Chris Rawlinson sets a world best in the 300m hurdles in Sheffield (© Getty Images)
The home crowd at the Norwich Union Classic – IAAF GPII – meeting in Sheffield was treated to a record-breaking performance on Sunday (30) as Chris Rawlinson set a world best of 34.48 in the rarely-run 300m hurdles.
His winning performance bettered his own previous mark of 34.59 which he ran in Loughborough in 2000. In second, Jamaica's Kemel Thompson clocked an area best of 35.22. Anthony Borsumato was third in 35.46.
Elsewhere on the track, Britain’s Dwain Chambers and Mark Lewis-Francis both ducked under 10 seconds for 100m in cool windy conditions, and in the process handed USA’s world record-holder Maurice Greene his second defeat in three days.
Out in the field it was Russia’s Sergey Makarov who produced the performance of the day with a 92.61m javelin throw – a national record – so becoming the third longest thrower of all time.
If Chambers’ win over Greene in Oslo's IAAF Golden League meeting on Friday night was as narrow as it was surprising, his victory today was emphatic and looked assured from the gun. Greene, by contrast, seemed to sleep in his blocks and finished sixth (10.24).
Chambers sauntered to the win in a wind-assisted 9.95, followed closely to the line by world junior champion Lewis-Francis, who crossed in 9.97, with European indoor champion Jason Gardener third in 10.11, with only the wind of 2.7m/s slightly dampening the celebrations.
Chambers, the 1999 world bronze medallist, seemingly has come of age as a sprinter in the space of just three days, and was jubilant after his race.
“What more could I ask for? It’s only going to get better,” said Chambers. "Maurice will have his cards laid out for revenge and I am eagerly looking forward to it. Let’s hope he is running scared, cos it makes my job a lot easier. As one goes down, another one steps up. I believe we are witnessing a new world order in sprinting; there is a new sheriff in town!”
Greene, who has not suffered back-to-back defeats like this since the Oslo and Rome meeting defeats in 1998, was quite clear what had gone wrong.
“Just a very, very bad day at the office, last out the blocks, no acceleration, just didn’t come at all," he said. "It is very good for the Brits to be coming through and good luck to them, but when it matters, I’ll be there."
Later in the afternoon, Chambers narrowly lost to the resurgent Namibian Frankie Fredericks in the 200m – 20.29 to his 20.38 – but worse than the loss, he ended up suffering a recurrence of a right shoulder injury – a slight pull – which he had first suffered in Oslo, and immediately rushed for treatment after the race.
Whatever – to the delight of the home crowd – was happening on the track during the afternoon, there was no denying the greatest performance of the entire meet was the 92.61m throw by Makarov, which in the process defeated Czech world record-holder Jan Zelezny (second, 87.77m) and Britain’s three-time European champion Steve Backley (third, 84.93m).
The competition had got off to a dramatic start when Russia’s European junior champion Aleksandr Ivanov produced a foul throw which sailed beyond the 90-metre line in round one. This set up the event up as a certain crowd pleaser and the throwers did their best to entertain.
Makarov in particular didn’t disappoint, throwing 90.09m in round two and 88.43m with his fourth before producing the 92.61m in the next round. His was of course the world lead for the season but more importantly a Russian record. Only triple Olympic champion Zelezny and Aki Parviainen of Finland, the 1999 world champion, have ever thrown farther.
“I want to thank the meeting promoters for putting on such a good competition, but most particularly I want to thank Jan Zelezny as I have been training with him recently and my improvement here today, largely technical, is as a result of my work with him,” confirmed a delighted Makarov.
Mozambique’s world and Olympic 800m champion Maria Mutola got the better of the new world indoor record holder Slovenia's Jolanda Ceplak in the women’s 800m. In a tough and exciting battle to the tape, Mutola eventually prevailed, taking the win in 2:00.84 from the Slovenian’s 2:00.93.
“It was a tough race because of the conditions today," said Mutola. "It was very hard to run fast because there was a lot of wind out there, but I knew it was going to be difficult and it was important to win. There are a lot of people who haven’t run yet – Stephanie (Graf) hasn’t run yet so I don’t know what kind of shape she is in. I think the Commonwealths are my main focus because there are no World Championships or Olympic Games, so they will be the biggest event of the year for me. To come back and defend my title will be excellent.”
There was a good run over 3000m by Ireland’s Sonia O’Sullivan who, in building up to defending at least one of her two European distance titles (5000m and 10,000m) in Munich this August, ran 8:44.02 today to defeat the registered partially blind athlete Marla Runyan of the USA (8:46.67).
In the women’s discus, 41-year-old Olympic champion Ellina Zvereva of Belarus took the win in perfect wind conditions for throwing with 66.16m, ahead of Russia’s world champion Natalya Sadova (65.36m), with 1997 world champion Beatrice Faumuina of New Zeland in third 65.05m.
There was a rare domestic defeat for Jonathan Edwards in the triple jump, losing to Phillips Idowu, 17.34m to his 17.06m, in what were by then really blustery conditions. Idowu’s winning mark was made with the assistance of a 3.9m/s wind but he was also beyond 17 metres on three of his other jumps and the victory over the world and Olympic champion was well merited.
In the same windy conditions as the men’s event, Russia’s Yelena Oleynikova won the triple jump – 14.58m (3.3m/s) – from Cuba’s Yamile Aldama, second with 14.54m (5.5m/s). Britain’s Ashia Hansen was third with 14.36m (5.7m/s).
In the men’s 110m hurdles there was a win over Britain’s world record-holder Colin Jackson (third 13.43) and USA’s world champion Allen Johnson (sixth 13.90) for USA’s Larry Wade in 13.36 (1.3m/s).
Jamaica’s Tayna Lawrence won the women’s 100m with 11.09 into a -0.7m/s wind and was followed home by Bahamas’ Debbie Ferguson (11.13) and USA’s Kelli White (11.25). There were also good wins over 400m both on the flat and over the hurdles. Jamaica’s Sandie Richards building to the defence of her Commonwealth title won the 400m in 51.92, while Russia’s Yuliya Nosova cleared the barriers in 54.54.
There was also a good home win for Daniel Caines, the world indoor 400m champion, who strode to a 45.67 victory in the men’s one lapper over an out-of-sorts world champion Avard Moncur (fifth 46.79) of The Bahamas, and USA’s Antonio Pettigrew (second 45.69), whom Caines just out-dipped on the finish line.
Moroccco’s Hicham El Guerrouj produced another assured win in a slow 1500m (3:40.20). Equally slow was the men’s 3000m which was won by his compatriot Amyn Mohamed in 7:57.83.