Birmingham Diamond League 2014

After Stockholm, it’s Birmingham time! And so, without freddy adu… let’s start.

Discus Men

This is Harting’s territory, and Malachowski knows that. He handed the victory to King Harting on a plate of gold, and settled for second place, over 2.5 meters behind him. Harting’s result – 67.57, not bad. He still chases Malachowski in the diamond race, but if he’ll take this thing seriously, I don’t think Piotr will manage to stay on top much longer. The difference is 6 points. Stay tuned!

Pole Vault Women

An event that didn’t feature some very high-level vaulting, judging by the results and the summary we were shown. Where are all these Russian vaulters who impressed us at the European Championships?! 3 vaulters registered a NM, including the diamond race leader, the blog’s favorite Fabiana Murer. Greece was dominant, with Stefanidi winning with a mediocre result of 4.57, and Kyriakopoulou taking second place. Stefanidi is a real revelation this season. We’ll see if her late surge can help her in catching Murer in the diamond race.

Triple Jump Women

Hey, Olga Rypakova is still alive! I haven’t seen this talented Kazakh triple jumper for a long time, but it turns out she was away gaving birth. I like her, and she finished second in Birmingham, but no jumper is a match for Ibarguen these days. Ibarguen’s result was not the unbelievable 15.31 from a Monaco, but she still won, this time with a 14.52. There’s no way anyone will catch her in the diamond race. But we’ll see what happens next year, with Rypakova (the Olympic champion, mind you!) and Saladuha (hopefully) back in their top form.

Shot Put Women

All hail Her Majesty Queen Valerie Adams, the first of her name! Another super-easy victory for her, with all four of her valid attempts going much further than the best attempt of second place Schwanitz. 19.96 this time, no 20+, But a win is a win. And this one was her 55th victory in a row. Damn.

400m Men

Ok, no more reviews of what was earlier, this is live time! And surprisingly we start with a regular 400 and not with the 400 hurdles. Ok…

No LaShawn Merritt this time, which is a bit surprising, because he is one of the most diligent athletes out there, and he rarely skips a meeting. Kirani James, the other half of this amazing duo, was here, and he won easily. But probably due to Merritt’s absence his winning time was not a marvel to behold, a mere 44.59. He still chases LaShawn in the diamond race.

High Jump Men

This event was one of the best in Birmingham. We had a quartet of great jumpers here, who split themselves into two duos – Drouin and Kynard (He really really reminds me of Kobe Bryant!), who jumped 2.32 for places 3-4, and of course Barshim and Bondarenko, who both set a new MR with a 2.38 on their third try, for places 1-2. Both had a superb third attempt, but Barshim’s clearance was better, and he probably had a 2.43 there… unfortunately he wasn’t able to repeat that at the next height, 2.41, and they both finished with 2.38, with Barshim winning due to clearing 2.28 on his first attempt (Bohdan on his second). Bondarenko still leads the diamond race, with 16 points to Barshim’s 12.

400m Hurdles Women

Another easy win for Novlene Williams-Mills, eh, I mean Kaliese Spencer! Khaleesi’s time was 53.80, pretty close to her WL, and she continues to rack up diamond points. By now she has such a massive lead that the only way she can lose the diamond race is by starting a fight with some official at the next meet and getting herself DQ’d for the season. Apart from that, Kori Carter managed to stumble and to record a DNF, which is something we rarely get to see in the 400m hurdles…

Javelin Women

Who the fuck is Elizabeth Gleadle?!?! This not-so-young Canadian came out of nowhere and beat Spotakova, Ratej and Linda Stahl in this meet. I never heard of her until now, and I was really surprised when Spotakova couldn’t respond to her 64.49 with some massive throw of her own. She finished in second place with a below-par 62.89. Interesting. She still leads the diamond race, though, with 14 points to Ratej’s 10.

200m Men

I will summarize it as follows: Ashmeade won and maintained his lead over Alonso Edward in the standings, with a mediocre 20.33. Nothing more to say.

100m Women

We actually had two semi-finals here, before this event which was labeled as the “final”. Interesting concept, but a really shitty one, because Allyson Felix didn’t qualify for the final. Anyhow, we had the leader of the diamond race, the sensation Tori Bowie, lined up against Kerron Stewart, but just as Bowie was beginning to come into her element, she pulled a muscle or something, and didn’t finish the race. I hope it’s nothing serious…

Kerron won ahead of Soumare (damn, this girl simply can’t get a first place finish) and Asha Philip, with a 11.22. Carmelita Jeter ran here as well, which is a rare sight this season. I have a big issue with Jeter and her unbelievable and unheard-of improvement at 28 years of age, but this is not the place to talk about it. Anyway, she is already nearing the end of her career.

