Mo Farah (coach: Alberto Salazar) gave the Birmingham crowd the grand finale they craved as he broke David Moorcroft’s 34 year old British 3000m record to send the crowd into raptures.
Capping off a stunning Diamond League meeting that saw eight stadium records and six world leads fall, Farah had to dig really deep over the final two laps to clock 7.32.62, a world leading performance, but crucially 0.17 of a second inside the previous British record.
Andrew Butchart (Derek Easton) who is, hoping to join Farah in the 5000m at the Olympics, strengthened his claim further as he ran a massive personal best of 7.45.00 to break the 32 year old Scottish record.
After his record breaking performance Farah told the media:
“I didn’t know I had got the British record when I crossed the line – I thought I had just missed it! I was a bit tired on the last lap but I knew I had to dig in. I was always targeting the record and knew it was on at 2km.
“I’m in great shape but I just have to believe in myself – now it’s all about getting ready for Rio. I want to make history this summer but it isn’t going to be easy.”
David Rudisha delivered a stunning front running performance to take victory in a rarely run 600m, smashing his own stadium record but just missing out on the world record.
Rudisha had to work very hard for the win though, just holding off Pierre-Ambroise Bosse to win in 1.13.10 to Bosse’s 1.13.21, which was a European record. Michael Rimmer (Jon Bigg) ran a brave race chasing the aforementioned duo, eventually finishing fifth in a personal best of 1.15.87.
Post-race Rudisha said: “I’m happy with my performance – I have nothing to complain about. This race was very important for my Olympic preparations. I wish I had run a little quicker, but I didn’t do 400m this year in Australia so to run 600m here was part of my plan and preparation for Rio. My form is coming along nicely and I’m looking forward to the upcoming meets.”
In the women’s blue riband 100m event, English Gardner prevailed over pre-race favourite Dafne Schippers, the American running a faultless race to win in 11.02 despite a 1.2m/s headwind. Dina Asher-Smith (John Blackie) was fourth in 11.22, with Ashleigh Nelson (Michael Afilaka) fifth and Desiree Henry (Reider) seventh. Earlier in the day Henry and Asher-Smith clocked 11.07 (+0.8) and 11.08 respectively in their heat.
Just four thousandths of a second separated Kim Collins and Mike Rodgers in the men’s 100m, a non-Diamond League event, with the 40 year old St Kitts and Nevis athlete snatching victory as both men clocked 10.11 (-0.8). The times may have been slow for the quality of field assembled, but they were undoubtedly affected by two false starts. Just one hundredth behind Collins came young Briton Chijindu Ujah (Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo), who finished strongly for third.
In the longer sprint, Canadian Andre de Grasse secured victory and 10 Diamond Race points in the 200m thanks to a season’s best of 20.16, one hundredth ahead of Diamond Race leader Alonso Edward.
In the field, Cuban Yarisley Silva broke the Diamond League pole vault record thanks to the best clearance of the year, 4.84m. That gave her victory over Diamond Race leader Katerina Stefanidi of Greece, who cleared a personal best height of 4.77m, beating Buchler of Switzerland on countback. Holly Bradshaw (Scott Simpson) made a welcome return to competition for the first time since September, clearing 4.35m to finish eighth.
There was also a world lead in the men’s high jump, Mutaz Essa Barshim finally regaining the kind of form that saw him go within 1cm of the world record in 2014. In a tight competition which saw the lead change hands between Guowei Zhang, Erik Kynard and Barshim in the closing stages, the Qatari took victory with a best clearance of 2.37m, with Kynard second with 2.35m and Zhang third with 2.32m.
Briton Robbie Grabarz (Fuzz Caan) also showed good form as he finished fourth with a best of 2.29m, with Chris Baker (Sharon Heveran) clearing a season’s best of 2.26m in fifth.
In the men’s long jump there was disappointment for Greg Rutherford (Dan Pfaff) who suffered his first defeat in almost a year as he finished down in fifth place with a best of 8.17m.
After winning in Rome on Thursday night, the Olympic champion aggravated a slight neck injury and didn’t make the top four at the end of round three, so bowed out at that point. That left the door open for Marquise Goodwin to take victory in an impressive 8.42m, with Michael Hartfield second in 8.29.
