06 September, 2019

Lyles and Asher-Smith king and queen of the sprint, Taylor breaks 24-year old meet record

Friday night's AG Memorial Van Damme revealed the identity of the 15 new IAAF Diamond League champions. Triple jumper Christian Taylor stole the show by breaking the meet record dating back to 1995. Noah Lyles and Dina Asher-Smith starred in the sprints of the 43rd edition of the Memorial.

Former world record holder Willie Banks, inducted into the AG Memorial Van Damme Hall of Fame this week, watched on as fellow American Christian Taylor took a seventh Diamond League trophy. The two-time Olympic and three-time world champion established a new meet record of 17m85, beating the 1995 record of Jonathan Edwards by 25 cm. Taylor's compatriot Will Claye was second with 17m22. 

The USA also dominated the men’s 200 metres with Noah Lyles taking the diamond trophy with a time of 19.74. Undeterred by a cool drizzle the 22-year-old beat Turkey’s Ramil Guliyev (19.86) and Canadian Andre De Grasse (19.87). 

Dina Asher-Smith wrote history by becoming the first European winner on the 100 metres, and the youngest ever Diamond League champion in the discipline. The 23-year old sprint sensation is no stranger to writing history, as she graduated with a history degree two years ago from London's King’s College. In Brussels she took the win in a rapid 10.88, her season’s best and just 0.03 shy of her personal record. Two-time Olympic champion and young mother Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was second in 10.95, ahead of Ivory Coast’s Marie-Josée Ta Lou (11.09).


On the men's 400 metres pre-race favourite Michael Norman didn’t disappoint. The 21-year old American had been fastest all year and reaffirmed his status by beating Fred Kerley. Norman won with 44.26 ahead of Kerley's 44.46. Belgian Jonathan Sacoor, the junior world champion, finished seventh in 45.72 as a wildcard. 

The 3000 metres steeplechase got a wild finish as Getnet Wale and Soufiane El Bakkali fought elbow to elbow to the line. The 19-year old Ethiopean Wale got the win with 8:06.92, just ahead the 23-year-old from Morocco. 

Olympic champion Orlando Ortega is the new Diamond League champion on the 110 metres hurdles. The Spaniard triumphed in 13.22 and held off Ronald Levy (13.31) and Sergey Shubenkov (13.33). Danielle Williams was outstanding on the 100 metres hurdles. The Jamaican took a dominant win with 12.46 ahead of the American pair Kendra Harrison (12.73) and Nia Ali (12.74).


Timothy Cheruiyot grabbed a convincing 1500 metres win, the Kenyan finishing clear of the opposition with 3:30.22. The Ingebrigtsen brothers took second and third. The 18-year old Jakob Ingebrigtsen, the European champion on the 1500 and 5000 metres, was second in 3:31.62. Filip Ingebrigtsen, eight years his senior, was third in 3:33.33.

Op the women's 5000 metres Sifan Hassan accelerated away from the pack to to win in 14:26.26, ahead of Letesenbet Gidey (14:29.54), Konstanze Klosterhafen (14:29.89) and Hellen Obiri (14:33.90). Ajee Williams is the new 800 metres Diamond League champion The American finished in 2:00.24 to beat her compatriot Raevyn Rogers (2:00.67). 


In the men’s discus Swede Daniel Stahl made a big statement by opening with a throw of 68m68. Four of his next five throws also went beyond 67 or 68 metres. Austrian Lukas Weisshaidinger was second with 66m03, followed by Jamaican Fedrick Dacres with 65m27. In the women’s competition Yaime Perez was a repeat winner after the Cuban threw 68m27, well clear of Croatia's Sandra Perkovic (66m00) and Germany's Kristin Pudenz (63m73).

Malaika Mihambo took a deserved long jump win. The German, who had dominated all season, was the only athlete to jump beyond the seven metre barrier: 7m03. Four-time world champion Brittney Reese was second with 6m85.

Katerina Stefanidi was the best pole vaulter at the AG Memorial Van Damme. The Greek reigning world and Olympic champions won in 4m83. Russia's Azhelika Sidorova matched that height, but took more attempts to get there. Canadian Alysha Newman cleared 4m77 to finish third.


Unsurprisingly Maria Lasitskene took an 18th consecutive high jump win. The Russian stayed flawless all the way to 1m99. Ukraine's Yuliya Levchenko finally cleared 1m97 to finish second. Crowd favourite Nafi Thiam, the Olympic and world heptathlon champion, delighted the crowd with a 1m95 jump and third place. At the end Lasitskene raised the bar to 2m04, but that proved a bridge too far on a chilly Friday night in the capital of Belgium.