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Aviva London Grand Prix

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Mo Farah

 

13 August 2010

Follow this link for timetable, start lists and results from the Aviva London Grand Prix

On the first day of action at the Aviva London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace, there were plenty of superb performances to help celebrate the world class fields on show, whilst the GB athletes battled hard in their homecoming fixture.

The event, which is the only one of the Samsung Diamond league series to take place over two days, welcomed home members of the Aviva GB and NI team, as well as allowing the country’s athletics fans to see world stars like Tyson Gay show his amazing class.

Report:

In a thrilling 3000m race, Double European gold medallist Mo Farah (Ricky Simms) didn’t quite make it a victorious homecoming, but he did not lose any face in being beaten by World Indoor champion Bernard Lagat.

Farah who stayed midpack for most of the race, joined the final 400m burn up as Australian Collis Birmingham took out the pace, and chased Lagat down the home straight in an exciting final 100m.

Lagat maintained his lead across the line, winning in 7:40.36 ahead of Farah’s 7:40.75, with GB teammate Chris Thompson crossing the line in sixth with a PB of 7:43.34.

Rejoicing in his homecoming, Farah said: It was amazing feeling tonight - I can't believe the support from the crowd. I'm at home and when my name was read out it was amazing!

“I'm a bit disappointed to finish second but Lagat is an amazing athlete.The last two weeks have been hectic but in the best possible way. What it has shown is that people are watching athletics and they do love it.”

Lisa Dobriskey (George Gandy) enjoyed a solid third place finish in the women’s 1500m race and the World silver medalist who looked so disappointed to finish out of the medals in the European Championships, regained her smile after finishing strongly in 4:09.07.

Although Kenya’s Nancy Langat won with 4:07.60, Dobriskey looked relieved to have put Barcelona behind her, revealing she was pleased to have had a tactical race and identifying that she had made errors in her European final.

“I watched the replay and my positioning was good but I made an error with about 200m to go,” she said.“I wasn’t aggressive enough so it’s been good to have a tactical race this evening.”

The crowd were also delighted with the stellar fields on show, and despite no two-way or even three-way run off against the likes of Asafa Powell or Usain Bolt, Tyson Gay was the star performance that closed the Friday night programme.

In the much anticipated 100m final, Gay streaked down the home straight putting in the full effort and registering the world’s fastest time for 2010 with a blistering 9.78 – a meeting record. Staying on to thank the crowd for their support after, the American was as talented in charming the spectators as he was fast in his historic sprint.

Top Brit in the evening’s 100m rounds was Mark Lewis Francis (Linford Christie) whose 10.30 missed out on a place in the evening finale by five one-hundredths of a second.

Another overseas star to light up the stadium with glamourous personality, Blanke Vlasic put on a strong show in the women’s high jump, and despite conditions making it tough for the field eventers all evening, she orchestrated the crowd’s support with precision.

With an evening’s best of 2.01m, and some close attempts at 2.04m, the Croatian dominated the event, clearing 10cm higher than second placed Spaniard Ruth Beitia. GB’s Steph Pywell was seventh with a best clearance of 1.85m.

Other key results from the Friday night programme included:

Dai Greene and Rhys Williams (Malcolm Arnold) had a world class field to face in the men’s 400m hurdles, and performed solidly for third and fifth positions. Bershawn Jackson of the USA took first in 48.12, with Greene and Williams clocking 49.09 and 49.85 respectively.

Phillips Idowu (Aston Moore) struggled with his run up in a high quality triple jump competition and his best leap of 16.54m took sixth position. Sweden’s Christian Olsson won with 17.41m ahead of Frenchman Teddy Tamgho with 17.27m.

In the men’s 800m Sudan’s Abubaker Kaki continued his superb season in taking first with 1:44.38, whilst there were mixed fortunes for the GB entrants. Darren St Clair was top GB man with a PB of 1:45.74 to his credit, with fellow Brit Gareth Warburton in seventh with 1:46.47 – also a PB. However European silver medallist Michael Rimmer was eighth overall with 1:46.51.

