Sunday, July 15, 2012

Diamond League: London

The US Olympic Trials in Eugene at least prepared our athletes for one thing: competing in cold, rainy conditions in London. The two day Diamond League meet from Crystal Palace in London saw relentless rain, and some terrific competition.

Men's 100m

In a Bolt-less, Blake-less, Gatlin-less competition, it was really Tyson Gay's race to lose. Gay looked strong through the finish though, winning in a time of 10.03 into a headwind. Gay's reaction time was the fastest of the field's, which says he really hasn't lost his instinct and is definitely a threat for a medal in a few weeks. Bay finished ahead of Ryan Bailey, 3rd at US Trials, and Nesta Carter of Jamaica.

1 Tyson Gay 10.03
2 Ryan Bailey 10.09
3 Nesta Carter 10.13
4 Michael Frater 10.15
5 Michael Rodgers 10.19
6 Trell Kimmons 10.19
7 Kemar Hyman 10.25

Men's 110m Hurdles

Liu Xiang of China was a non-starter in the final, but was he ducking Aries Merritt? Merritt has been lighting it up lately, and he won ahead of his London teammates Jason Richardson and Jeff Porter in a (shared) World Leading and Meet Record time of 12.93 seconds.

1 Aries Merritt 12.93 =WL,MR
2 Jason Richardson 13.06
3 Ryan Wilson 13.18 SB
4 Jeff Porter 13.32
5 Joel Brown 13.39
6 Antwon Hicks 13.46

Men's 800m

The organizers, perhaps a little concerned about whether Paris Hilton would show up, did not allow Nick Symmonds to compete. Also missing was World Record holder, David Rudisha, but the field was still quality, and pretty big, with 12 competitors on the line. USA's Matt Scherer, the ultimate pacer, led the field through the quarter in 49.7 seconds, as everybody else lagged behind. As he pulled off at 500m, Abubaker Kaki and the UK's Andrew Osagie were on the front, with Poland's Adam Kszczot in the back of the field near Matt Centrowitz. With 200m to go, Kaki started to fade, and then Osagie, and seemingly out of nowhere Kszczot emerged to take the win in 1:44.49, just ahead of Kenya's Job Kinyor. NJ-NY Track Club's Mike Rutt finished a respectable 6th at 1:46.12, and Matt Centrowitz, presumably racing the shorter distance to get some speed back in him, was DFL at 1:48.42.

1 Adam Kszczot 1:44.49
2 Job Kinyor 1:44.60
3 Andrew Osagie 1:45.21
4 Abubaker Kaki 1:46.05
5 Boaz Lalang 1:46.09
6 Michael Rutt 1:46.12
7 Elijah Greer 1:46.14
8 Gareth Warburton 1:46.56
9 Mukhtar Mohammed 1:47.70
10 Richard Kiplagat 1:48.06
11 Matt Centrowitz 1:48.42

Men's 5000m

In front of a partisan home crowd, Mo Farah took the win as he jumped with two laps remaining. He covered the final 800m in 1:54ish to finish in 13:06.04. Not a tremendously stacked field, but he looked good in the win, and again seems like most of the contenders are trying to simulate the race tactics they expect in a few weeks. Looking particularly good was Australia's Collis Birmingham, who, thanks to the relatively slow earlier pace, was able to hang onto Farah until the final 250m. He ran a personal best. In 5th was Dathan Ritzenhein, who ran 13:15.

1 Mo Farah 13:06.04
2 Collis Birmingham 13:09.57 PB
3 Moses Kipsiro 13:09.98
4 Mark Kiptoo 13:13.77
5 Dathan Ritzenhein 13:15.91
6 Emmanuel Bett 13:23.05
7 Craig Mottram 13:23.85
8 Juan Luis Barrios 13:35.44
9 Ben St. Lawrence 13:37.35
10 Yuki Sato 13:43.43
11 Moses Kibet 13:45.29
12 Kidane Tadesse 13:50.96

Men's 200m

France's Christophe Lemaitre look pretty incredible as he ran 19.91 (wind: +1.1m/s) to cross the line first, ahead of Churandy Martina, who also broke 20 seconds. Lemaitre's knee drive and arm pump were flawless as he powered up the home stretch to take the race. Will we see him on the medal stand in a few weeks?

Men's 400m

We haven't seen much of Grenada's Kirani James, who won the World Championships last year in Daegu, but he looked okay - not great - in winning the 400m here. He finished in 44.85 ahead of the Bahama's Chris Brown and US Olympian and NCAA Champ, Tony McQuay. Jeremy Wariner finished 6th in 45.29, still lacking that finish he has always been known for.

Men's Mile

This was easily the strangest event of the meet, as it was really two races. The first was the Nick Willis race, and the second was the everybody else trying to win race. A torrid pace was set by the rabbits, Jack Bolas of the US and Collins Cheboi of Kenya, and Nick Willis sat right behind them through 800m (1:52.6) and 1200m (2:50). Willis was then on his own, with the rest of the field solidly behind - but approaching fast. Willis looked super comfortable through 1200m, but then really tied up in the final 150m. He was passed by just three, and despite his last lap of around 62 seconds, held on to run 3:53.64. Bernard Lagat finished in 3:54.17 and Leo Manzano was DFL, failing to break 4 minutes.

