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Norwich Union London Grand Prix Report

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100m London Grand Prix
Men's 100m

Outstanding performances from some of the world’s greatest athletes, some encouraging, pre-World Championships outings for several British athletes and an enthusiastic packed crowd characterised the Norwich Union London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace on Friday…

 

Here’s a run-down of each event…

 

Men’s 4x100m relay

The final track event of the evening was won by USA B team from the USA A team in 38.38. The challenge of the GB & NI’s A team fell by the wayside, when third leg runner Marlon Devonish failed to collect the baton from Craig Pickering. The elder statesman took responsibility for the mistake and will now look to make amends in Osaka.

 

Men’s 2 miles

Popular Aussie Craig Mottram delivered yet another polished performance on British soil as he cantered to victory in 8:11.16. Roared on by a packed grandstand, GB & NI’s Mo Farah snatched 2nd from Kenya’s John Kimbowen in the final 50 metres to clock a PB of 8:20.47.

 

Men’s high jump

Sweden’s Olympic champion Stefan Holm produced his best leap of the season, to win with 2.32m. Germaine Mason was =4th with 2.22m, whilst GB & NI team-mate Martyn Bernard placed 8th with the same height.

 

Men’s long jump

For the second successive week, Chris Tomlinson pulled out a winning last round effort to snatch victory.  Last week, it was to take the UK Championship title in Manchester, this week he did the same to a stellar international field. His 6th round effort of 8.16m was just enough to pip USA’s Brian Johnson by 2cm. GB & NI’s Nathan Morgan was 3rd with 7.95 (+2.2m/s)

 

Afterwards, Tomlinson said: “Things are going so well at the moment. Four months ago, after the indoor season, I was considering quitting the sport. I had lost my sponsorship, I had no money and I even had to rent out my house just to stay in the sport. But now to be here winning at Crystal Palace just before Osaka is unbelievable.”

 

Men’s 1500m

USA’s Bernard Lagat caught Nicholas Kemboi (Kenya) in the closing straight to win in 3:35.71. Once again, GB & NI’s Andy Baddeley looked totally at ease in world-class company, coming home 3rd in 3:36, but afterwards, the ambitious 25 year-old said :”I am no longer happy finishing third. People are telling me that I am mixing with the best, but that is not good enough. I want to be beating the best.”  

 

Women’s 400m

The 2006 IAAF Female Athlete of the Year Sanya Richards (USA) was a majestic winner in 49.79. There was also an encouraging season’s best run from GB & NI’s Nicola Sanders, who was 4th in 50.97.

 

Men’s 400m

Tim Benjamin produced his best run of the season, clocking 45.28, inside the A qualifying guideline for the IAAF World Championships. It placed the 25 year-old 5th in a world-class field, headed by Olympic champion Jeremy Wariner, who won in 44.05. Afterwards, Benjamin said: “I am mighty pleased to have got that out of the way. I hope that is enough to get me to Osaka. It is the quickest I have run in two years. I am getting back to my best. I love it here, every time I run here I run well. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

 

Men’s 1500m Wheelchair

David Weir maintained his rich vein of form, outsprinting Julien Casoli (France) to win in 3:23.57.  GB & NI team-mate Brian Alldis was 7th in 3:27.56. 

 

Men’s 200m

Usain Bolt (Jamaica) thwarted the late charge of USA’s Wallace Spearmon to win in 20.06 (-0.1m/s). 19 year-old Luke Fagan was the best British finisher, 6th in 21.11.

 

Women’s pole vault

Olympic champion Yelena Isinbayeva delivered her customary crowd-pleasing performance, clearing 4.82m to take the win. Long-term rival and fellow Russian Svetlana Feofanova was 2nd with a season’s best of 4.76m. GB & NI’s Kate Dennison was 10th with a best of 4.10m.

 

Women’s 800m

Lucia Klocova of Slovakia bravely resisted a four-pronged British charge of Marilyn Okoro, Jemma Simpson, Jenny Meadows and Rebecca Lyne, who finished in that order, to win in 1:59.91, a mere 0.2secs clear of Okoro. Simpson’s 2:00.18, Meadows’ 2:00.30 and Lyne’s 2:00.86 were all season best performances.

 

Men’s 110m hurdles

The current World no3 Ryan Wilson (USA) produced a classy run, winning in 13.27 (-0.8m/s). Of the GB & NI athletes, Andy Turner was 6th in 13.61, with Allan Scott one place back in 14.01. 

 

Men’s 100m

The much-anticipated clash, saw World no1 Tyson Gay win in a searing 10.02 (-0.8m/s). European champion Francis Obikwelu (Portugal) was 2nd in 10.18, with UK champion Marlon Devonish 3rd in 10.26. 20-year-old Craig Pickering was 4th in 10.28, impressively snapping away at the more experienced athletes heels. Mark Lewis-Francis was 5th in 10.31, with Tyrone Edgar 7th in 10.33.

