KISAKEN928:28.33 PB
4.Karoline Bjerkeli GRØVDALNOR908:39.47 PB
5.Stephanie TWELLGBR898:40.98 PB
6.Nicole SIFUENTESCAN868:46.25 PB
7.Katie MACKEYUSA878:46.58 PB
8.Dominique SCOTTRSA928:46.65 PB
9.Dera DIDAETH968:48.31 PB
10.Gabriele GRUNEWALDUSA868:59.72
11.Rosie CLARKEGBR919:15.04 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

1.Dafne SCHIPPERSNED9210.94
2.Veronica CAMPBELL-BROWNJAM8211.12
3.Carina HORNRSA8911.14
4.Morolake AKINOSUNUSA9411.18
5.Tianna BARTOLETTAUSA8511.21
6.Desiree HENRYGBR9511.21
7.Madiea GHAFOORNED9211.60
Marie-Josee TA LOUCIV88DQ

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

1.Orlando ORTEGAESP9113.04 SB
2.Dimitri BASCOUFRA8713.12 PB
4.Wilhem BELOCIANFRA9513.42
5.Balázs BAJIHUN8913.45
6.Damian CZYKIERPOL9213.64
7.Antonio ALKANARSA9013.66
8.Omar MCLEODJAM9416.82

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

1.Alonso EDWARDPAN8920.10
2.Christophe LEMAITREFRA9020.24
3.Churandy MARTINANED8420.29
4.Nery BRENESCRC8520.33
5.Shota IIZUKAJPN9120.39
6.Julian FORTEJAM9320.40
7.Yancarlos MARTÍNEZDOM9220.56
8.James ELLINGTONGBR8520.59

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.

1.Wayde VAN NIEKERKRSA9244.12
2.Machel CEDENIOTTO9544.34 PB
3.Bralon TAPLINGRN9244.38 PB
4.Tony MCQUAYUSA9044.79
5.Isaac MAKWALABOT8644.90
6.Pavel MASLÁKCZE9145.13 SB
7.Kevin BORLÉEBEL8845.36
8.Mame-Ibra ANNEFRA8945.82

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.

1.Eilidh DOYLEGBR8754.09
2.Cassandra TATEUSA9054.63
3.Sara PETERSENDEN8754.81
4.Wenda THERON NELRSA8854.93
5.Léa SPRUNGERSUI9055.42
6.Shamier LITTLEUSA9555.73
7.Phara ANACHARSISFRA8356.20
8.Ashley SPENCERUSA9356.46

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.

1.Gianmarco TAMBERIITA922.39 NR
3.Majed Aldin GHAZALSYR872.34
4.Robbie GRABARZGBR872.31 SB
4.Mutaz Essa BARSHIMQAT912.31
6.Donald THOMASBAH842.31 SB
7.Derek DROUINCAN902.27
8.Chris BAKERGBR912.22

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.

1.Damar FORBESJAM908.23+1.5
2.Fabrice LAPIERREAUS838.21+1.3
3.Xinglong GAOCHN948.00+0.6
4.Rushwal SAMAAIRSA917.93+1.6
5.Michael HARTFIELDUSA907.93+1.1
6.Changzhou HUANGCHN947.79+1.4
7.Tyrone SMITHBER847.56+1.0
8.Kevin MAYERFRA927.51+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.

1.Caterine IBARGUENCOL8414.96-0.2
2.Yulimar ROJASVEN9514.64+0.7
3.Kimberly WILLIAMSJAM8814.47-1.0
4.Patrícia MAMONAPOR8814.24+0.9
5.Olha SALADUKHAUKR8314.03+0.7
6.Olga RYPAKOVAKAZ8413.97+0.6
7.Jeanine ASSANI ISSOUFFRA9213.68+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.

1.Valerie ADAMSNZL8420.05
2.Christina SCHWANITZGER8519.81
3.Michelle CARTERUSA8519.58
4.Tia BROOKSUSA9019.13
5.Anita MÁRTONHUN8918.36
6.Cleopatra BORELTTO7917.79
7.Emel DERELİTUR9617.39

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.

1.Tatsiana KHALADOVICHBLR9165.62
2.Kathryn MITCHELLAUS8263.80
3.Barbora ŠPOTÁKOVÁCZE8163.34
4.Madara PALAMEIKALAT8762.79
5.Sunette VILJOENRSA8360.17
6.Sara KOLAKCRO9559.97
7.Katharina MOLITORGER8358.63
8.Matilde ANDRAUDFRA8952.78

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.

2.Daniel STÅHLSWE9262.87
3.Mauricio ORTEGACOL9462.27
4.Zoltán KŐVÁGÓHUN7961.67
5.Gerd KANTEREST7961.60
6.David WROBELGER9160.33
7.Robert URBANEKPOL8759.62
8.Lois Maikel MARTÍNEZESP8158.43

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.

1.Katerina STEFANIDIGRE904.81
2.Yarisley SILVACUB874.71
3.Fabiana MURERBRA814.65
4.Holly BRADSHAWGBR914.65
5.Eliza MCCARTNEYNZL964.55
6.Ling LICHN

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