National records and race victories for Karsten Warholm (NOR) and Abdallelah Haroun (QAT), a world record Tom Bosworth (GBR) and an impressive long jump victory for Shara Proctor (GBR) were among the highlights of action-packed first day of the Muller Anniversary Games inside the London Stadium.
In the IAAF Diamond League action, World 400m hurdles champion, Karsten Warholm (NOR) captured a comfortable 400m hurdles victory with a fine 47.65 national record-setting run.
The Norwegian finished second in the Rome, Oslo, Stockholm, Paris and Lausanne IAAF Diamond League meetings behind Abderrahman Samba but the Qatari athlete competed in the 400m flat event here this afternoon.
Warholm – who won his maiden world title at the stadium last August – revealed: “I feel very good about today’s race – it went exactly how I wanted. I had good strides and I got a good rhythm, and if there was ever a good time to get a time like that it was today.
“To get a national record is amazing and to do it in the stadium where I became world champion is even better.”
Meanwhile back on the track, Qatar’s Abdallelah Haroun ran a 44.07 national record to claim the top honours in the 400m event. The 21-year-old world bronze medallist will be pleased to finally finish first following second-place finishes in the IAAF Diamond League meetings in Doha, Rome and Rabat.
World Cup winner, Paul Dedewo of the USA clocked a 44.43 personal best in second while in fifth position, Samba – the 400m hurdles world leader with 46.98 and winner in Doha, Rome, Oslo, Stockholm, Paris and Lausanne over the barriers – registered an impressive 44.62 personal best.
Matthew Hudson-Smith (Birchfield Harriers) finished top Briton in sixth with a 44.63 season’s best.
In the women’s 100m final, two-time Olympic and seven-time world champion, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (JAM) continued her return to competition since maternity leave, flying to an eye-catching 10.98 (0.1 m/s) 100m victory and season’s best.
The Jamaican explained: “I cannot complain because I haven’t raced for ages and I’m happy that the run today was under 11 seconds.
“It’s hard work racing after having a child but it’s not as though it’s anything I’m not used to. I’m used to sacrificing and making sure that my path is right. Being a mother is my first priority and to come back and be flexible with my training is wonderful and I’m so excited about next year now.”
European U23 fourth placer, Imani-Lara Lansiquot (Steve Fudge; Sutton and District) placed a fine fifth with a 11.11 lifetime best, as compatriot Bianca Williams (Lloyd Cowan; Enfield and Haringey) clocked 11.20 in seventh place.
In the men’s equivalent, world indoor 60m bronze medallist, Ronnie Baker of the USA – the 100m winner in Eugene, Rome and Paris – here clinched another impressive win, with a storming 9.90 (0.1 m/s) win over a stellar field.
Baker – who also won his heat – was content with his day’s work: “In the final, I felt like I stood up at the start which kind of took away from my transition and how fast I could really go. But, I am pleased – two races in a short space of time, consistency is key and I know there’s a drop coming when that happens.
“Overall, I am very happy with that performance – I’ve still got to do a bit of tweaking to sharpen up. There’s just small things I need to work on if I am going to get even faster. I know what I can run and it’s still there, I have just got to execute the race pretty perfect to have it happen.”
In second spot, world 200m semi-finalist, Zharnel Hughes sped to 9.93 – after a 9.97 heat – narrowly beating Commonwealth champion and world and Olympic fifth placer, Akani Simbine – the South African clocking 9.94 for third position.
Hughes said afterwards: “I am really happy with how I ran today. I ran against a world-class field and I have never ran against these guys before, so it was really good to see I was able to hold my own and to give those guys good competition towards the finish line.
“For me, this season has been going really well. I am not going to get ahead of myself and say this is my year, but I am really grateful for all the work that is being done around me and I am glad all the hard work is paying off.”
Commonwealth 20km race walk silver medallist, Tom Bosworth got the event off to a blistering start by striding to a superb world record in the 3,000m walk event, clocking 10:43.90.
In a non-IAAF Diamond League event, the 28-year-old took over three seconds off the global mark which was set in the same year he was born, as South Africa’s Lebogang Shange also nipped under the old best, with 10:47.1 in second place.
Bosworth – the Olympic 20km sixth placer – exclaimed afterwards:
“It was a shock to do that! I’ve just come back from altitude training but I still wanted to see what I could do and this is all heading in the right direction for the European’s. Coming to the London Stadium changes everything for me.
