Rest of Rome Recap: Jemma Reekie Earns Revenge, & Elaine Thompson Is BACK

September 17, 2020

The final European Diamond League track and field/athletics meeting of the 2020 season did not disappoint this evening. The 2020  Golden Gala Pietro Mennea on Thursday entertained from start to finish as Karsten Warholm gave the 400 hurdle world record a scare, Mondo Duplantis broke the outdoor pole vault world record, and the 3k battle between Jakob Ingebrigtsen and Jacob Kiplimo more than lived up to the hype. Those three events were so good we gave them their own recap.

We recap the rest of the meet for you below, starting with the women’s 800.

*Full results

Women’s 800: Reekie wins it with a negative-split

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Perhaps because several of these women were coming off fast times two days ago in Bellinzona, no one wanted to go with the rabbit early on in this race. Great Britain’s Jemma Reekie found herself in the lead at 200, followed by training partner Laura Muir and Norway’s Hedda Hynne, but they allowed the gap to pacer Souliath Saka to grow down the home straight.

Saka hit 400 well clear of the field in 59.36. Sensing an opportunity to make something happen, American Kaela Edwards charged from ninth to first down the home straight and hit the bell as the first racer in 60.7, the rest of the pack bunched close behind her.

Muir, in danger of getting swallowed up in the pack, made a hard move on the outside to seize the lead with 200 to go. But unlike in her recent 1500 victories, this time she had company, and with 130 to go, Reekie passed her into the lead. Hynne passed her at the top of the home straight as well, but while Muir did well to hold on for third, neither she nor Hynne could touch Reekie, who used a big negative split (60.7-59.0) to win in 1:59.77 to Hynne’s 2:00.24.

Quick Take: Reekie earns revenge

Though the slow first lap meant that Reekie was unable to recapture her world leader from Hynne, she showed admirable resilience to bounce back from her upset defeat on Tuesday and win in Rome. Hynne, meanwhile, proved she was for real, defeating Muir and finishing a solid second after her breakthrough 1:58.10 personal best on Tuesday.

Women’s 100: Thompson DOMINATES with world lead

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In her first European race of the year, 2016 Olympic 100 and 200 champ Elaine Thompson was sensational as she destroyed the field to capture the women’s 100 in a world-leading 10.85 as 2018 NCAA champ Aleia Hobbs of the US was second in a seasonal best 11.12.

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Thompson was thrilled with her run. “I leave here with the world-leading time, I’m super excited. This tells me where I am at the end of this season, and tells me how I can prepare for next year,” said Thompson.

Men’s 100: Simbine wins and breaks 10.00

The Ivory Coast’s Arthur Cisse got out well and led early but South Africa’s Akani Simbine ran him down late to win in a seasonal best 9.96 (0.3 m/s wind) as Cisse was second in 10.04. Simbine is now #3 on the 2020 world list (four men have broken 10.00 this year; 19 did it last year).

Men’s 400: Scotti PRs and wins

Italy’s Edoardo Scotti was only 4th coming off the final turn and 4th with 50 meters remaining but he had the best finish and got the win in a personal best of 45.22 (previous pb of 45.48).

The big story in this one however was that world record holder Wayde van Niekerk was a DNS. Van Niekerk, who ran his first race in Europe since 2017 on Tuesday (45.58 victory in Bellinzona, Switzerland) had to return to South Africa to deal with a family emergency according to the international announcers.

The world lead this year in the 400 is just 44.91. The last time the world lead was slower than that was way back in 1979 when Germany’s Harald Schmid led the world at 44.92.

MB: 44.91 is the world leader this year in the 400. Guess when the last time the world #1 was this slow?

Women’s 400: Klaver wins

The Netherlands’ Lieke Klaver, 22, dominated the women’s 400 by winning in 50.98, which was a big PB for her (51.39 previous pb) as Lithuania’s Agne Serksniene was second in 51.80. Klaver is now just the third woman in 2020 to break 51 seconds. 20 women did it last year. 

50.50 is the 2020 world lead. The world lead hasn’t been that slow since 1975 when Poland’s Irena Szewinska led the world with her 50.5 (1989 was the only year since then that the world lead has been over 50.00 and that year the world lead was 50.01).

Men’s 110 Hurdles: Pozzi dominates

Brit Andrew Pozzi, the 2020 world #2 at 13.14, who lives and trains in Italy, picked up a comfortable win in 13.15. Piozi, the 2018 world indoor champ, had the lead midway through this one and never gave it up as American Aaron Mallet was second in 13.34, equaling his PB that he first set just two days ago in Switzerland.

Women’s 100 hurdles: Visser wins

Nadine Visser of the Netherlands lived up to her favorite status as she won the race in 12.72, a time that no one else in the field had run this year.

Women’s 400h: Bol wins again, goes sub-54

Femke Bol‘s undefeated 400 season continued as she won in 53.90, the second sub-54 clocking of her career. The 20-year-old reflected on what the season has meant to her after the race. 

“Competing at senior level is still crazy for me. Being able to take part in a Diamond League event is something I have always dreamt about. This year I have been able to do it, and on top of that do it with amazing times, so I’m just really [happy] about it all,” said Bol.

Field Events

Men’s high jump: Protsenko ruins the Italian party

Italy claimed two of the top three spots in the men’s high jump with Gianmarco Tamberi and Stefano Sottile, but the win went to Ukraine’s Andriy Protsenko, who cleared a best of 2.30m to earn victory.

Women’s high jump: Levchenko leads Ukrainian 1-2

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With world champ Mariya Lasitskene unable to compete in 2020, the high jump has belonged to Ukrainians Yuliya Levchenko and Yaroslava Mahuchikh. In all, they have competed in the same meet eight times, and they have gone 1-2 in seven of them. Tonight was no different, as Levchenko won the competition without a miss, clearing a best of 1.98 (with the win wrapped up, she missed three attempts at 2.01). For the year, Mahuchikh is still ahead, however, with a 5-3 head-to-head record.

Men’s shot put: Ponzio leads US 1-2

America’s best shot putter, Ryan Crouser, was competing in Belgrade today instead, leaving the win up for grabs here. Nick Ponzio, the US indoor runner-up behind Crouser in February, stepped up to win with a winning toss of 21.09m in round two, good enough to edge out fellow American Payton Otterdahl (20.85) in second.

More: MB: Official 2020 Rome DL Live Discussion Thread

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