Dawn Harper Nelson (left) wins the 100m hurdles at the 2014 IAAF Diamond League in Birmingham (© Jean-Pierre Durand)
Kaliese Spencer confirmed her status as currently the world’s No.1 400m hurdler with another emphatic win at the Sainsbury’s Birmingham Grand Prix, an IAAF Diamond League meeting, while Dawn Harper Nelson ran clean over all 10 barriers to win a thrilling 100m hurdles tussle with Queen Harrison on Sunday (24).
Spencer made the most of the unusually still conditions at the Alexander Stadium to post her second quickest time of the year, the Jamaican's fifth IAAF Diamond League win of the summer.
She led from the gun and drew away from the chasing Briton Eilidh Child down the back straight, where Kori Carter crashed to the track off the fourth barrier.
Spencer was utterly unruffled by the faller and maintained her form over the second half of the race to win by more than a second in 53.80.
“I’m very pleased to be victorious today,” she said. “I’ve been winning most of my races so it’s definitely been a good season.”
As it has been for Child, who followed her European Championships win last week to finish a clear second here in 54.89. The Scot was experimenting with a new stride pattern but was still good enough to beat Czech Republic’s Denisa Rosolova.
Things were altogether closer in the 100m hurdles as Harper Nelson out-dipped her US team-mate Harrison in 12.66 to stay in the hunt for the Diamond Race.
It was Sally Pearson who got away fastest – this time after the gun, unlike in Stockholm – and Australia’s Olympic champion led over the first three barriers.
But Harrison then came powering past on her right with Harper Nelson alongside her.
The two US sprint hurdlers were clear over the last two hurdles and it was the 2008 Olympic champion who got the verdict, a welcome result after she clattered the last barrier in Stockholm three days ago.
Harrison clocked 12.70 in second with Pearson third ahead of Great Britain’s European champion Tiffany Porter.
“I almost fell over in Stockholm was great to come out and win here,” said the winner. “The legs felt quite heavy. It was a great field, I’ll go to Zurich, Brussels and the Continental Cup.”
Blow for Bowie
The news was less good for Tori Bowie, whose wonderful season came to a staggering halt as she pulled up lame after 60 metres of the women’s 100m and left the track clutching the top of her left hamstring.
It was a cruel blow for the woman who led the 2014 world list with 10.80 as well the Diamond Race standings. She got her customary quick start and was just ahead at the halfway point before disaster struck.
As Bowie bowed out, Kerron Stewart stretched ahead of a line of five sprinters. The Jamaican dipped to win by 0.03 in front of Myriam Soumaré in 11.22.
Bowie wasn’t the only big name to come a cropper, as Allyson Felix failed to make the final, finishing fourth in her heat in 11.30.
There was a Jamaican one-two in the men’s 100m, a non-Diamond League event, as Commonwealth champion Kemar Bailey-Cole beat Nesta Carter in 10.08, and a Jamaican one-three in the 200m, won by Diamond Race leader Nickel Ashmeade in 20.33.
Ashmeade led round the bend and did enough in the last 20 metres to hold off the fast-finishing Panamanian Alonso Edward, who was second by just 0.02. Ashmeade heads Edward by three points in the standings.
Christine Ohuruogu brought some cheer to the chilly British fans when she won a non-Diamond League 400m in 51.40 from Joanna Atkins, a welcome win for the world champion after missing out ona medal at the European Championships.
Matthew Brown for the IAAF