Farah steals show with thrilling finale in London
Mo Farah brought the house down on his home track as he warmed up for the IAAF World Championships in less than a month with a brilliant victory in the 3000m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting London yesterday, reports european-athletics.org.
Farah will be bidding to become the first man to win the 5000-10,000m double three times in a row at those championships, at the same venue where he won double Olympic gold in 2012.
In his last race before the championships, Farah broke away to win in 7:35.15, fending off the challenge of Spain’s Adel Mechaal and fellow Briton Andrew Butchart, who were second and third respectively in 7:36.32 and 7:37.56.
“I love running here,” commented Farah. “It is home to me and I cannot wait for the championships. The preparation is going well, I am ticking all the boxes.”
It was typical Farah, as he stayed in the middle of the field as Butchart took over, before he led with 700 metres left and then broke away with 80 metres to go.
In Javelin, Barbora Spotakova showed that class remains permanent as the world record-holder produced a sensational final throw of 68.26m to triumph to beat Rio 2016 Olympic Games champion, Sara Kolak.
The beam across the face of the Czech star matched the sun as it shone around the Olympic Stadium as she raised her right hand in celebration even before the scoreboard had showed the distance of her last attempt.
She knew it was good, the crowd knew it was good and when it flashed up, confirmed she had broken the meeting record which had been set only three rounds earlier when Kolak landed the spear at 67.83m, which had overtaken Christina Obergfoll’s 2011 mark of 66.74m.
Three days after her victory at the Diamond League in Lausanne, when she broke the Croatian national record with her world-leading distance of 68.43m and had overtaken Spotakova, almost 14 years her senior, in the last round, it was a reversal of fortunes for Kolak.
The Czech was in second with 66.34m from round four but, in contrast to Lausanne, had plenty left for her finale. Kolak had the last throw but she could not improve with 65.64m.
“It was such a fantastic day,” said Spotakova. “I didn’t expect such a big throw, even though I knew I was in good shape. Now I have to keep my form until August. It’s pretty even with me and a couple of the other girls so I cannot underestimate anyone.”
Stahl has a golden look about him
Daniel Stahl has never won a major discus medal but that statistic is expected to be made redundant when he returns to the Olympic Stadium in a month’s time.
The emerging Swedish star, 26, once more showed that little can trouble him this summer with a last-round victory just when all had looked lost.
After Stahl had taken the lead with 65.63m in the first round, Belgium’s 2015 world and European silver medallist Philip Milanov hit back in the second.
Having opened with 64.84m, Milanov then reached 66.65m but in the third round, Jamaica’s Federick Dacres took over with 66.66m.
Stahl then had a foul and a 65.19m throw but dug deep on his last visit to the circle and it worked, reaching 66.73m to win.
Greece’s 2016 Olympic and European pole vault champion Ekaterina Stefanidi will be looking to complete the set and add world gold to that list next month and she warmed up in good style too with a win with 4.81m.
Switzerland’s Nicole Buchler was second in a season’s best of 4.73m with Sweden’s Michaela Meijer just slightly short of her recent national record of 4.71m with third in 4.65m.
In high jump, Mariya Lasitskene’s unbeaten run of success this year moved to her 17th successive win, as the Russian triumphed with 2.00m from the USA’s 2016 world indoor champion Vashti Cunningham, who was second with 1.97m.
Sweden’s Erika Kinsey, a season’s best of 1.94m, on countback from the personal bests of the Czech Republic’s Michaela Hruba – a European U20 leading mark – and Sweden’s Sofie Skoog.
Whatever Ivana Spanovic achieves at the world championships, even if she wins, it will surely not beat the celebration of the gold medal in front her home fans at the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade in March but she is heading to the biggest event of the summer in the mood for another medal.
It looked as though she was going to follow her win in Lausanne on Thursday with a success here as she led with 6.88m from her first jump but then, in the fifth round, USA’s Tianna Bartoletta leapt to a meeting record of 7.01m to take over and progress to victory.
Great Britain’s Laura Muir, the 1500m and 3000m European Indoor champion, will be one of the home stars in London and she gave it her all in a thrilling mile race before eventually just being pipped by Kenya’s Hellen Obiri who won in a national record of 4:16.56 with Muir second in 4:18.03.
Cypriot Milan Trajkovic is having the time of his life as for the second time in eight days, he broke his own national 110m hurdles record.
After running 13.27 in Paris, he was flying again as he lowered the mark to 13.25 by finishing second to the US world record-holder Aries Merritt, who won in 13.09.
The Netherlands’ Dafne Schippers looked fluent and fast as she was second in the 100m in 10.97 behind Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson in 10.94 while Turkey’s Yasmani Copello, the European champion, showed he is on an upward curve towards the world championships by running a season’s best of 48.24 as he finished third in the 400m hurdles.
In addition to Farah, there were also crowd-pleased British victories for CJ Ujah, who won the 100m in 10.02, Chris O’Hare, who took the 1500m in 3:34.75 and Tom Bosworth came out on top in the rarely-contestly mile walk in 5:31.08.
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