“I thought there was going to be trouble if I got beaten but I knew the crowd would push me home in that world class field. He (Shange) was fourth in London last year and I knew it was going to take a PB to win. I use these shorter races to prepare for the 20km races.”
In the field, Commonwealth bronze medallist, Shara Proctor produced a strong 6.91m winning leap in the long jump.
The 2015 world silver medallist finished only three centimetres clear of European indoor silver medallist Lorraine Ugen (Shawn Jackson) – who claimed the British title with a huge 7.05m at the turn of the month.
Proctor said afterwards: “It was fun today, I love competing in this stadium. The runway felt amazing, the crowd was amazing and I finally put it together and felt comfortable on the runway, and I showed what I’m capable of. I’m confident of what I can do and today showed that. I got my mind together and perfected it.
“The whole day here is amazing because everyone inside this stadium knows their track and field. We appreciate all the support they give us and all athletes put together good performances out here and that’s thanks to them.”
In fifth, World Indoor and Commonwealth heptathlon champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson (Bertrand Valcin) turned her attention to the jumps, leaping a 6.70m season’s best, as fellow Briton Jazmin Sawyers (Lance Braumann) finished sixth with a best effort of 6.62m.
Elsewhere, the men’s pole vault provided another bout of exhilarating action, with world champion, Sam Kendricks of the USA clearing 5.92m on his first attempt.
The winner in Eugene Rome, Paris and Rabat – Kendricks revealed:
“You never know what it is going to take to win one of these competitions. You can just about bet it is going to take everything you have and that’s the nature of the Diamond League. Coming to London is a Championships for me.
“Today was like an Olympic final, it really was. The hardest performances always come at the end when you are nice and tired. It was cool tonight because I got the last effort of the whole stadium, it would have been very cool if I had made it.”
The runner-up mantle went to 2012 Olympic champion and three-time world indoor champion, Renaud Lavillenie, while recently-crowned world junior champion, Armand Duplantis of Sweden leapt 5.86m on his third attempt – the 18-year-old is enjoying the season of his young career, having set an astonishing 5.93 world junior record back in May.
Olympic silver and world bronze medallist, Paul Chelimo of the USA snatched a dramatic 5,000m victory from Ethiopian duo, Edris Muktar and Yomif Kejelcha in a swift 13:14.01.
World champion, Muktar and two-time world indoor 3,000m champion, Kejelcha clocked 13:14.35 and 13:14.39, respectively. Further back in 20th position, British 10,000m champion Alex Yee (Kenneth Pike; Kent) improved his lifetime best by three seconds with 13:34.12.
In the 400m hurdles, 2015 world champion Shamier Little of the USA pipped Commonwealth champion, Janieve Russell 53.95 to 53.96.
Back in seventh, Eilidh Doyle (Brian Doyle; Pitreave) returned from a spell on the injury sidelines since claiming the Commonwealth silver medal back in April, with a 56.18 clocking.
China’s world bronze medallist, Lye Huihui placed third in the London Stadium at the World Cup last weekend but she was victorious this afternoon, with a 65.54m winning throw in the javelin, from Nikola Orgodnikova, Czech Republic – who recorded a best of 65.36m.
In the non-IAAF Diamond League event, Kenya’s Lilian Kasait Rengeruk sped to 3,000m victory in 8:41.51 from Susan Krumins of the Netherlands.
Commonwealth 1500m bronze medallist, Melissa Courtney (Rob Denmark; Poole AC) placed fifth with 8:46.33, as world and Olympic 5,000m finalist, Steph Twell (Geoff Wightman; Aldershot, Farnham and District) followed her home in sixth in 8:47.93. Further down the field, Jess Judd (Mick Judd; Blackburn Harriers) finished 11th with 8:53.29.
Dwayne Cowan (Lloyd Cowan; Hercules Wimbledon) ran a solid 45.65 season’s best to take the national 400m event from world 4x400m relay bronze medallist, Martyn Rooney (Graham Hedman; Croydon Harriers), who clocked 46.11 for the runner-up spot.
Stef Reid (Aston Moore) – the reigning World Para Athletics champion – leapt a 5.55m season’s best to claim the T44/47/64 long jump by a narrow 1cm margin from France’s Marie-Amelie Le-Fur.
100m and 200m Paralympic champion, Libby Clegg (Joe McDonnell) ran a 25.29 season’s best to take the T11 200m race – in only her second race since 2016.
Richard Whitehead (Keith Antoine) clocked a 23.72 season’s best in the T61 200m, finishing runner-up behind South Africa’s Ntando Mahlangu, who was timed at 23.56.