Long Jump Men

Meh.

This time, 5 jumpers went over 8m. Hey, that’s fucking awesome! No? Well, the winning distance was a mere 8.09… And it was achieved by Christian Taylor. When a triple jumper, who’s PB in the long jump is only 8.19, wins – it’s a sure sign of a problem in the event. Rutherford under-performed , with a 8.04, and so did the diamond race leader – Jeff Henderson (8.01). The situation in the men’s long jump this year is really bad.

3000m Steeplechase Men

I already wrote about this event suffering this year as well. At least here we had a very fast tempo, with Birech really trying to get a good result. And he would have done it, too, if not for this bizarre incident at the final barrier, where he approached it without an intention of clearing and as a result really halted awkwardly, and actually stopped. Luckily, he had a massive lead over the rest of the field, and so he simply climbed over it and continued towards the finish line. Weird, to say the least. His time – a very decent 8:07.80, and a new MR, but if he would’ve cleared that last barrier like he normally does, we probably would have been treated to a 8:02. Birech has a very comfortable lead in the diamond race as of now.

2 Miles Women

WTF is this distance?! What is it with the Brits?! Nevertheless, some good quality we had here. Genzebe Dibaba (do we still need to emphasize that this is Genzebe? When can we start simply calling her Dibaba?) led the way before the final lap, but then her lack of finishing speed ruined once again her chances of winning, and she finished only 4th. I don’t understand why she can’t develop a finishing speed, when she has for a sister the greatest distance runner of the past 10 years.

Anyway, Cherono won here, and became the single leader of the diamond race. Her time – a very good 9:11.49, not too far from Defar’s WR (8:58), and 3rd on the all-time rankings! But then again, this is 2 miles, a distance that is very rarely run…

800m Women

Lynsey Sharp had a great run, in front of her home crowd, who was probably the reason behind her finishing first, ahead of the diamond race leader and world champion Sum. Not a great run in terms of the result – 1:59.14, but a very interesting battle nonetheless.

P.S. – what has happened to Janeth Jepkosgei? This once great runner is definitely not having a good year…

100m Hurdles Women

Aaaaaand if we’re on the subject of great athletes who are not having a good year… it’s Sally Pearson’s time!

I really like this Aussie hurdler, and her 2011-2012 seasons were for the ages. She came very close to Donkova’s legendary WR, but she has really struggled these past two years. This time we could see that her amazing starting ability is still there, but she doesn’t have the speed to sustain the fast pace of her competitors. She finished third with a 12.85, a time she wouldn’t have even looked at 2-3 years ago.

The winner was the always very-likable Dawn Harper-Nelson, whose battles with Queen Harrison were the highlight of this year’s 100m hurdles. Her time – 12.66, not impressive to say the least. But hey, at least we were treated to her signature cartwheel! Harrison, the diamond race leader, came second.

1 Mile Men

Boy do I love Asbel Kiprop! He was trapped behind the leaders with about 150m to go, but then he broke free, and overcame Souleiman, Kibet and Magut on the final straight with his long strides, to win and come within one point of Silas Kiplagat, the diamond race leader. He set a new MR along the way, 3:51.89.

Another interesting runner was Tesfaye, who started out like a madman and was the only runner who stuck with the pacemakers’ very fast pace. But, his glorious plan backfired, and he finished dead last, with a shameful 4:01.51. Even Roger Bannister is ashamed of you, Tesfaye!

2 Miles Men

Not a diamond event, but interesting nonetheless, so I decided to write about it anyway.

This was Mo’s show. They set the stage for him to try and break the MR, which stood for 28 years. And Mo delivered. Farah ran basically on his own after the two pacemakers were gone. I guessed that it would hurt him in the final lap, because without some other runner breathing down his neck he would have trouble producing the truly mind-fucking  times he usually produces for his final 400m. And true enough, his last lap took about 60 seconds instead of the usual amazing 55 and below.

But still, Mo proved that he can run for a fast result if he’s encouraged to do so, and that he’s not only a brilliant tactician. Like I said, he ran by himself the last I don’t know, 1000m, and finished with a great result of 8:07.85. A new MR, the fastest time since 2007, and 12th on the all-time list! A great run for Mo!

Watching this distance actually reminded me of the record holder in this event, the only man to run back-to-back sub-4 miles, Daniel Komen. Many years ago, when I only started to get interested in track & field, Komen was a true prodigy. He had amazing results in such a variety of distances, and was a real threat to the Caesar, Haile Gebrselassie… I was really sad when his career deteriorated quickly, and he became non-relevant at a very young age.

And on that happy note, that’s it for Birmingham. Next stop – Zurich!

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