There were no world leads on the second day of the Aviva London Grand Prix – Samsung Diamond League on Saturday (14) but there was a sub-20 200m win from Christophe Lemaitre, and a few upsets for Olympic favourites, not least Sally Pearson who suffered her first defeat in eight races to Kellie Wells, and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce who stumbled in the first few strides of her 100m and trailed home last.
There were two British victories to warm the home crowd on another cold, damp day under London’s brooding skies as Goldie Sayers took Olympic champion Barbora Spotakova’s scalp with a UK Javelin Throw record and Olympic 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu powered past World champion Amantle Montsho in the pouring rain for her best time of the year.
Sub-20 in the cold
Lemaitre proved that world sprinting isn’t only about Jamaicans and Americans as he leapt to third best in the world this year over 200m, clocking 19.91 just 0.04s ahead of another European Churandy Martina.
It is only the second time the 2010 European 100 and 200m champion, who did not defend the longer title in Helsinki, has gone under 20s, the other coming when he set a French record at the Daegu World Championships.
Lemaitre ran a great bend in lane six matched by Martina in seven and the two battled stride for stride down the straight, dipping at the line together.
"I knew I could run under 20 seconds but to do that here is very good, two weeks before the Olympic Games," said Lemaitre, with more than half a glance at his Caribbean rivals. "Now I'm very confident over this distance."
"For the Olympic Games I want to go even faster, because with Bolt, Blake and the other sprinters I think I must beat my personal best if I want to win a medal."
It was another Jamaican, Marvin Anderson, who took third here, more than half a second back in 20.55.
Wells beats unbeatable Pearson
Pearson’s defeat shows that nothing’s ever certain in the hurdles. The Australian, who’s been in such unbeatable form all year, knew she was in for a fight after her semi-final when she was forced to run 12.53 just to maintain her unblemished 2012 record.
But that didn’t last long. Wells pushed her to the line to clock 12.54, a season’s best and just 0.04s outside her PB. The final followed the same pattern, but this time Wells edged ahead to take the win by 0.02s in 12.57.
"My coach told me to come here and do something today and I think I did it pretty well," said Wells.
"To beat somebody like Sally Pearson gives me a lot of confidence. The hurdles is tricky – if you negotiate them well you will do really good but if you make one mistake it can take you out of the race. Today was good."
Virginia Crawford was third in 12.74, while British record holder Tiffany Porter, a world finalist, failed to make the final. She left the track in tears after injuring her back in the semi.
Jeter cruises in heat but is surprised by Okagbare
London’s Jamaican community was out in force to see their Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce take on Carmelita Jeter but many were left scratching their heads as their heroine appeared give up as soon as she was out of the blocks.
Something special seemed to be on the cards when she strode to an effortless 10.93 in the semi-finals. Jeter cruised to an 11.01 victory in the other heat despite stumbling out of the blocks and shutting down 30 metres out.
But in the final Fraser-Pryce trailed in last, while Jeter was beaten in the last 15 metres by Blessing Okagbare. The Nigerian had clocked a personal best of 10.99 behind Fraser-Pryce in the semi, just 0.09s outside Glory Alozie’s African record, and she took the final in 11.01.
Jeter was second in 11.03 with Tianna Madison third, 11.13. Fraser-Pryce crossed the line in 11.82, saying afterwards "as an athlete you have to take precautionary measures and hope things get better because the Olympics are pretty much on us".
Things looked pretty good from the start for Sayers, whose British record came in the first round of the javelin as she pushed her own national mark out to 66.17.
She threw the previous record, 65.75, when finishing fourth at the Beijing Olympics. That was a day of mixed emotions but this she said, was "one of my best days on an athletics track" coming just two days before her 30th birthday.
"It’s a nice present," she said. "It’s been a long time coming and it’s very good timing but as all athletes say, there’s definitely a lot more left in there so I just need to find how to get it out at the Games when it matters."
As significant as Sayers’ record was her victory over Spotakova, the Czech who took gold four years ago, plus this year’s world leader South African Sunette Viljoen.
Spotokova was second in 64.19 while Viljoen was fourth, 63.3, behind Ukrainian Vira Rebryk, 63.80. Sayers had by far the best series, with two more throws further than anyone else, 64.44 in the second round and 65.74 in the third.
Ohuruogu sets up serious title defence
If that wasn’t enough to send the fans home happy, then Ohuruogu’s win in the day’s final event provided the perfect ending.
