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A sensational first day for the Nike Prefontaine Classic, which also doubles this year as the Diamond League Final, with six world-leading (or equaling marks) at the end of the season:
● Men/100 m: 9.83 (=), Christian Coleman (USA)
● Men/Mile: 3:43.73, Jakob Ingebrigtsen (NOR)
● Men/400 m hurdles: 46.39, Rai Benjamin (USA)
● Women/Steeple: 8:50.66, Winfred Yavi (BRN)
● Women/Triple Jump: 15.35 m (50-4 1/2), Yulimar Rojas (VEN)
● Women/Shot Put: 20.76 m (68-1 1/2), Chase Ealey (USA) ~ American Record
This was a hot meet from the start, with the very first race a stunner, with world-record holder Karsten Warholm (NOR) and World Champion Kyron McMaster (IVB) running together through the first seven hurdles and then Warholm took over with Tokyo Olympic runner-up Rai Benjamin of the U.S. coming on. Benjamin passed McMaster before the 10th hurdle and then ran down Warholm on the straight to win in a world-leading 46.39 – the no. 4 performance ever – to 46.53 for Warholm (no. 7 performance all-time), with McMaster at 47.31 in third. Americans Trevor Bassitt and CJ Allen went 8-9 in 48.42 and 48.62.
Benjamin improved to 2-4 against Warholm all-time, in only their second race together outside of the Olympic Games or World Championships (now 1-1).
About an hour later, World Champion Ealey was in the ring in the women’s shot put, and put the event to bed early with a world-leading 20.61 m (67-7 1/2) in the second round. But then she reached into history in the third, sending the 4 kg ball out to an American Record of 20.76 m (68-1 1/2), surpassing Michelle Carter’s 20.63 m (67-8 1/4) from 2016. Ealey now owns seven of the top nine throws in American history.
Canada’s Sarah Mitton was second at 19.94 m (65-5) and prior world leader Maggie Ewen of the U.S. was fifth at 19.82 m (65-0 1/2). Consider this: Ealey’s mark ranks her no. 5 this century, and with a Russian and Belarusian on that list, she might rank no. 3 ever among athletes when a fully-in-place anti-doping regime was in place.
The men’s mile was a world-record attempt at the 3:43.13 by Hicham El Guerrouj (MAR) from 1999, with Norway’s Ingebrigtsen and American Yared Nuguse running ahead of the pack once the pacesetters were done. World 5,000 m champ Ingebrigtsen, who set the world 2,000 m record earlier this season, and Nuguse were at 2:47.8 with 400 m to go, and the chase was absolutely on. Ingebrigtsen was a meter ahead with 200 m left and held that lead despite a determined charge by Nuguse down the straight, and won in 3:43.73, with Nuguse setting the American Record in 3:43.97 in second.
Ingebrigtsen moves to no. 3 all-time in mile history, and Nuguse crushed Alan Webb’s U.S. record of 3:46.91 from 2007. Nuguse is now no. 4 all-time, with the no. 4 performance ever. Britain’s George Mills was third in 3:47.65, a lifetime best and American Cole Hocker got a lifetime best of 3:48.08 in sixth, now fourth all-time U.S. Wow!
The men’s 100 m had World Champion and super-finisher Noah Lyles in five and 2019 Worlds gold medalist and super-starter Christian Coleman in four. But the race had to wait, as Ackeem Blake (JAM) false-started out. But on the re-start, Coleman got his usual fast start, with Kenyan Ferdinand Omanyala to his left and closing. Jamaica’s Kishane Thompson was a clear third, until Lyles came on hard in the final 10 m, passing Thompson and then Omanyala at the line, but with Coleman winning in 9.83 (+0.1), equaling the world best in 2023 (and his second 9.83 of the season). Lyles was second at 9.85, with Omanyala third in the same time and Thompson fourth in 9.87.
Last year’s Worlds runner-up Marvin Bracy-Williams of the U.S. got fifth at 10.01.
After a false start and disqualification of Alexander Ogando (DOM), the men’s 400 m started and Britain’s Worlds silver winner Matthew Hudson-Smith (GBR) pulled up on the back straight. Meanwhile, Worlds fourth-placer Vernon Norwood of the U.S. and London 2012 Olympic champ Kirani James (GRN) were in front, with Worlds bronzer Quincy Hall (USA) moving past Norwood and challenging for the lead in the final 75 m. Hall looked like he might take the lead, but James just held on as Hall ran out of gas at the line, 44.30 to 44.44. Norwood got third in 44.61 and U.S. champ Bryce Deadmon was fourth in 44.90.
In the Steeple, Kenyan Simon Koech, no. 3 in the world for 2023, led the race at 2,000 m, and then ran away from Samuel Firewu (ETH) over the final 200 m, winning in 8:06.26, with Firewu at 8:10.74 and George Beamish (NZL) third in 8:14.01.
The men’s high jump was tight through 2.29 m (7-6), then Sang-hyeok Woo (KOR) and Norbert Kobielski (POL) cleared 2.33 m (7-7 3/4) on their first try, with American Worlds silver medalist JuVaughn Harrison making on his third attempt. Only Woo made 2.35 m (7-8 1/2) to equal his lifetime best and take the Diamond League title, with Kobielski second on misses.
Only five competitors in the men’s triple jump, with Italy’s Andy Diaz winning with his first-round effort of 17.43 m (57-2 1/4), beating World Champion Hugues Fabrice Zango (BUR: 17.25 m/56-7 1/4). Three Americans follows: Donald Scott at 16.84 m (55-3), Chris Benard (16.07 m/52-8 3/4) and Will Claye, who had no legal mark.
In the men’s javelin, Jakub Vadlejch (CZE), the Worlds bronze medalist, reached 84.01 m (275-7) in the first round of the men’s javelin, good enough for the lead, as Worlds winner Neeraj Chopra (IND) was chasing at 83.80 m (274-11) in round two. No one improved except Vadlejch, who pushed out to 84.24 m (276-4) on his final toss for the winner. American Curtis Thompson reached 77.01 m (252-8) for fifth.
The women’s 100 m was another showdown between Worlds winner Sha’Carri Richardson of the U.S. and Jamaica’s runner-up, Shericka Jackson. Richardson got out poorly, as Marie-Josee Ta Lou (CIV) was in front, but Jackson got going in the middle of the race and won cleanly in 10.70 (+0.8). Ta Lou (10.75) was second and twice-Olympic champ Elaine Thompson-Herah (10.79), came on strong in the final 30 m got third. Richardson got up to fourth in the final 20 m in 10.80 and TeeTee Terry was right behind in 10.83.
Kenyan Faith Kipyegon, who won the 1,500 m and 5,000 m at Worlds and will try for the road mile title at the first World Road Champs in two weeks, was the focus of the women’s 1,500 m and was second at 400 m, ahead of Worlds silver winner Diribe Welteji (ETH) and Tokyo silver medalist Laura Muir (GBR). Kipyegon gapped the field by 800 m and was on her own with 500 m to go. She was up by 50 m on the backstraight and increasing her lead into the straight and finished with a rout in 3:50.72!
That’s the no. 5 performance in history, and she owns three of those, and now five of the top 10. Welteji took over for second on the final straight in a lifetime best of 3:53.93 (no. 10 performer all-time), with Muir third at 3:55.16. American Cory McGee was 10th in 4:01.28 and Sinclaire Johnson was 12th (4:03.21).
World Champion Winfred Yavi (BRN) and world-record holder Beatrice Chepkoech (KEN) headlined the women’s 3,000 m Steeple and by 2,000 m, they were 2-3 behind Worlds bronze winner Faith Cherotich (KEN: 5:59.01). Yavi and Chepkoech took over at 2,400 m and they were 1-2 at the bell and running away from the field. Chepkoech tried to take the lead on the final water jump, but Yavi would have none of it, and grabbed the lead back into the final straight and held on to win in a world-leading 8:50.66, to 8:51.67 for Chepkoech. Cherotich was also under 9:00 at 8:59.65.
Yavi’s win moves her to no. 2 all-time, behind only Chepkoech’s world record from 2018; Chepkoech’s mark is the no. 3 performance ever and Cherotich moves to no. 11 all-time. American Courtney Wayment finished ninth in 9:20.69.
Tokyo Olympic and 2022 World Champion Katie Moon of the U.S. and Slovenia’s Tina Sutej were the only ones over 4.81 m (15-9 1/4) in the women’s pole vault – a lifetime best for Worlds fourth-placer Sutej – with American Sandi Morris taking second at 4.71 m (15-5 1/2).
Neither Moon or Sutej cleared 4.86 m (15-11 1/4) on three tries, but Moon finally decided the issue with a jump-off clearance at 4.86 m, while Sutej missed.
Jamaica’s Shanieka Ricketts, a two-time Worlds silver winner, got in front from the start of the women’s triple jump at 14.79 m (48-6 1/4) in the first round. World-record holder and World Champkion Yulimar Rojas was again late to the party, in third after four rounds, but in the fifth, she exploded – as she always seems to – with a world-leading 15.35 m (50-4 1/2) explosion that was the winner.
Ricketts improved to 15.00 m (49-2 1/2) and then 15.03 m (49-3 3/4) for second and fellow Jamaican Kimberly Williams for third at 14.61 m (47-11 1/4).
In the women’s javelin, World Champion Haruka Kitaguchi (JPN) took the lead at 63.78 m (209-3) in round two and no one approached her. American Maggie Malone finished fourth at 60.42 m (198-3).
Superb, especially so late in the year. The meet continues on Sunday, with NBC’s coverage beginning at 3 p.m. Eastern.
For our updated, 787-event International Sports Calendar (no. 3) for 2023 and beyond, by date and by sport, click here!