Dafne Schippers wins the 200m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Oslo (© Mark Shearman)
The only item on Dafne Schippers’ to-do list for Oslo’s ExxonMobil Bislett Games was to notch a season’s best in the 200m. The Dutchwoman and meeting poster girl managed that – and took down a pair of records in the process to highlight the seventh stop on the 2016 IAAF Diamond League series on Thursday (9).
Already ahead midway through the bend, the world champion confidently powered down the home straight en route to her first 2016 Diamond League victory in 21.93, a world-leading run and the second-fastest performance of her career.
“In these conditions to run under 22 seconds is very special for me,” said Schippers, who has also clocked 22.02 and 22.11 this season. “The curve here is excellent but I must admit that the last fifty metres were very tough.”
Her mark also knocked 0.01 from the meeting record Gwen Torrence set in 1994 when Schippers was just two years old, and eclipsed the IAAF Diamond League record of 21.98 held jointly by Veronica Campbell-Brown and Allyson Felix.
Jamaican Elaine Thompson, who pushed Schippers to world gold last year, was second on this occasion too, but well back in 22.64.
Others didn’t quite manage the Norwegian capital’s chilly, windy and wet conditions quite as well.
In the men’s 100m, Canada’s Andre De Grasse edged Mike Rodgers of the US, 10.07 to 10.09, to collect his first career IAAF Diamond League win, but it was a victory that didn’t quite seem secured until about 70 metres into the race. That’s when Kim Collins, who was clearly leading, suddenly pulled up, grasping his left groin. A doctor later confirmed that it wasn’t a serious strain.
A more convincing victory came in the women’s 100m hurdles where Brianna Rollins, after runner-up finishes in Eugene and Birmingham, won her first IAAF Diamond League race of the season.
Clearly ahead by the third hurdle, the 2013 world champion forged on to seal the win in 12.56, well ahead of 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper Nelson, who clocked a 12.75 season’s best.
Conversely, drama unfolded in the waning stages of the men’s 400m hurdles where Michael Tinsley began to reel in Javier Culson just as the pair came over the final barriers. But neither noticed Turk Yasmani Copello in lane one, who snuck by both to take his first career IAAF Diamond League victory in 48.79.
“This is big for me,” said Copello, a finalist at last year’s IAAF World Championships. “Winning the Diamond League and from lane one and in my fastest time this year.”
Culson edged Tinsley by 0.03 in 48.99, but Tinsley maintained his lead in the series.
The conditions weren’t too kind to the jumpers either. Given his familiarity with Oslo, Renaud Lavillenie fared well enough to win here for the fourth consecutive time.
After two misses at his opening height, the Olympic champion finally got over 5.65m on his third try. He then topped 5.80m on his second attempt to beat back world champion Shawn Barber, who topped out at 5.73m. The Frenchman went on to take three stabs at 5.87m, which he described as "promising".
Faring even better was world bronze medallist Ivana Spanovic in the long jump. The Serbian took control of the competition with a 6.79m leap in the second round and improved to 6.94m in the fifth, just one centimetre shy of her season's best.
It was a close competition for the minor places. Cristabel Nettey of Canada was second with 6.68m, just ahead of Briton Shara Proctor and world champion Tianna Bartoletta, who reached 6.67m and 6.65m respectively.
Elsewhere, Jamaican Stephenie Ann McPherson won the 400m in 51.04, Cuba’s Alexis Copello won the men’s triple jump with 16.91m and Ruth Beitia the high jump at 1.90m.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF