Ronnie Baker in the spotlight in the Golden Gala
The fourth leg of the IAAF Diamond League in Rome was highlighted by seven world seasonal best marks, a new Diamond League record and three meeting records. Filippo Tortu finished third in 10.04 behind Ronnie Baker (9.93 world seasonal best) and Frenchman Jimmy Vicaut (10.02) but edged world silver medallist Chris Coleman. Qatar’s Abderrahman Samba set a Diamond League record in the men’s 400m hurdles with 47.48 beating world champion Karsten Warholm, who set a new European Under 23 record with 47.82. Maria Lasitskene Kuchina won the women’s high jump with 2.02m. Elena Vallortigara finished third with 1.94m. The Golden Gala night was highlighted by good results achieved by Italian atletes. Ayomide Folorunso set the Italian Under 23 record with 55.16. Other world seasonal marks were set by Hyvin Kyeng in the women’s 3000m steeplechase with 9:04.96, Conseslus Kipruto in the men’s 3000m steeplechase with 8:08.40, Timothy Cheruiyot in the men’s 1500m with 3:31.22 and Luvo Manyonga in the men’s long jump with 8.58m. Fred Kerley won the men’s 400m in 44.33. Davide Re set the second fastest European time this season with 45.49. Wycliffe Kinyamal won the men’s 800m in 1:44.65. Salwa Naser clinched the women’s 400m in 50.50. Marie Josée Ta Lou added her win in the 200m to her two 100m victories in Doha and Eugene clocking 22.49. Sharika Nelvis won for the second time in her career in Rome in the women’s 100m hurdles in 12.76. Sandra Perkovic set the meeting record in the women’s discus throw with 68.93m. Fedrick Dacres came close to the men’s discus throw meeting record with 68.51m.
by Diego Sampaolo
Ronnie Baker topped the bill at the 38th edition of the Golden Gala Pietro Mennea by winning the eagerly awaited men’s 100 metres improving his world leading mark with 9.93. European record holder Jimmy Vicaut finished second in 10.02 missing his seasonal best by 0.02.
Last year’s European Under 20 champion Filippo Tortu also grabbed the headlines by finishing third in 10.04 ahead of world indoor champion and record holder Christian Coleman by 0.02 to the delight of Italian fans. Tortu just missed his career best set last week in Savona by 0,01 and backed up his position as the second Italian sprinter in history behind Pietro Mennea’s historic national record of 10.01 set in Mexico City in 1979. Tortu also beat other great stars like Akani Simbine (10.13), Michael Rodgers (10.13) and the other Italian star Marcel Jacobs (10.19).
“My start was quite good. I am really satisfied. In Savona I clocked 10.03 on this very fast track. This 10.04 means a lot. I will only be able to tell you when I can run sub 10 at the moment I achieve it. I do not know now. Today was a great day. Meeting the Pope was an experence for me that was more important than any race”
Men’s 400 metres hurdles: Abderrahman Samba smashed his own DL record with an impressive 47.48, the fastest time in the world for the past 10 years. The young Qatari hurdler, who won the first leg of the Diamond League with 47.57 in Doha, also improved the meeting record held by Felix Sanchez with 47.72 since 2002. Reigning world champion Karsten Warholm improved the national record and the European Under 23 record with 47.82. European gold medallist Yasmani Copello finished third with 48.63.
“It’s a big feeling to break not only my personal best but also it’s the Asian record, the national record and the Diamond League record. I now hope every race will feel like this. I say thank-you to my rivals for pushing me. I told Karsten thank-you especially. We are now giving the 400m hurdles the attention it deserves. I will next run in Oslo. I take every race seriously and the big goal is always to run fast. I don’t know how fast I can run but we still see in the near future”.
Men’s long jump: Luvo Manyonga won a thrilling men’s long jump edging Juan Miguel Echevarria with a world seasonal best of 8.58m in the second round, which improved his own 8.56m set in Shanghai last month. The reigning world champion from South Africa took a re-match against Cuban 19-year-old Juan Miguel Echevarria, who smashed his personal best with 8.53m in the second round.
“Today my motivation was big. My aim is always to come out normally, like today. The DL is very important for me, because there are no major competitions. I also want to win the African title this year. It’s a very important season in terms of performances. Today was a tight competition. I was waiting for this. I met Echevaria last time at the World Indoors hwhere he beat me. I wanted to compete against him and give back, I am quite happy with this performance”
Women’s high jump: Mariya Kuchina Lasitskene scored her 40th win in a row and her 14th career win in the Diamond League equalling the record of victories in the circuit held by Blanka Vlasic. The double world outdoor and indoor champion won in Rome for the second consecutive year after clearing 2.03m last year. The Russian star improved Nafissatou Thiam’s world seasonal best by 1 cm. Olympic silver medallist Mirela Demireva finished second with 1.94m beating Italy’s Elena Vallortigara on countback. Vallortigara equalled the second best performance of her career just one cm off her fresh 1.95 career best set last month and beat world indoor bronze medallist Alessia Trost, who had to settle with seventh place with 1.88m.
Men’s 1500 metres: Timothy Cheruiyot beat his friend and training partner Elijah Manangoi in 3:31.22 improving his own world seasonal best of 3:31:48 set in Shanghai last month. Reigning world champion Manangoi finished second in 3:33.79 beating world indoor champion Samuel Tefera (3:34.84).
Men’s 400 metres: Last year’s NCAA champion Fred Kerley won in an impressive 44.33 on his debut in the Golden Gala, setting the fourth fastest time of the year. The young US star edged world bronze medallist Abdallelah Haroun by 0.04. Davide Re clocked the second fastest time in Europe this season with 45.49.
