31 August, 2018

Coleman, Barega and Ibarguen star at AG Memorial Van Damme

The 42nd edition of the AG Memorial Van Damme in Brussels decided over 15 finals in the IAAF Diamond League. In a packed King Baudouin Stadium Christian Coleman, Selemon Barega and Caterine Ibarguen starred with glittering performances.

The men’s 100 metres was an absolute show-stopper with an American duel between Christian Coleman and Ronnie Baker. While Baker was slow out of the gate, Coleman took off like a rocket on his way to a fabulous 9.79. That’s a personal best, a world leading performance and just 0.03 shy of Usain Bolt’s 2011 meeting record. With Yohan Blake (9.94) and Reece Prescod (9.99) four athletes dipped below the 10-second mark.

A second highlight was a sensationally quick 5000-metre race. Ethiopia dominated the event by locking out the entire top-five. The 18-year-old wonderkid Selemon Barega took home the Diamond Trophy with an astonishing 12:43.02, shattering Birhanu Balew world’s leading time by 20 seconds and setting a new Diamond League record in the process.

Hagos Gebrhiwet (12:45.82) was second ahead of Yomif Kejelcha (12:46.79), with all three running a new personal best. In total nine out of thirteen finishers improved their personal records, including local fan favourite Bashir Abdi (13:04.91). Abdi improved his Belgian record by over a second during his last-ever track race. The top-eight all stayed below 13 minutes in a memorable race.

Caterine Ibarguen showed her class once more. Just 24 hours after winning the triple jump Diamond Trophy in Zurich, the Colombian did the double in Brussels. She dug deep to win the long jump with 6m80, fending off Britain’s Sarah Proctor (6m70) and American Sha'Keela Saunders (6m68).

The night started with a huge upset in the women’s discus. Sandra Perkovic, who had won the Diamond Trophy for the past six years in a row, had to settle for third with a throw of 64m31. Cuba's Yaime Perez (65m00) triumphed ahead of Brazilian Andressa de Morais (64m65).

Salwa Eid Naser, the favourite on the women’s 400 metres, didn’t disappoint. The Bahraini athlete ran off into the distance on the final straight to clinch a comfortable win in a sharp 49.34.

The 3000 metre steeplechase was a Kenyan affair with Beatrice Chepkoech (8:55.10) setting a new meeting record ahead of her compatriots Norah Jeruto (8:59.62) and Hyvin Kiyeng (9:01.60).

A tight 1500-metre race went to Britain’s Laura Muir (3:58.49), who beat Shelby Houlihan (3:58.94) and Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan (3:59.41).

Hassan took a second Diamond League podium in consecutive days after finishing second in last night’s 5000 metres in Zurich.

On the 100 metre hurdles the diamonds went to American Brianna McNeal (12.61) ahead of her compatriot Kendra Harrison (12.63) and Jamaica's Danielle Williams (12.64).

Shaunae Miller-Uibo was unstoppable on the 200 metres. The Bahamian sprinting queen won in 22.12 ahead the Dutch pair Dafne Schippers (22.53) and Jamile Samuel (22.64).

Sergey Shubenkov was this year’s fastest man on the 110 hurdles and he made his point in Brussels with a win in 12.97. Spain’s Orlando Ortega (13.10) was second, followed by Jamaican Hansle Parchment (13.35).

On the 800 metres Kenya's Emmanuel Kipkurui Korir (1:44.72) held off Poland's Marcin Lewandowski (1:45.21) after a ferocious sprint. Fellow Kenyan Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich was third in 1:45.28.

Jamaican Fedrick Dacres (68m67) was the best discus thrower of the night by beating Lithuania's Andrius Gudzius (67m56) and Swede Daniel Stahl (66m74). On the triple jump Portugal's Pedro Pablo Pichardo lept to 17m49, taking the honours ahead of American duo Christian Taylor (17m31) and Donald Scott (17m25).

The high jump turned into a duel between Australian Brandon Starc and Germany's Mateusz Przybylko. Both cleared 2m33, but Starc made fewer mistakes along the way and took the overall Diamond League win. Flamboyant Italian  Gianmarco Tamberi was third with 2m31.

Last but not least, the pole vault pitched seven athletes with experience of life beyond six metres against each other. None managed to break the magical six metre barrier, but Timur Morgunov’s 5m93 was only three centimetres shy of Renaud Lavillenie’s meeting record. The French world record holder had to settle for fifth, European champion Armand Duplantis only managed seventh. American Sam Kendricks (5m88) and Canadian Shawn Barber (5m83) joined Morgunov on the podium.

The first of sixteen Diamond League finals was held the night before on the iconic Brussels Grand Place. The Chinese world champion Lijiao Gong took home a second consecutive Diamond Trophy.

The 16 Diamond League winners in Brussels:

men:

  • pole vault: Timur Morgunov (Ana)
  • discus: Fedrick Dacres (Jam)
  • high jump: Brandon Starc (Aus)
  • 110m hurdles: Sergey Shubenkov (Ana)
  • triple jump: Pedro Pablo Pichardo (Por)
  • 100m: Christian Coleman (USA)
  • 800m: Emmanuel Kipkurui Korir (Ken)
  • 5000m: Selemon Barega (Eth)

women:

  • shot put: Lijao Gong (Chn)
  • discus: Yaimé Perez (Cub)
  • long jump: Caterine Ibarguen (Col)
  • 400m: Salwa Eid Naser (Brn)
  • 3000m steeplechase: Beatrice Chepkoech (Ken)
  • 1500m: Laura Muir (Gbr)
  • 100m hurdles: Brianna McNeal (USA)
  • 200m: Shaunae Miller-Uibo (Bah)