The men’s 400m B final included multiple Paralympic gold medallist Oscar Pistorius against a strong British field, but the end result was a GB 1-2-3 for key members of the current 4x400m squad. Conrad Williams (Linford Christie) just pipped Rob Tobin (Todd Bennett) for first in 46.09 to 46.12 with Richard Buck (Michael Khmel) taking third in 46.48. Pistorius finished seventh in 46.93.

The men’s T54 1500m wheelchair race was an intriguing duel between Swiss ace Marcel Hug and GB’s double Paralympic Gold medallist David Weir (Jenny Archer). With Weir tracking Hug for the latter stages, it looked ripe for a home straight sprint, but Hug’s wide final line around the top bend meant Weir could not use the slipstream release to overtake, and was forced to finish second.

Kenya’s Paul Koech took the men’s steeplechase win in 8.17.70 in a high quality race, but of interest to the GB audience was the performances of both Luke Gunn (Bud Baldaro) and Stuart Stokes, both who may well have October’s Commonwealth Games in their sights and maintaining good form in the late summer season.  Gunn crossed the line in eighth place with 8:32.65 with Stokes one place behind and a season’s best of 8:33.00.

In the women’s 5000m race, Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba put on an impressive sprint finish for first place in 14:36.41 in beating her Kenyan rival Vivian Cheruiyot who clocked 14:38.17. Freya Murray represented the British interest with 15:46.03 in 14th position.

The men’s pole vault was won by Poland’s Lukasz Michalski with 5.71m. Steve Lewis (Dan Pfaff) returned to competition after a mid season break from competition to finish sixth with a best clearance of 5.31m.

The women’s 100m hurdles final was a completely foreign affair, and proved to be an exciting spectacle with Canada’s Priscilla Lopes Schliep winning with a world leading 12.52 ahead of Australian hurdles ace Sally Pearson with 12.61. Current Diamond League leader Lolo Jones was third with 12.66, but saw her overall season lead eroded, and with two fixtures left in the series this event looks to have an intriguing finale in store.

However, in the sprints, Jones’ compatriot Allyson Felix was in superlative form with yet another victory over 200m. Her 22.37 for first place offering the Crystal Palace crowd an early taste of sprint excellence, with Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie of the Bahamas over half a second behind with 22.81. GB’s Abi Oyepitan (Tony Lester) ran a season’s best for seventh with 23.39.

Barbara Spotakova took an expected javelin victory with 63.50m in the rainy early evening conditions in a strong international field. The Czech just managed to take the points head of American Kara Patterson by 9cm with Patterson achieving 63.41m.

Cuban Yarelis Barrios won the women’s discus competition with a throw of 65.62 in the evening’s first event to take maximum Diamond League points, with British Youngster Jade Nicholls (Andrew Neal) finishing eighth with a best effort of 54.31m.

Russia’s Darya Klishina was the women’s long jump winner with 6.65m, equal with second placed compatriot Luydmila Kolchanova but having a better second best attempt with 6.55m. Jade Johnson’s (John Herbert) best jump of the night was 5.92m.

Belarussian Nadezhda Ostapchuk won the women’s shot competition taking maximum Diamond League points with her final round putt of 20.27m, whilst Rebecca Peake finished eighth with a best of `15.48m.

Earlier in the programme there had been a number of races for developing athletes:

In the Aviva On Camp With Kelly 800m race, Czech athlete Lenka Masna was the race winner in 2:00.72, but a flurry of GB personal bests from Celia Taylor, Alison Leonard (Arthur Almond) and Dani Christmas (George Gandy), meant there was a successful outcome for the athletes involved.

Minutes later the Junior women’s 3000m race took place with World Junior Championship representative Emilia Gorecka (Mick Woods) taking the victory with a last minute sprint to clock 9:27.02 ahead of Scot Beth Potter (John Nuttall) in 9:27.50.