It has been a successful few weeks for Elaine Thompson, who added Diamond League glory to her Olympic 100 metres title today.
Thompson’s stunning 2016 continued as the Olympic champion claimed Diamond League success by defeating Dafne Schippers in Brussels.
The Jamaican completed the 100 and 200m sprint double at the Rio Games last month and added the Diamond League title by crossing the line in first place today, runner-up Schippers 0.25 seconds behind.
Thompson’s winning time of 10.72secs matched the meet record set by Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce three years ago.
“Honestly I wanted faster this year, but OK, I won. Now I can go finally back home,” Thompson said. “I keep on smiling, because this season was really great. If I have to summarise it in one word: Wonderful!”
The Netherlands’ European champion Schippers had a good start by her standards and pushed Thompson all the way to 40 metres but then the Jamaican seemed to have several more gears and just flew away from the Dutchwoman over the second half of the race to equal her compatriot’s 2013 time of 10.72 and clock the third-fastest time of her career.
The win also sealed the Diamond Race in the short sprint for Thompson.
Schippers was a distant second in 10.97 but need not reproach herself as Thompson was in irresistible form.
Spain’s Olympic 110m hurdles silver medallist Orlando Ortega needed all his competitive will to overhaul Pascal Martinot-Lagarde as the Frenchman ran an outstanding first six hurdles.
Gradually, Ortega began to reel in Martinot-Lagarde and he edged in front of his rival off the ninth hurdle, holding on to his lead before winning in 13.08 – and confirming his status as the Diamond Race winner – while Martinot-Lagarde finished in a season’s best of 13.12.
“It’s been a good year for me, silver at the Olympics and now the Diamond Trophy,” said the Spaniard, who ran a national record of 13.04 earlier in the year. “The only thing I regret is not going under 13 seconds this season.”
Cassandra Tate picked the right moment to run a season’s best of 54.47 as her win propelled her to the top of the 400m hurdles Diamond Race standings.
Great Britain’s Eilidh Doyle lead the race by six points ahead of the final and led today right through the first half of the race, getting up on the shoulder of Rio 2016 silver medallist Sara Slott Petersen by the sixth hurdle.
However, Tate ran an inspired second bend and took the lead with two hurdles to go and held off Petersen’s second surge in the final few metres.
Petersen, the surprise European champion in July, finished second in 54.60 as Doyle faded down the home straight and finished fifth, handing the Diamond Race and US$40,000 cheque to Tate.
Caster Semenya dropped down distance to the 400m but still impressed, not just with her sheer speed but her timing and tactics.
Stephanie McPherson just had the edge over Natasha Hastings as the pair entered the home but Semenya came from fifth with 50 metres to go to go past a quartet of more experienced runners over one lap of the track to win in a personal best of 50.40.
USA’s Courtney Okolo also came through strongly late in the race and finished second with 50.51, getting the verdict over McPherson who was given the same time but whose third place was good enough to give her the Diamond Race by seven points from Hastings, who finished fifth.
Alonso Edward was assured of getting his third successive 200m Diamond Race as long as he went to his blocks, which was just as well as he finished sixth and was never a factor in Brussels.
At the sharp end, there was a thrilling three-way battle with Jamaica’s Julian Forte just edging out Great Britain’s Adam Gemili – the pair side-by-side in lanes four and five – but both men being given the same time of 19.97, which were also personal bests for the duo.
Asbel Kiprop and Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich did enough to hold off their rivals in the men’s 1500 and 800m, while Fabrice Lapierre’s leap of 8.17m was good enough for second place in the long jump and first overall, Gao Xinglong only managing 7.98.
Almaz Ayana and Madara Palameika did the little that was required to confirm their respective wins in the women’s 5000m and javelin, as did Piotr Malachowski in the men’s discus.