Relying on her trademark late finish, the Olympic champion clawed back the deficit on the fast-starting Montsho and splashed past the Botswanian in the last two strides to clock 50.42, her best time for three years.
"I just wanted to sharpen up for London," said Ohuruogu. "I’ve done all the work so I’m happy that I can take something like that away."
"I knew I had a good chance when I saw her (Montsho) look back so then I thought, 'I’ve got you now’. It’s good that I put the race together and came out with a strong time."
Montsho ran 50.56 with Rosemarie Whyte third in 51.19.
Upsets in the two laps
Elsewhere on the track there was a labouring performance from Abubaker Kaki in the men’s 800m who looks less and less of a threat to David Rudisha as the races go by.
Leading the field at the bell, some 15 metres behind the pacemaker, the Sudanese was passed first by Britain’s Andrew Osagie 300m out and then by Job Kinyor and Adam Kszczot in the home straight.
Kaki struggled home fourth in 1:46.05 as Kszczot took the tape in 1:44.49 delighted with his speed over the last 200m. Kinyor was second, 1:44.60, and Osagie third in 1:45.21.
In the women’s 800m, Janeth Jepkosgei was beaten on the line by Molly Beckwith as both stopped the clock at 2:00.68. Winny Chebet was third in 2:00.76 with Britain’s Marilyn Okoro fourth.
Kiplagat takes the Emsley Carr
Silas Kiplagat won a curious Emsley Carr Mile in 3:52.44 – curious because only New Zealander Nick Willis went with pacemaker Collins Cheboi through the bell, the rest some 30m behind; because Bernard Lagat, second last year, never figured; and because Britain’s Ross Murray was second in his first attempt at the distance.
Kiplagat led the chase to Willis on the last lap, overtook him coming off the curve and held off the fast-finishing Murray, who clocked 3:52.77. Willis ended up fourth while Lagat was sixth.
James running into form
Kirani James returned to the track for the first time since May and took the men’s 400m in 44.85.
The World champion left it late but came hard off the bend to cruise past Chris Brown in the straight. Brown was second in 44.95 with USA’s Tony McQuay third in 45.00.
Ancuta Bobocel of Romania ran a personal best of 9:27.24 to win the women’s 3000m Steeplechase ahead of Polina Jelizarova after a battling last lap.
Jelizarova broke the Latvian record with 9:28.27, while British record holder Barbara Parker was third in 9:29.29, the second best performance of her life. There were also PBs for Bridget Franek, Katarzyna Kowalska and Ashley Higginson in fourth, fifth and sixth.
Ibargüen takes major scalp
In the field events, Colombia’s Caterine Ibargüen handed World and European champion Olha Saladuha her first defeat of the season in the women’s Triple Jump.
Both have leapt beyond 14.90 this year, but Ibargüen’s third round effort of 14.61 was enough to win. She backed it up with 14.41 in the fourth and improved by 5cm in the final round once victory was in the bag.
Saladuha took second with 14.48, while Britain’s World indoor champion Yamile Aldama was third with 14.37 from the fifth round after jumping a big, marginal foul in the fourth.
Idowu pulls out; Taylor supreme
Aldama was happy enough with her first performance, only her second since injuring her right shoulder at the Golden Gala in Rome at the end of May, but there was bad news for Britain’s other Triple Jump hope, Phillips Idowu, who started his warm-up in front of the main stand but then withdrew before the competition with a tight right hip muscle.
It was a bit of an embarrassment for Britain’s former World champion who just three days earlier had scoffed at rumours that he was suffering from injury problems.
"I’ve just got a bit of muscle tightness," Idowu tweeted later, insisting that it was just a niggle and his non-participation merely caution.
With Idowu out of the picture, World champion Christian Taylor was the only man to reach 17 metres. The American finished the competiton with 17.41 having jumped 17.12 in the second and 17.24 in the fourth. Leevan Sands was second with a best of 16.97.
Hoffa has edge on Majewski
World leader Reese Hoffa beat Olympic champion Tomasz Majewski by 6cm in the men’s Shot Put, the American champion’s third round 21.34 enough for the win. Dylan Armstrong was third.
Canada’s Derek Drouin upset Britain’s Olympic medal hope Robbie Grabarz in the men’s High Jump. Drouin, unfazed by his first international meeting, was the only man over 2.26 while the European champion and his British teammate Tom Parsons cleared 2.22 to share second place.