Diamond League brings top performances to adidas Grand Prix
INDIANAPOLIS — Celebrating its sixth year as a
world-wide athletics attraction, the adidas Grand Prix threw an
internationally renowned, record-breaking, and heart-stopping party in
New York at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island. Saturday’s adidas Grand
Prix, part of the Visa Championships Series and IAAF Diamond League,
had a sold-out crowd chanting, screaming, and begging for more as a VIP
list of track & field Olympians and world champions set nine meet
records, four world-leading marks and two national records.
Two-time Olympic Gold medalist Veronica
Campbell-Brown of Jamaica and three-time World Champion Felix have
established the most celebrated women’s sprint rivalry in the world. In
the Visa women’s 200m on Saturday, Campbell-Brown opened a powerful
lead off the curve, leaving Felix trailing by several meters. But the
American closed the gap in the final 50 meters and both women leaned
mightily at the tape. Still, Campbell-Brown’s strength won out as she
crossed the line in 21.98, a 2010 world-leading time and meet record.
Felix was second in 22.03.
“I ran out of grand at the end,” said
Felix. “My start set me up to play catch up. I’m used to her
[Campbell-Brown] getting out on me, but I just ran out of ground.”
Campbell-Brown’s run took a toll on her
body as she lay on the ground clutching her hamstring. But the standing
Jamaican ovation encouraged her to her feet as she jogged off the
track, waving and saluting the crowd. Felix’s performance was good
enough to score 1,220 points and place her on top of the Visa
As Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal”
boomed over the loud speaker, another Jackson – Bershawn “Batman”
Jackson” – tried to steal away the gold in the adidas men’s 400m
hurdles. Although Kerron Clement owns two world titles to Jackson’s
one, both were tied in the Diamond League standings coming into the
adidas men’s 400m hurdles. Jackson showed his strength by charging over
the ten hurdles, but Clement’s long stride gave him an advantage in the
homestretch to win in 47.86. For his performance, Clement also earned
the leading spot (1,229 points) in the Visa Championships Series as
well as the Athlete of the Meet, presented by Visa.
“I knew by the sixth hurdle I had to go,”
said Clement. “I didn’t expect to run 47.8. I’ve been working on my
starts, working on a lot of 40s and 60s before practice and its showing
that my speed is coming back.”
Improving on her world-leading time from
the Oslo Bislett Games and further staking her claim on the Diamond
League first-place standing, Lolo Jones finished the women’s 100m
hurdles in 12.55 seconds. Perdita Felicien of Canada was behind her in
“At about the fifth hurdle I started to
feel Ginnie Crawford beside me,” said Jones. “I stayed calm and
collected. At 7 or 8, I got a little sloppy, but I tightened up my
finish, and it’s all good. The time is good. This was a tough field;
it’s probably like the Olympic final in 2012.”
Another Olympic sprinter and celebrity
guest for the evening, Maurice Greene, joined Jones on the field to
offer special congratulations. As the crowd clapped and cheered for the
two sprint sensations, Jones responded by leading the crowd in a wave.
In the women’s 1500m, Christin
Wurth-Thomas took a commanding lead by the bell lap but she was soon
overtaken by Kenya’s Nancy Langat, who won in a world-leading and meet
record time of 4:01.60.
In his usual fashion, two-time USA
outdoor champion Nick Symmonds started the adidas men’s 800m in the
back of the pack. Kicking hard was not enough to beat out South
Africa’s Mbulaeni Mulaudzi in a meet record time of 1:44.38. Symmonds
finished as the runner-up in 1:45.05.
In the Western Union men’s 100m,
Trinidad’s Richard Thompson (9.89) captured first with Jamaica’s Yohan
Blake (9.91) taking second.
For the men’s 3000m steeplechase, Kenya
swept the top three with Paul Koech (8:10.43), Patrick Langat (8:15.52)
and Kiprop Kipruto (8:15.52), respectively.
Reigning Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m gold
medalist, Tirunesh Dibaba, “the baby faced destroyer”, extended her
dominance in the NYRR women’s 5,000m, finishing in 14:11.15.
A world-leading triple jump and three
meet records made the field events an exciting sight. Teddy Tamgho’s
world-leading triple jump (17.98m/59-0) was not only a French national
record, but also the best jump in the world in twelve years. Valerie
Vili of New Zealand set a meet record (19.93m/65-4.5) in the women’s
shot put, France’s Renaud Lavillenie set a meet record (5.85m/19-2.25)
in the men’s pole vault, and Andreas Thorkildsen also set a meet record
(87.02/ 285-6) in the men’s javelin.
In other field events, four-time USA
outdoor champion Aretha Thurmond’s best toss of 61.19m/200-9 in the
discus was out-thrown by Croatia’s Sandra Perkovic’s 61.96m/203-3.
Brianna Glenn’s 6.78/22-3 long jump earned her gold over Canadian Ruky Abdulai’s 6.66m/21-10.25 finish.
Sweeden’s Linus Thornblad captured the
top spot in the men’s high jump with a clearance of 2.30m/7-6.5, while
Jesse Williams reached the same height but finished second.
The women’s three-event challenge saw
Hyleas Fountain, Jessica Ennis, Bettie Wade, and Kasey Hill to compete
in the overall best result in the women’s shot put, long jump, and 100m
hurdles. Fountain won the triple competition with Ennis second.
For more information on the 2010 adidas Grand Prix and USATF’s Visa Championship Series, visit www.visachampionshipseries.com. For more information and complete results from the IAAF’s Diamond League, visit http://www.diamondleague.com/Home/.
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