Orlando Ortega wins the 110m hurdles (Getty Images) © Copyright
Report Marseille, France

Ortega leads meeting record spree in Marseille


Orlando Ortega was one of four athletes to break a meeting record at the Meeting de Marseille, clocking 13.15 to win the 110m hurdles at the World Athletics Continental Tour Bronze event on Thursday (3).

The Olympic silver medallist from Spain maintained his unbeaten streak this outdoor season, following victories in Monaco, Szekesfehervar and Chorzow. The other meeting records, meanwhile, came from Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich in the men’s 800m, Laura Muir in the women’s 800m and Jemma Reekie in the women’s 1500m.

Ortega, competing in the final event of the evening, got out well in lane five, but so too did Wilhem Belocian on Ortega’s right-hand side. European champion Pascal Martinot-Lagarde wasn’t quite so good out of the blocks and couldn’t get back on terms with the leading duo.

Ortega and Belocian were level until the final few barriers when Ortega started to edge ahead. By the finish line, reached in 13.15, Ortega was a metre clear of Belocian, who clocked 13.27, the third-fastest time of his career.

Cheruiyot Rotich timed his run well to take victory in the 800m. The world bronze medallist from Kenya sat in the middle of the pack as pacemakers led the field through the first lap in about 50 seconds. Britain’s Elliot Giles was the only athlete to go with the pace while Cheruiyot Rotich was about a second behind.

The Kenyan gradually closed the gap on the second lap, though, and eventually passed Giles on the final bend before going on to win in a meeting record of 1:44.24, moving to fourth on this year’s world list. Giles was rewarded with a PB of 1:44.68 in second.

Reekie, the world leader over 800m, moved up to the 1500m in Marseille and came away with another victory. Paced through the first two laps in 2:09.63, Romania’s Claudia Bobocea took up the running for the second half and went through 1000m in 2:42.73.

Reekie kicked on the final lap and overtook Bobocea with about 230 metres to go. The Romanian dug in and drew level with Reekie as they came off the final turn, but the Briton kicked again and opened up a gap before crossing the line in 4:02.20, a four-second improvement on the meeting record and just 0.11 shy of the outdoor PB she set last year.

Bobocea clocked 4:02.67 in second while Slovenia’s Marusa Mismas set a PB of 4:03.05 in third.

European 1500m champion Laura Muir, Reekie’s training partner, stepped down in distance to the 800m and produced a dominant display to win by more than a second in 2:00.16, another meeting record.

Steeplechase specialist Soufiane El Bakkali, the 2017 world silver medallist from Morocco, also fancied a change of events in Marseille and lined up for the men’s 1500m, his first outing over the distance for four years.

He wound up the pace over the final two laps and went on to win comfortably in 3:34.51. Azeddine Habz of France was second in a big PB of 3:35.87 while 800m specialist Kevin Lopez of Spain was third in 3:35.98.

Elsewhere, Akani Simbine won the men’s 100m in 10.19 (-0.3m/s), while French teenager Cyrena Samba-Mayela won the women’s 100m hurdles in 13.00. Nastassia Mironchyk-Ivanova took the women’s long jump with 6.66m (0.5m/s).

Jon Mulkeen for World Athletics