“It was all about coming out to execute well and I conserved my energy in the first 200 metres and finished strong in the finall 100m. I am excited to run a seasonal best but there is a lot of room to improve and so I just want to keep on getting better. I feel good. I could have finished bettere but I got out too strong, so I could not finish the race stronger. This year is an off year but I just keep on going”.
Women’s 200 metres: World silver medallist Marie Josée Ta Lou won her third race of the Diamond League season with a seasonal best of 22.49 following up her wins in the 100m in Doha in 10.85 and in Eugene in 10.88,
Marie Josée Ta Lou:
“I am happy that my winter went well but I feel more confident over 100m, the 200m is becoming too long for me. I have worked hard after I had some injuries, so I am happy with a season’s best tonight and I thank God I could win. I am surpried to still be running well after changing my technique recently but now I need to maitain it. I still need to work on my start and finish. I want a PB every race and to be ready for the World Championships next year”
Women’s 3000 metres steeplechase: Kenyan Hyvin Kyeng, world champion in Beijing 2015, set the world seasonal best and the meeting record with 9:04.56.
Women’s discus throw: Twice Olympic champion and three-time world gold medallist Sandra Perkovic won the women’s discus with a best throw of 68.93m in her fifth attempt improving the 32-year-old meeting record held by Bulgaria’s Tsvetanka Khristova,, who had held it with 68.90m since 1986. The Croatian star won for the third time in Rome after her previous victories in 2013 and 2015 and clinched the 40th Diamond League win of her career. It’s the second DL meeting record this season for Perkovic, who won in Doha with 71.38m. Cuban Yaimé Perez finished second with 66.62m beating her compatriot Denia Caballero (63.48m).
“I love Rome. I came here to break the meeting record and I am happy I managed to improve it but the rounds were tough for me. I still threw far and felt quite fluent but I had to keep changing my techique and I had a problema round 65m, so I was really angry. I just thought: “It is now or never” and go for the meeting record. I was pleased I got it at the end. It feels like home in Rome. Italy and Croatia share a border and I love the food here. I hope to collect my seventh Diamond League title this year. I am proud to be the most successful athlete in Diamond League history. I hope to take the meeting record in the other DL competitions this year”.
Men’s discus throw: Jamaica’s Fedrick Dacres came close to breaking the meeting record, when he threw the discus to 68.51m in the second attempt overtaking world champion Andrius Gudzius from Lithuania, who took the early lead with 68.17m in the first round.
“My technique was on today, even though I was tired. It was a nice condition, now I will go back home. My aim is to aim is to improve my PB again. I would like to win the Diamond League. Over the years I have been getting better and better, learning from the other throwers. I think that my technique is a mixture of Malachowski, Harting, Hadadi techniques. I tried to build my own technique from bits of theirs”.
Men’s pole vault: Sam Kendricks made a winning debut in the Rome Olympic Stadium by clearing 5.84m in his third attempt. The World champion opened with 5.36 at the second time of asking before clearing 5.52m and 5.62m at the first attempt, 5.78m at the first clearance. Former world champion Pawel Wojciechowski finished second with 5.78m.
“It’s my first time in Rome. The crowd gave me a lot of energy. We pushed each other out there today and we needed it. We all struggled together. The end of the competition was a credit to the crowd. We couldn’t have done it without them. I was so happy to take the win with the last jump and I have learned in the past that failure s the best teacher. I had an undefeated season last year but I am not perfect. I am just a man. I was on top of the world and now after today I wil seek to travel to these far away competitions better so that I can perform to a higher level. ”
Men’s 800 metres: Wycliffe Kyniamal clinched his second Diamond League win in a row this season with 1:44.65. The 20-year-old Kenyan middle distance rising star held off his compatriots Ferguson Rotich (1:44.74) and Jonathan Kitilit in a close sprint finish. canadaìs brandon McBride finished fourth dipping under 1:45 with 1:44.99.
Women’s 400 metres hurdles: US Georganne Moline won in Rome for the second time in her career dipping under the 54 seconds barrier with 53.97, the fourth fastest time in the world this year. This year’s Eugene winner and Commonwealth Games champion Janieve Russell finished runner-up in 54.08 ahead of Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad (54.65).
Italian fans had plenty to cheer about when European Under 23 and World University Games champion Ayomide Folorunso finished fourh smashing her National Under 23 record with 55.15 ahead of her compatriot Yadisleydis Pedroso.
This was not the best race for me. I still hit a couple of hurdles. My previous races did not go well because I had problems on my first hurdle. Today my first hurdle was clean, so I knew I was going to be strong. I will compete in Prague and at the US Championships. After that I will come back to Europe for more DL races”
Women’s 100 metres hurdles: US Sharicka Nelvis won for the second time in her career at the Rome Golden Gala with 12.76 ahead of 2015 world champion Danielle Williams (12.82) and this year’s Commonwealth Games champion Tobi Amusan (12.86). Dutchwoman Nadine Visser was the top European in fourth place with 12.90.
“I won against such great athletes. I am always pleased with that. My aim for this year is the US title and the Diamond League. The DL is very important as it’s an oof year. I won here in 2015. I wanted to win and that is all I can ask for. Every win is a good race. You have to love the competition. It’s a deep feeling. You always want want. I still have some technical issues, between the hurdes I want to run faster. My start is ok”
Women’s 400 metres: World silver medallist Salwa Eid Naser made a winning debuto to her Diamond League season clocking 50.50,
Men’s 3000 metres steeplechase: World and Olympic champion Conseslus Kipruto set a world seasonal best with 8:08:40 taking a re-match agaisnt Benjamin Kibet, who beat him in Eugene last Saturday. Kibet finished second in 8:10.01 ahead of Doha winner Chala Beyo (8:11.22).