In an Olympic or World Championships year, you can see the increasing intensity of the season as athletes get into condition to be tested against the rest of the world. At the Muller Anniversary Games in London (GBR), Jamaica’s Danielle Williams and Norway’s Karsten Warholm signaled that they need be accounted for when considering the contenders for gold in Doha in September.
Williams served notice that something special was coming in the heats of the 100 m hurdles, when she ran away from the field and led all the qualifiers in a very fast 12.41, a lifetime best and no. 2 on the world list for 2019.
She then got a good start in the final and ran smoothly to the finish all alone for another lifetime best, but also a world leader in 12.32, moving her to no. 7 on the all-time world list.
“I am thrilled with that,” she said afterwards, adding, “my aim was always to run fast. It has been coming all season and it was just about when. This track is a fast track and the fact that we get two opportunities because of the heats, you can fix what you did wrong ready for the final.”
Behind her, American Nia Ali was a distant second in 12.57, but was hardly unhappy, as it was her fastest race in two years. “I am very pleased with that performance, it is slowly coming together,” she said. “It wasn’t the greatest performance in terms of where I want to be but this time is awesome for me. It is really huge for me to be progressing so quickly, so I am pleased.”
Williams’ 12.32 was one of two world leaders on the day, the other being Warholm’s sensational 47.12, a new national record and moving him to no. 7 all-time.
This wasn’t a Diamond League event, but Warholm was ready to put on a show. “I always try to surprise but at the same time it’s not a given. It takes hard work, dedication and a lot for me to get out those extraordinary times.
“I feel really good, but at the same time it’s a long time until the championships. I’ll try to do my own thing. Do what I think is the best.”
In an event in which advances are measured in 100ths, Warholm, 23, has taken his lifetime best from 47.64 to 47.12 in half a season in 2019. Almost an afterthought behind the sensational running of Rai Benjamin (USA: 47.17) and Qatar’s Abderrahmane Samba (47.27) earlier this year, he’s now faster than both and has won his three meets in 2019 in 47.85, 47.33 and 47.12! Wow!
This was the first of two days of the Muller Anniversary Games and while the times were fast, field conditions were mixed with plenty of wind. Portugal’s Pablo Pedro Pichardo handed American World Champion Christian Taylor with a rare loss in the triple jump, 17.53 m (57-6 1/4) to 17.19 m (56-4 3/4). But Taylor said there were other things on his mind:
“I am happy to come out healthy, it was difficult. There was a lot going on today, the crowd are really into the event but there is so much going on that it is hard to concentrate.
“It is always good to have Pichardo pushing me because this is what we need. It’s good for the spectators as well because of the rivalry. We still have two months before the World Championships so there is no rush and I am just happy to be here with this being my first [Anniversary] Games. Its always special to be back here, I would like have to put on a better show but I was battling the elements.”
South Africa’s Akani Simbine (9.93) and Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson (22.13) were impressive winners in the sprints, but the winning interview was from Jamaica’s 2011 World 100 m champ, Yohan Blake, third in 9.97: “Thank God I came out injury-free. I wanted to make a race of it, but I could tell I just stumbled, which kind of knocked me off, but I’m feeling great. In the season it’s a bit early with me running times like this right now. But come Doha, I’m going to bring it.”
The crowd roared loudest for home favorite Laura Muir in the 1,500 m, as she won impressively in 3:58.25. “It may have looked easy, but it wasn’t!” she said afterwards
“I didn’t realize I ran a 57-second last lap and I’m so so happy about that. The girls are really strong and I know that my advantage is in that kick, so I just sat in there and tried to take it easy. It was all about winning today and I did that.”
The meet continues tomorrow; summaries so far:
IAAF Diamond League/Muller Anniversary Games
London (GBR) ~ 20-21 July 2019
(Full results here)
100 m (wind: +0.5 m/s): 1. Akani Simbine (RSA), 9.93; 2. Zharnel Hughes (GBR), 9.95; 3. Yohan Blake (JAM), 9.97.
800 m: 1. Ferguson Rotich (KEN), 1:43.14; 2. Wyclife Kinyamal (KEN), 1:43.48; 3. Marcin Lewandowski (POL), 1:43.74.
5,000 m (non-Diamond League): 1. Hagos Gebrhiwet (ETH), 13:01.86; 2. Jakob Ingebrigtsen (NOR), 13:02.03; 3. Nicholas Kimeli (KEN), 13:05.48.
400 m hurdles: 1. Karsten Warholm (NOR), 47.12; 2. Yasmani Copello (TUR), 48.93; 3. Amere Lattin (USA), 49.18. Also: 4. Byron Robinson (USA), 49.29.
Long Jump (non-Diamond League): 1. Luvo Manyonga (RSA), 8.37 m (27-5 1/2); 2. Tajay Gayle (JAM), 8.32 m (27-3 3/4); 3. Ruswahl Samaai (RSA), 8.11 m (26-7 1/4). Also: 5. Trumaine Jefferson (USA), 7.89 m (25-10 3/4).
Triple Jump: 1. Pedro Pablo Pichardo (POR), 17.53 m (57-6 1/4); 2. Christian Taylor (USA), 17.19 m (56-4 3/4); 3. Hugues Zango (BUR), 16.88 m (55-4 3/4).
200 m (+1.1): 1. Elaine Thompson (JAM), 22.13; 2. Marie-Josee Ta Lou (CIV), 22.36; 3. Beth Dobbin (GBR), 22.50.
400 m: 1. Shericka Jackson (JAM), 50.69; 2. Stephenie Ann McPherson (JAM), 50.74; 3. Laviai Nielsen (GBR), 50.83.
1,500 m: 1. Laura Muir (GBR), 3:58.25; 2. Winny Chebet (KEN), 3:59.93; 3. Gabriela Debues-Stafford (CAN), 4:00.26.
100 m hurdles (+0.8): 1. Danielle Williams (JAM), 12.32; 2. Nia Ali (USA), 12.57; 3. Queen Claye (USA), 12.64. Also: 8. Evonne Britton (USA), 13.15.
4×100 m: 1. Jamaica (Morrison, Thompson, Smith, Fraser-Pryce), 42.29; 2. Great Britain, 42.30; 3. China, 42.71.
Pole Vault: 1. Anzhelika Sidorova (RUS), 4.75 m (15-7); 2. Katerina Stefanidi (GRE), 4.75 m (15-7); 3. Holly Bradshaw (GBR), 4.65 m (15-3).
Javelin: 1. Tatsiana Khaladovich (BLR), 66.10m (216-10): 2. Kelsey-Lee Barber (AUS), 65.85 m (216-0); 3. Christin Hussong (GER), 65.73 m (215-7). Also: 9. Kara Winger (USA), 60.08 m (197-1).