Caterine Ibarguen in the long jump at the IAAF Diamond League final in Brussels (© Gladys Chai von der Laage)
Caterine Ibarguen’s unlikely double diamond ambitions reached fruition at the 42nd Van Damme Memorial in Brussels on Friday (31) as the Colombian star added the IAAF Diamond League title in the long jump to the triple jump title she took in Zurich just over 24 hours earlier.
Last night, Ibarguen won the triple jump by just one centimetre but tonight, in her second event, the margin was considerably more comfortable, her 6.80m fourth-round leap beating Briton Shara Proctor's 6.70m best from round five to win by 10 centimetres.
"It wasn't easy but I was very well prepared for both events this season, and especially this weekend," said Ibarguen, who’ll take home two Diamond Trophies and a cool US$100,000 after her brief visit to northcentral Europe.
Doubles have rarely been attempted in IAAF Diamond League finals and few have succeeded prior to Ibarguen’s this year. Before the change to a championship style format last year, Allyson Felix, Carmelita Jeter and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce managed to capture two Diamond Trophies in the same season, and last year, Shaunae Miller-Uibo raced to the 200m/400m double.
Ibarguen will also contest a similar double next week at the IAAF Continental Cup Ostrava 2018 where at least the logisitics will be more to her liking. Today, Ibarguen left her hotel in Zurich at 5am, hopped on an 8am 650-kilometre flight to Brussels, reached her hotel at 10 and rested until early afternoon. In Ostrava, she won't be switching accommodations.
Sha'Keela Saunders of the US was just a fraction behind the Briton, reaching 6.68m for third.
Perez upsets Perkovic
While the crowd of nearly 40,000 at King Baudouin Stadium witnessed Ibarguen notch a most notable double, they also saw two significant IAAF Diamond League streaks come to an end. The first, in the women’s discus, was also the biggest upset of the day, making it abundantly clear that it’s never truly over ‘til it’s over.
Sandra Perkovic controlled the competition from her 64.31m first-round throw, but, struggling with her rhythm, failed to improve. Meanwhile, Yaime Perez, who finished second to the Croatian each time the pair met this season, applied the pressure from the start, throwing 64.23m in the second round, and 63.12m in the third and fifth. That warmed her up for her 65.00m throw in the final round to take the victory and deny Perkovic a seventh straight Diamond Trophy. Brazil's Andessa de Morais reached 64.65m, also in the final round, pushing Perkovic to third.
“This is crazy,” Perez said. “I still can’t believe I’m the Diamond League champion. Even when I took the lead, I still thought I would lose because Sandra still had another throw and she is such a great champion." That didn’t happen.
"Stupid things sometimes happen, but this is sports," Perkovic said, adding that she'd been ill with the flu and thought she wouldn't even be able to compete. "This is my eighth final, and I won seven of them."
Dacres edges Gudzius
On the men's side, things went a little bit more according to the season's play book with Fedrick Dacres, the points leader coming in, prevailing over world champion Andrius Gudzius, No.2 in the standings pre-Brussels.
The Jamaican spun to a 68.67m toss in the opening round, his best of three measured efforts, to seal the narrow victory over Gudzius, the defending IAAF Diamond League champion, who reached 67.56m in round two. World leader Daniel Stahl was third with 66.74m.
Pichardo ends Taylor’s streak at seven
In the triple jump, world leader Pedro Pable Pichardo put a halt to Christian Taylor's seven-year IAAF Diamond League reign with a convincing victory over the world and Olympic champion, reaching 17.49m in the fifth round. Taylor hit 17.31m in the same round to secure the runner-up spot ahead of compatriot Donald Scott who reached 17.25m.
The men’s pole vault also brought a new champion.
Timur Morgunov, who joined the six-metre club earlier this month when taking European silver, was the class of a deep field, taking the competition with a first attempt clearance at 5.93m.
Sam Kendricks, the 2017 champion, was equal with Morgunov through 5.88m, with both clearing after brushing the bars. Morgunov brushed the bar on the way down at the winning height but it stayed on. Kendricks meanwhile never came particularly close.
Shawn Barber, the 2015 world champion, was third at 5.83m, topping Pole Piotr Lisek, who topped out after 5.78m. Teen-aged phenom Armand Duplantis, the world leader at 6.05m and wearing the colours of Louisiana State University, topped out at 5.68m, finishing seventh.
The men's high jump produced an entertaining battle, with Commonwealth champion Brandon Starc of Australia prevailing on countback over Germany's Mateusz Przybylko, the European champion. Both cleared 2.29m on their first go, and 2.31m with their second. Starc took command for good with a second attempt success at 2.33m while the German needed all three.
Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy continued his comeback from injury by sailing clear at 2.31m to finish third on countback over Ukraine's Andriy Protsenko.
Off of the IAAF Diamond League programme, world, Olympic and European heptathlon champion Nafi Thiam pleased the crowd with a victory in the high jump, topping 1.89m.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF