(© Jean-Pierre Durand)
Caterine Ibarguen produced the best triple jump performance in the world for more than a year when she bounded out to 14.96m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rabat on Friday night (13).
It’s arguable whether the Olympic champion and two-time world champion gets the attention she deserves but, with the triple jump being staged in front of the main stand, the Colombian was the centre of attention for the best part of an hour in Rabat.
She opened with 14.70m, which alone would have been sufficient to have extended her unbeaten streak in her specialist event this year, then improved to 14.71m in the next round.
After jumps of 14.53m and 14.40m in the following two rounds, she uncorked her monster winning jump in round five before finishing with 14.91m.
In the shelter of the stand, there was almost no wind assistance whatsoever for either of her last jumps.
Competing almost at the same time as Ibarguen were the men’s javelin throwers and Estonia’s Magnus Kirt again showed that he’s a growing force in the event.
Germany’s Andreas Hoffmann launched his implement out to a meeting record of 88.58m in the second round and looked well on his way to the win for the next three rounds but, lying third at that stage, Kirt unleashed his final effort out to a national record of 89.75m and neither he nor Thomas Rohler, who were to throw after Kirt, could respond with a 90-metre throw.
45 and out
Maria Lasitskene’s impressive 45-meeting winning streak which had stretched back to June 2016 came to an end when she failed to go higher than 1.90m.
“I had no problem, no injuries, it was just a bad day, these things happen,” said the Russian, admirably making no excuses despite some swirling wind conditions noted by several other jumpers.
Mirela Demireva and Yuilya Levchencko both cleared 1.94m while Lasitskene surprisingly failed at a height she has negotiated with ease so many times in the past.
Demireva, with a flawless record up to that point, then passed 1.97m and watched her Ukrainian rival fail three times. With the competition won, Bulgaria’s Olympic silver medallist had the bar put up to a personal best height of 2.02m but to no avail.
Like Lasitskene, US pole vaulter Sam Kendricks is a reigning world champion but at least he came up trumps in Rabat.
Three men got over 5.80m, with Poland’s 2011 world champion Pavel Wojciechowski holding the advantage thanks to a first-time clearance while Kendricks and Timur Morgunov went over with their second attempts.
However, when the bar went up to 5.86m, Kendricks soared clear on his second attempt and the others were unable to match him.
Christina Scwanitz continued her comeback after missing all of last summer to start her family by notching up her ninth successive win of 2018.
Throwing last in the first round, the German opened with 19.40m and that proved to be the winner.
Miller-Uibo remains unbeaten
In the shorter distances, Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo was the star performer.
The Bahamian gave herself a lot of work to do over the final 50 metres of the 200m, after Dina Asher-Smith had led off the bend but showed her class as she went firstly past US champion Jenna Prandini and then the Briton in the final few metres.
Miller-Uibo continued her unbeaten streak over all distances this season with a win in a meeting record 22.29 while Asher-Smith was second in 22.40 as Prandini drifted back in the closing stages of the race to come home third in 22.60.
The men’s 100m didn’t quite produce the expected fireworks as far as the clock was concerned but the quartet of Noah Lyles, Ronnie Baker, Mike Rodgers and Christian Coleman – all together on a start line for the first time – did provide a thrilling race.
Baker was into his running the quickest and had a marginal lead at 30 metres but Coleman, in his first outing for six weeks, showed little sign of ring rust and closed down his US rival before edging in front.
Both Coleman and Baker were given the same time of 9.98 but the world indoor 60m record-holder was given the verdict. Only 0.03 covered the quartet of US sprinters with Lyles third in 9.99 and Rodgers fourth in 10.01.
In the women’s 800m, Hungarian pacemaker Blanka Keri did her required job to perfection by taking the field through in 56.88 before Francine Niyonsaba took over at the front and was never headed before winning in 1:57.90.
Christina Manning was the quickest away in the women’s 100m hurdles but by the seventh barrier her US compatriots Brianna McNeal and Sharika Nelvis were alongside her and moving faster.
McNeal, the Olympic champion, came through to win in a meeting record of 12.51 with Nelvis second in 12.58 with Manning completing a USA 1-2-3 in 12.72.
Jamaica’s 20-year-old Akeem Bloomfield impressed over one lap of the track in his first ever IAAF Diamond League meeting, winning the 400m in a meeting record of 44.33 for the second-best time of his career after his sensational 43.94 for second place at the NCAA Championships last month.
“I’m now looking forward to the upcoming events and I hope to finish the year healthy,” said Bloomfield, alluding to the fact that he has already had a long outdoor season which started in mid-April.
Five men finished inside 45 seconds in an entertaining race with Qatar’s world bronze medallist Abdalelah Haroun second in 44.69.
Phil Minshull for the IAAF