Saturday, August 18, 2018

Birmingham Diamond League

copyright 2018, Mark Cullen/, all rights reserved

I set out to watch the Birmingham Diamond League Meet from my hotel in Berlin.

If only.

In much the same manner as US cable companies, there are different levels of access for different levels of cost here in Germany, and the DL broadcast was not included in my hotel’s cable package. Interesting that this is the media hotel from the recently concluded European Championships.

I embarked upon a social media quest to keep up with the events in as close to real time as possible. Several major outlets were quick with updates on Twitter, and the Diamond League website did a fine job of keeping up-to-date a rapidly-produced written report. They type faster than I do.

I’ll note some highlights here and then post a link to the results page. It’s not my goal to be comprehensive, but I hope you’ll enjoy several reflections on today’s events.

One of the oddest entry lists you’ll ever see was for the Emsley Carr Mile. World and Olympic 5,000m medalist Paul Chelimo’s (US) outdoor PB was listed at 4:08.6 (indoor was ten seconds quicker at 3:38.59, run this past February). 4:08.6 was accurate until he spun a 3:55.96 to finish third today.

It’s quiz time. From which continent do the top two in the men’s mile hail?

Nope, not Africa. Or Europe. Or North America. Gold star to those who said Australia, as Stewart McSweyn and Ryan Gregson gave the Aussies a 3:54.60-3:55.10 1-2 surprise.

Sandi Morris (US) defeated Katerina Stefanidi on a blustery day in Birmingham,
a 10cm win, 4.62 (15-1 ¾) - 4.52 (14-10).

“You can’t change the weather, you can only make the best of it,” said Morris in her Twitter feed.

More was expected from the women’s 400m hurdles as well, one of the deepest events on the tour this year. Switzerland’s Lea Sprunger won in a slow-ish 54.86.

Not a surprise was Emmanuel Korir’s 1:42.79 meet record thrashing of the men’s 800m field. In fact, Kenya swept the top 4 places. Jonathan Kitilit was second in 1:43.53, while 1500m World Champion Elijah Manangoi set a personal best of 1:44.15, a fact that should strike fear in the hearts of 1500m competitors in the upcoming Diamond League final.

The 800m results by continent look like this:
1-4 – Africa
5-7 – Europe
7-9 – North America.

A perplexing part of that outcome was US Olympic bronze medalist Clayton Murphy’s 9th in 1:47.80.

The women’s 200m lived up to its billing as the deepest event of the day. Bahamas’ Shaunae Miller-Uibo set the meet record in a stellar 22.15, and Great Britain’s triple European gold medalist Dina Asher-Smith took second in 22.31. A season-long star in the 100m, Marie-Josee Ta Lou (CIV) was 7th here in 22.88.

Miller-Uibo, known for her prowess at 400m, said, “The 200 isn’t a race that I love - I really do like it, but not as much as the 400. I love to compete especially in competitive races like this.”

The hyper-competitive men’s 100 featured yet another tie that was decided by thousandths – which doesn’t make it a tie anymore. Christian Coleman (US) edged Reece Prescod (GB); both were given times of 9.94, one of which was faster than the other.

Germany’s European champion Malaika Mihambo set a meet record in the long jump at 6.96 (22-10) in an unusual field. Unusual? Colombia’s triple jump legend Caterine Ibarguen took on the long jump and finished 2nd in 6.80 (22-3¾), which helps you understand why she’s an all-time great when she adds two more jumps.

Unable to solve the wind in Berlin a week ago, Germany’s European silver medalist in the javelin, Andreas Hofmann, found an answer today – an 89.82 (294-8)  second-round throw that won by over three meters from German teammate, Julian Weber. European champion Thomas Rohler was an uncharacteristic 4th in 84.33 (276-8).

Anticipating the thriller the Diamond League final should be, Hofmann said,“My hopes and dreams are to throw like this for the title in a few weeks.”

It was 'end of an era' time for Great Britain’s outstanding big-meet long jumper, Greg Rutherford. While he may well have played out the string for too long after having been beset by injuries for several years, the 2012 London Olympic champion called it a career today.

Rutherford said, “In a sign of how my mindset has changed, a year or two years ago I would have been like ‘right now I need to try and beat you,’ but now I am watching it and going, ‘what a fantastic performance, good for him’ and it is the competitive side that I just don’t have the ability to respond to anymore.”

Time to retire indeed, and props to Rutherford for knowing it.

Greg Rutherford, GB, in Beijing's Bird's Nest, 2015

2012 Olympic and 2015 World Champion
Beijing World Championships

photo credit: Getty Images/IAAF

’ll be reporting the two Diamond League finals from Zurich and Brussels on August 30 and 31 – yes, the scheduling mavens put the two finals on back-to-back days in cities 656km/407mi apart. Berlin’s ISTAF meet – Robert Harting’s much-anticipated farewell – is two days after Brussels.

I’ll post previews of both finals in the run up to the meets.

Results link:

credits: flash quotes from the Birmingham Diamond League website

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