1 Silas Kiplagat 3:52.44 SB
2 Ross Murray 3:52.77
3 Caleb Ndiku 3:53.15
4 Nick Willis 3:53.64
5 Bethwell Birgen 3:53.93
6 Bernard Lagat 3:54.17 SB
7 Henrik Ingebrigtsen 3:54.28 PB
8 Jeff Riseley 3:55.86
9 Gideon Gathimba 3:57.12
10 Charlie Grice 3:57.90
11 Leo Manzano 4:00.78

Women's 1500m

All 3 of our Olympians were involved in this one, but most of the real challengers were absent. Morgan Uceny tied up in the last lap and faded to finish 5th. Jenny Simpson took 2nd, behind Bahrain's Maryam Jamal, and Anna Pierce had a decent race as she finished 3rd. Shannon Rowbury finished right behind Uceny. Hannah England, of England, is just trying to get some races in before the Olympics. She has taken a considerable amount of time off after getting spiked in her Achilles a while back.

1 Maryam Jamal 4:06.78
2 Jenny Simpson 4:07.76
3 Anna Pierce 4:08.06
4 Laura Weightman 4:08.19
5 Morgan Uceny 4:08.22
6 Shannon Rowbury 4:08.63
7 Lisa Dobriskey 4:08.83
8 Kaila McKnight 4:10.49
9 Zoe Buckman 4:12.82
10 Nancy Langat 4:13.56 SB
11 Hannah England 4:14.45

Women's 100m Hurdles

Upset of the meet! Kellie Wells, who was 2nd at US Trials, hands reigning World Champion Sally Pearson of Australia a most rare defeat. Wells almost pipped Pearson in their first heat, finishing just 0.01 behind her. Pearson had terrific starts in both the semis and final, but Wells showed fantastic finishing speed, and in the final she passed Pearson right at the end to win by 0.02. The time was well within Pearson's range, she's run faster this season, but it wasn't a bad race by any means - it just looks like others are finally catching up to her.

1 Kellie Wells 12.57
2 Sally Pearson 12.59
3 Ginnie Crawford 12.7
4 Kristi Castlin 12.82
5 Christina Manning 12.88
6 Danielle Carruthers 12.90
7 Phylicia George 12.94

Women's Steeplechase

While it was far from a fast field, it was an entertaining race to watch - and I wouldn't normally say that about the women's steeple. Kenya's Phanencer Chemion led the race for much of it, but her technique over the hurdles was quite poor, and the trio of Bobocel, Jelizarova, and Parker of the UK easily moved past her. The time is still just nowhere in the vicinity of good enough to do anything at the Olympics, but it was a personal best for Bobocel, a National record for Jelizarova, and for US Olympian Bridget Franek, a PR in poor conditions. Ashley Higginson, who is starting to make a name for herself as a steepler, has only run maybe 5 or 6 of them, but has lowered her time in each one. She is apparently done racing (steeple) for the year, so look out for her next year! Sara Hall ran in the back the entire race and should probably contemplate a different event.

1 Ancuta Bobocel 9:27.24 PB
2 Polina Jelizarova 9:28.27 NR
3 Barbara Parker 9:29.22
4 Bridget Franek 9:29.53 PB
5 Katarzyna Kowalska 9:34.14 SB
6 Ashley Higginson 9:34.49 PB
7 Phanencer Chemion 9:36.55
8 Beverly Ramos 9:41.15
9 Sara Hall 9:45.51
10 Emily Stewart 9:53.47 PB
11 Birtukan Alemu 10:06.98

Women's 5000m

No Americans meant I barely paid attention, plus it was a boring race - unless you look at the time and realize just how much faster the Kenyan women are than American women. Led by Vivian Cheruiyot, Kenya took the top 4 spots and all were under 15 minutes, with Cheruiyot winning in 14:48.86.

Women's 100m

Not sure what happened to Jamaica's Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce in the final, but she was left in the blocks and just cruised into finish a very un-Jamaican-like 11.82 seconds (DFL). Nigeria's Blessing Okagbare was the somewhat surprise victor ahead of Carmelita Jeter and Tianna Madison.

Women's 800m

Without a doubt, the most attractive event at this meet. Initial observations: Molly Beckwith, besides being a cutie, had the most fantastic booty in the field. Polish champion Angelika Cichocka, also attractive, and Holland's Yvonne Bak is not bad either. Kenya's Janeth Jepkosgei and Winny Chebet looked like shadows of the relatively gargantuan Beckwith, and with all three fading towards the finish, Beckwith and Jepkosgei crossed the line at the same damn time. Thought we were in for a run-off, but they awarded Beckwith, who was 4th at US Trials, the win. An uncomfortable situation occurred at 500m as the rabbit tried to pull off, but instead of going inside, where she was positioned, she moved to the outside, and tripped up Chebet.

Sidenote: LetsRun referred to Molly Beckwith's lean as "exquisite."  They raved about how great her lean was at the finish, and that's why she won. I watched it. It wasn't even a lean. She was straight up, and nodded her head. Which, of course, is not your torso. I'm not sure which race LR was watching.

1 Molly Beckwith 2:00.68
2 Janeth Jepkosgei 2:00.68
3 Winny Chebet 2:00.76
4 Marilyn Okoro 2:01.32
5 Geena Gall 2:01.65
6 Angelika Cichocka 2:02.09
7 Yvonne Hak 2:02.93
8 Malika Akkaoui 2:04.46
9 Charlotte Best 2:05.20


Our boy Christian Taylor easily won the triple jump, and Chaunte Lowe won the high jump, with an awesome victory dance afterwards. Fan favorite, Blanka Vlasic, did not compete, and on her website she claims she may not compete in London in a few weeks.

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