 

There was also an emotional farewell from one of GB & NI’s greatest ever sprinters as Jason Gardener made what was billed to be his final outdoor appearance in Britain. But after failing to make it through to the final, he took it further by suggesting it could have even be his last competition ever, anywhere following his semi-final exit.

 

“I have made a decision that I have got to the end of the road as a competing athlete.” He said. “It has been a really good career, but I want to move in a different direction now. I have never wanted to go to the championships to make up the numbers, I have always wanted to win and it looks like I am not in that shape now. So at the end of the season that’s it. I’m finished.”  At the conclusion of the meeting, he was given lap of honour in an Alfa Romeo Spider as the crowd rose to acclaim one of the UK’s most successful and popular athletes of recent times.

 

Men’s shot put

The competition was moved from its usual location from the edges of the in-field to more central position, giving the event a wider exposure.  The athletes responded in style, none more so than Reesa Hoffa, who won with an incredible final round effort of 22.43m. It was all the more commendable, coming right after fellow American Christian Cantwell had replaced Hoffa at the top of the leader board with his final round throw of 21.66m. GB & NI’s Carl Myerscough was 6th with 19.80m.

 

Women’s 3000m

Jo Pavey produced a typically gritty run, just failing to overhaul USA’s Lauren Fleshman in the finishing straight. The winning time was 8:43.92, with Pavey 0.21secs adrift.  Perhaps, the real British story of the race though came from 7th placed Stephanie Twell. The 17-year-old ran a superb race, clocking a PB of 8:53.34, to join Zola Budd and Paula Radcliffe as the only British athletes ever to run under 9 minutes for the women’s 3000m as a junior.

 

Afterwards, she said: “I couldn’t believe it when I saw the time. It was just so enjoyable. I wasn’t distracted at all, I could just concentrate and run my race. It was a bit of a ride, Mick (Woods – coach) and I wanted to run the race so I was constantly making progress. My main aim was just to come off the track with a smile on my face.” Mission accomplished then, for the beaming youngster.

 

Men’s triple jump

Though disappointed by the late withdrawal of UK no1 Phillips Idowu, the crowd were treated to a superb competition, which produced a national record and two personal bests. Aarik Nelson won with a splendid second round effort of 17.58m, a new personal best. UK champion Tosin Oke was also in the form of his life, setting a new PB of 16.86m to finish 4th. The mark was initially ruled a foul, but after review the mark was reinstated. Randy Lewis set a new Grenada record of 17.43m to finish 4rd. Leevan Sands of Bahamas was 2nd with 17.55m.

 

Women’s 200m

Jamaica’s Olympic champion Veronica Campbell showed her class as she scorched to victory in 22.55 (-1.9m/s) from Torri Edwards (USA) and Kim Gevaert (Belgium). GB & NI’s Jeanette Kwayke was 6th in 23.64, whilst Olympic heptathlon champion Carolina Kluft (Sweden) was 8th in 24.03. 

 

Women’s 400m Hurdles

UK Champion Natasha Danvers-Smith continued her build-up to Osaka by taking a comfortable victory in 55.60. Andrea Blackett of Barbados was 2nd in 56.66, with GB & NI’s Nusrat Ceesay 3rd in 58.10.

 

Women’s 100m

A tightly-contested domestic affair which saw Laura Turner burst through in the closing stages to win in 11.37 (-1.6m/s), equalling the PB she set earlier this summer.  It was quick revenge for Turner, after she was pipped to gold by Jeanette Kwakye at last weekend’s UK Championships in Manchester.   Kwayke had to settle for 2nd on this occasion, with Joice Maduaka 3rd.

 

Men’s 400m

Martyn Rooney celebrated his selection for the IAAF World Championship by defeating an all-British field in confident style, winning in 46.01. Robert Tobin held off Dale Garland and Graham Hedman to finish 2nd in 46.50.

 

Development races

In the women’s 800m 'On Camp with Kelly' race, Hannah England timed her run to perfection, kicking clear with 100m remaining to win in 2:05.98. Emma Pallant saw off Jessica Coulson and Emily Pidgeon with a fierce last lap charge to win the women’s 3000m U20 race in a PB of 9:22.65. David Forrester won the men’s U20 3000m after moving clear in the final 200m with long-time leader Conor McNulty to win in a PB of 8:31.66. McNulty eventually faded to 4th. In the women’s U20 100m, Anike Shand-Whittingham was a clear victor in 11.77 (-1.0m/s). 

 

Full results