Track & Field

Oh Mon Dieu! Paris Diamond League sparkles

The French may not have gotten everything they had hoped for from their local heroes but cometh the final event, cometh Jimmy Vicault with a 9.86 second 100m to equal the European 100m record – and of course a new French record.

Asafa Powell affirmed he is a medal contender for the world championships in August when winning in 9.81. His trim and lean figure in peak condition.

It may have been a night where Renaud Lavillenie crashed out of the pole vault and Pascal Martinot-Lagarde looked like a startled rabbit in the 110m hurdles in front of an adoring public but it mattered little on a magic night in Paris.

Oh Jimmy, Jimmy! Take a bow son

World leads, meet records, national records, area records abounded along with some cracking races and thrills and spills. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce may not be running the 200m in Beijing but she’s in shape for the 100m and set the track alight with 10.74.

The Pryce is right

Evan Jager aka “the Jagerbomb” (our nickname, we are Irish after all) announced himself as a championships contender in the 3,000m steeplechase on what was a bittersweet evening. It may yet be a night he’ll look back on in future as the night that might have been. The American looked supreme, his long lean sinewy frame clearing the hurdles in a masterclass of technique. And yet, and yet, he made a hash of the last hurdle with a sub 8 minute clocking and victory in sight. It left the stage clear for Jairus Birech to set a world-leading time of 7:58.83. Despite the fall Jager was still able to pick himself off the track and run an American record of 8:00.45 on the 4th of July.

So close for Jager

Kirani James was toppled by South Africa’s Wayde Van Niekerk in the men’s 400m in 43.96 seconds – another record run. Van Niekerk just had too much for King James in the final 60m who had to settle for second in 44.17.

King James toppled from his throne by Van Kiekerk

Some questionable pacemaking couldn’t stop Eunice Sum from a world-leading 1:56.99 in the women’s 800m – the first sub 1:57 for two years. The pace was up and down like a yo-yo but Sum had enough reserves to get over the line.

Dodgy pacemaking can’t stop Sum from adding a world lead

Orlando Ortega was the best over the final hurdle when victory looked set for David Oliver in the 110m hurdles. The Cuban’s fast finish set a world-lead of 12.94 ahead of Oliver’s 12.98. Sergey Shubenkov set a Russian record in third in 13.06.

Ortega smokes last hurdle to set world lead

women’s 400 hurdles

Taoufik Makhloufi was the hot favourite for the men’s 1500m after becoming the fourth fastest man over 1,000m earlier in the week. Should be a win for the Algerian so JTG lump some cash on. Of course he decides to be the virtual leader and get usurped in the home straight. The wily Diamond League leader, Silas Kiplagat, taking glory in 3:30.12 while Makhloufi faded to fourth in 3:30.50.

All for Silas in men’s 1500m

The women’s 5,000m was billed for a world record attempt and while there was no record, it still didn’t disappoint as the pace ebbed and flowed like the River Seine. Ethiopians Almaz Ayana and Genzebe Dibaba duked it out in a slugfest but it was Dibaba who played her cards right – ultimately more intent on victory than the world record. Nonetheless, Dibaba became the fourth fastest woman of all-time clocking 14:15.41.

Dibaba outguns Ayana

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Feidhlim Kelly

Feidhlim Kelly

Con Houlihan once told me that tomorrow is now. In taking on this venture I’ve started to try and put his words into action.

I worked for Con from 2007 till his passing in 2012 taking down his copy and a whole lot more. I have a Con Houlihan section which will go in to more depth on that.

I’m a long-time contributor to the Irish Runner magazine and am also working for the Irish Examiner.

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