BRUSSELS: Elaine Thompson salvaged her year by storming to victory in the lucrative season-ending 100 metres in Brussels on Friday after flopping in the world championships.
The 25-year-old Jamaican, who finished a lowly fifth place in the 100m in London, screamed through the finish line in 10.92 seconds, just a hundredth ahead of Ivorian world silver medallist Marie-Josee Ta Lou.
As with all the Diamond League finals this year, double Olympic sprint gold medallist Thompson departs Belgium with $50,000 (43,000 euros) in her pocket for winning the blue riband event.
Olympic 400m gold medallist Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas also made up for her relatively disappointing world champs, when she won bronze in the 200m but tied up badly and only finished fourth in the 400m as she went for an ambitious double.
The 23-year-old ran the one-lap race in Brussels, and having surprised the field to win the 200m crown last week in Zurich, stormed to the fastest time of the year to claim victory in 49.46sec. “Definitely I need some holidays, I need some sleep!” said Miller-Uibo, who became just the second athlete to complete the 200/400m Diamond League double since Allyson Felix in 2010.
In a darkened King Baudouin Stadium, with minimal lights running off generators as parts of Brussels were hit by a major power cut, five newly-crowned world champions managed to shine.
Champions to the fore
Croatia’s Sandra Perkovic and Lithuanian Andrius Gudzius repeated their formidable form in the discus while Kenyans Hellen Obiri (women’s 5000m), Faith Kipyegon (women’s 1500m) and Conseslus Kipruto (men’s 3000m steeplechase) dominated their events.
There was drama in the latter discipline, however, American Evan Jager falling at the final water jump when in the lead and Kipruto having to dig deep to produce an amazing sprint finish to pip world silver medallist Soufiane El Bakkali of Morocco on the line.
American Christian Taylor, the two-time Olympic and three-time world champion, claimed victory in the triple jump with a best of 17.49m for a sixth Diamond League title, only French pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie having won more.
But there was disappointment for Turkey’s Azeri-born world champion Ramil Guliyev in the 200m, losing his unbeaten record this year when pushed back into third by American teenager Noah Lyles (20.00sec) with his team-mate Ameer Webb second.
But two world silver medallists, Dalilah Muhammad and Sergey Shubenkov, went one better than their outings in London.
Muhammad claimed victory in the women’s 400m hurdles while Shubenkov, competing as a neutral while Russia remains banned from international competition over widespread state-sponsored doping, won the men’s high hurdles.
There was further glory for Mariya Lasitskene, also participating as a neutral, the two-time world champ clearing a best of 2.02m for her remarkable 24th victory in 24 competitions in 2017.
Belgium’s world heptathlon champion Nafi Thiam failed to set the home crowd alight, managing just fifth in a run-out in the high jump.
“I had a lot of fun. It’s a pleasure to finish my season in front of this amazing crowd,” she said. — AFP
Diamond League winners
Winners of the Diamond League events after the season-ending Brussels meet on Friday, the first 16 having been decided in Zurich last week (male/female):
100m: Chijindu Ujah (GBR)/Elaine Thompson (JAM)
200m: Noah Lyles (USA)/Shaunae Miller-Uibo (BAH)
400m: Isaac Makwala (BOT)/Shaunae Miller-Uibo (BAH)
800m: Nijel Amos (BOT)/Caster Semenya (RSA)
1500m: Timothy Cheruiyot (KEN)/Faith Kipyegon (KEN)
5000m: Mo Farah (GBR)/Hellen Obiri (KEN)
3000m steeplechase: Conseslus Kipruto (KEN)/Ruth Jebet (BRN)
110/100m hurdles: Sergey Shubenkov (ANA – neutral)/Sally Pearson (AUS)
400m hurdles: Kyron McMaster (IVB)/Dalilah Muhammad (USA)
Pole Vault: Sam Kendricks (USA)/Ekaterina Stefanidi (GRE)
Long Jump: Luvo Manyonga (RSA)/Ivana Spanovic (SRB)
Triple Jump: Christian Taylor (USA)/Olga Rypakova (KAZ)
High Jump: Mutaz Barshim (QAT)/Mariya Lasitskene (ANA – neutral)
Javelin Throw: Jakub Vadlejch (CZE)/Barbora Spotakova (CZE)
Shot Put: Darrell Hill (USA)/Gong Lijiao (CHN)
Discus: Andrius Gudzius (LTU)/Sandra Perkovic (CRO)