Christian Taylor at the 2015 IAAF Diamond League meeting in Birmingham (© Jean-Pierre Durand)
The Sainsbury’s Birmingham Grand Prix is fast becoming one of Christian Taylor’s favourite competitions.
The Olympic champion won the triple jump at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in 2013 then returned last year to win the long jump. He made it a third successive win in the British city with another victory on Sunday (7), this time returning to his specialist event.
The US jumper may not have achieved the kind of distance he had hoped for, especially in the wake of his 18.04m leap in Doha just under a month ago, but he put together a consistent series in which any of his five valid jumps would have been enough to win.
Having opened with a wind-assisted 17.14m, he improved to 17.37m and then 17.40m, which remained the best mark of the day.
After jumps of 17.37m and 17.26m, he ended with what appeared to be a much bigger leap, but his foot was slightly over the plasticine.
“I had hoped for a little further and to take advantage of the good conditions, but there are a lot of things I am grateful for,” said Taylor. “I came out with the win and I am healthy.”
He will be reunited with the prodigious Cuban world-leader Pedro Pablo Pichardo at his next competition, the IAAF Diamond League meeting in New York on Saturday.
Victories at last for Hassan and Amos
In Doha, before making her outdoor season debut, European 1500m champion Sifan Hassan had admitted that she doesn’t usually perform well in her first race of the year.
In fact, it took her four races, but the Dutch runner finally achieved her first outdoor victory of 2015, winning the 1500m in Birmingham in 4:00.30.
She had world champion Abeba Aregawi for company, but the Swede never seemed like a serious threat to Hassan, who recorded the fourth-fastest time of her life. Aregawi set a season’s best of 4:01.97 to finish second.
“It was good but it was very windy, that’s why I couldn’t run faster,” said Hassan. “If it was less windy, maybe I would have run under four minutes.”
Botswana’s Olympic silver medallist Nijel Amos was also pleased to achieve his first 800m win of the summer, following runner-up finishes in Eugene and Rome.
His winning time of 1:46.77 was his slowest of the year, but he can take confidence from beating the Polish pair of world indoor silver medallist Adam Kszczot and European indoor champion Marcin Lewandowski.
Murer and Licwinko victorious in the jumps
Brazil’s 2011 world champion Fabiana Murer cleared a season’s best of 4.72m in the pole vault. It not only gave her the victory but also moved her into joint first place in the Diamond Race.
USA’s Mary Saxer and Russia’s Anzhelika Sidorova were tied in second place with 4.62m. Diamond Race co-leader Nikoleta Kyriakopoulou was fourth with the same height.
Poland’s world indoor champion Kamila Licwinko won the high jump with 1.97m and came agonisingly close to clearing 2.00m on her final attempt.
World leader Christina Schwanitz was a comfortable winner of the shot. The German landed four throws beyond the 19-metre line, her best of 19.68m coming in the second round.
Longosiwa and Sum among Kenyan winners
There were four Kenyan triumphs on the track. Three days after a fifth-place finish in Rome with a season’s best of 12:59.78, Olympic bronze medallist Thomas Longosiwa showed no signs of fatigue to win the men’s 5000m.
After the pace maker dropped out, world bronze medallist Isiah Koech took up the running and passed 3000m in 7:50.33. The lead pack broke up over the last few laps, leaving just Koech and Longosiwa in front.
Longosiwa powered away on the final lap to win in 13:07.26, almost four seconds ahead of his compatriot.
Virginia Nyambura and Hyvin Kisang, the winners of the past two IAAF Diamond League steeplechase races, were up against each other again. This time Nyambura came out on top, turning the tables from Rome on Thursday, winning in 9:24.01 from Kisang’s 9:25.20.
In an 800m that wasn’t part of the Diamond Race, world champion Eunice Sum won with relative ease in 1:59.85. In second, Britain’s Laura Muir set a personal best of 2:00.42.
Elsewhere on the track, Wayde van Niekerk set an African record of 31.63 to win the 300m while Chris Brown of The Bahamas set a national record of 31.99 in second.
Orlando Ortega won the 110m hurdles in 13.20, while Stephenie Ann McPherson was a comfortable winner of the 400m in 52.14.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF