Julius Yego, Sally Pearson and Olga Rypakova in action at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Birmingham (Mark Shearman / Jean-Pierre Durand) © Copyright
General News Birmingham, UK

Birmingham’s top three moments – IAAF Diamond League

Later this week, the IAAF Diamond League heads to Birmingham for the 12th meeting in the 2018 series. Here we look back at three of the more memorable moments from the British city.

Yego’s monster javelin effort, 2015

Kenya’s Julius Yego won an extraordinary javelin competition with a final effort of 91.39m that was initially ruled illegal but eventually confirmed as an African and IAAF Diamond League record and the best throw in the world for nine years.

Until Yego’s dramatic finale, victory appeared destined for the Czech Republic’s world champion Vitezslav Vesely, whose own last-round effort of 88.18m had taken him past Yego’s then lead of 86.53m and the national record of 86.43m set by Trinidad and Tobago’s Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott.

 Yego’s climactic throw was adjudged to have landed outside the sector but was thankfully still measured. The sector lines had not been extended beyond 87 metres, and following an appeal the throw was declared valid 20 minutes after the meeting ended.

Pearson’s Oceanian record puts world title in view, 2011

It may have rained on Birmingham’s parade as the city staged its first Diamond League meeting in an Alexander Stadium transformed by the new,  as-yet unnamed, stand on the back straight, but a full house was able to enjoy some of the most stirring contests yet seen in the season’s series.

And none was more stirring than the 100m hurdles, where Sally Pearson of Australia earned a pulsating victory over a stacked field in 12.48, an Oceanian record.

Pearson, Australia’s 2008 Olympic silver medallist, had already indicated what might be in store by winning her heat in 12.57, equalling the meeting record.

In the final, despite coming under sustained pressure from the Diamond Race leader Danielle Carruthers and her US colleagues Ginnie Crawford and Kellie Wells, who led the 2011 season list coming into this meeting with 12.50, the Australian kept her form impeccably over the final four sets of hurdles to maintain the lead she had established from the gun.

Carruthers, grimacing with every effort over the barriers, finished second in a personal best of 12.52, with Crawford third in 12.79 and Wells fourth in 12.80.

“I’ve come to Europe to get ready for the World Championships and I’ve had fantastic preparation,” said Pearson.

“It’s all just come together. I’ve always wanted to be the best in the world and I’m heading in that direction.”

A little less than two months later, Pearson arrived at her destination in Daegu…

Rypakova ends Ibarguen’s epic four-year run of 34 wins, 2016

One of the longest and most distinguished unbeaten runs in recent athletics history came to an end as Colombia’s double world champion Caterine Ibarguen, last defeated in the 2012 Olympic final, saw her total of successive triple jump wins ended at 34.

In awkward, swirling winds that made jumping difficult, the 32-year-old had managed to establish her customary lead with an effort of 14.56m.

But a last-round effort from Kazakhstan’s Olympic champion Olga Rypakova – Ibarguen’s unbeaten run began immediately after her defeat in that 2012 Olympic final – registered 14.61m.

Ibarguen, suddenly, was facing that almost forgotten outcome: defeat.

Despite having snatched victory from such positions on more than one occasion in the preceding years, the task proved too much for her this time, as her own final effort of 14.53m fell short of what was required.

Rypakova had done it again. But Ibarguen would end the year on a high in Rio with Olympic gold.

Mike Rowbottom for the IAAF