Francine Niyonsaba was rewarded for a committed piece of front running as she broke both the meeting record and Kelly Holmes’ 20 year old stadium record as she took victory in a world class 1.56.92. That saw her win by over a second from Renelle Lamote, with Canadian Melissa Bishop third.
Lynsey Sharp (Rana Reider) did what the tattoo on her wrist states, ‘get out strong, commit’, following winner Niyonsaba for most of the race. Despite tiring in the home straight, she still ran an impressive 1.59.29 to finish fourth.
Asbel Kiprop produced one of the performances of the day, bettering the Birmingham Diamond League 1500m meeting record and also revising his own world lead. Following the pacemakers closely until they stepped off at the 1000m mark, it was a solo run for home, with the World Champion breaking the tape in 3.29.33, almost four seconds clear of runner-up Abdelaati Iguider. Jake Wightman (Geoff Wightman) was the leading Brit in 3.37.77, inside the European Championship qualifying mark.
There was also a meeting record in the women’s 100mH as 2016 sensation Kendra Harrison clocked another world class 12.46 (-0.3) to lead an American 1-2-3. After a 12.24 world leading run in Eugene two weeks ago, Harrison continued that great form, well clear of Rollins and Castlin, with Tiffany Porter (Reider) fifth in 12.86.
Kenyan Conseslus Kipruto smashed the 3000m steeplechase meeting record, but his 8.00.12 performance was agonisingly short of his first ever sub eight minute performance. Already leading the Diamond Race, he pulled clear of the field and bettered his own world leading mark in the process. Rob Mullett (David Leach) was the leading Brit, just missing out on the Olympic mark with an 8.31.13 run in tenth.
Eilidh Doyle (Malcolm Arnold) continued her brilliant start to 2016 but was denied victory in the women’s 400mH by a photofinish. The European champion missed out by just one thousandth of second as American Cassandra Tate finished strongly, piping the Scot to the line in 54.57.
“I’m pleased with how the race went; I felt really smooth and strong. It would have been good to win it but you can’t call it much closer than that. I’m in a great place everything is going well I’m just trying to get some good races under my belt then get ready for trials and secure that spot on the plane to Rio.”
Kirani James made light work of winning the men’s 400m, surging away down the home straight to stop the clock at 44.23, which was yet another meet record. Isaac Makwala also dipped under 45 seconds, running 44.97, whilst in fourth Matthew Hudson-Smith (Tony Hadley) clocked a season’s best of 45.13, which more importantly is inside the Olympic qualifying mark.
The women’s event was won by emerging French talent Floria Guei, who ran a lifetime best of 50.84 to hold off Christine Day. Seren Bundy-Davies (Stephen Ball) was the pick of the Brits finishing a very creditable fourth in a new lifetime best of 51.33. One place further back came Anyika Onuora (Reider) with a season’s best of 51.55, with Christine Ohuruogu (Christine Bowmaker) seventh in 52.40.
The women’s 5000m came down to a sprint finish, where Vivian Cheruiyot out leaned compatriot Mercy Cherono, the duo clocking 15.12.79 and 15.12.85 respectively.
In the women’s javelin, Latvian Madara Palameika took the lead in the Diamond Race, winning with a season’s best of 65.68m. Briton Goldie Sayers (Mark Roberson) continued her Rio preparations with a 57.08m performance down in ninth. In the men’s discus, Piotr Malachowski threw 67.50m to wrap up victory
The women’s triple jump saw the biggest upset of the day as Caterine Ibarguen’s 34 competition unbeaten streak came to an end, with Olga Rypakova hop, stepping and jumping out to 14.61m to win by 5cm. There was a further upset in the shot put as Tia Brooks beat Rome Diamond League winner Valerie Adams by 10cm, thanks to a final round throw of 19.73m.
In the women’s 1500m development race, the in-form Sarah McDonald (Bud Baldaro) took up the running when the pacemaker stepped off and bagged herself a well-earned victory in a personal best of 4.07.18, inside the European Championship qualifying standard.
Full results from today’s Birmingham Diamond League can be found here: http://birmingham.diamondleague.com/list_results_bham/