BRUSSELS, BELGIUM, September 06—The second half of 2019’s men’s Diamond League winners were chosen at the Van Damme Memorial. As in the first half, in Zürich, prize money was given to places 1–8: $50,000 (plus the Diamond Trophy), $20,000, $10,000, $5000, $4000, $3000, $2000. How each event played out:
200: Lyles Gets His 3-Peat
Opportunities lay before heavily favored Noah Lyles: to claim the DL half-lap crown for a third straight year and, after his 100 win last week in Zürich, to make himself the first man to win the Trophies in both sprints. Not just in the same year but in the series’ 10-year history. There was some “chaos” to the story, too, as Lyles revealed afterwards. It was safe to guess the 62-degree (17C) temperature at the start and raindrops falling might dissuade him from launching a go-for-broke attack on his 19.50 PR set at Lausanne in July.
Still, Lyles meant to win, as did world champion Ramil Guliyev and comebacking Rio medalist Andre de Grasse, who were slotted in lanes 5 and 6 where they could key off Lyles in 7. Guliyev made the most of his position and led the American by half a step at halfway. De Grasse was back another half-step. No one was conceding. Guliyev hung tight for the next 50m until Lyles’ noted late-race strength rolled with him to the line in 19.74 for a win by a meter. Guliyev (19.86) and De Grasse (19.87, the second-fastest time of his career) both dashed seasonal bests with Brown 4th in 20.00.
“What a chaotic race it was,” the 22-year-old Lyles declared, happy to have rung up his DL Finals prize haul for the season to $100,000. “Nearly everything that could happen, happened. But I’m glad I could handle this. It gives me more confidence for the World Championships.” He reiterated he won’t use his 100 Wild Card to contest the short dash as well as the 200 at the World Championships: “I will not change my mind. In Doha I will only run the 200m because I want that gold so much.”
RESULTS (wind +0.8)
1. Noah Lyles (US) 19.74; 2. Ramil Guliyev (Tur) 19.86; 3. Andre De Grasse (Can) 19.87; 4. Aaron Brown (Can) 20.00; 5. Alex Quiñónez (Ecu) 20.25; 6. Robin Vanderbemden (Bel) 20.51; 7. Jereem Richards (Tri) 20.53; 8. Alonso Edward (Pan) 28.80.
400: Norman Tops Kerley
The spotlight was on lanes 5 and 7 and the anticipated rematch of world leader Michael Norman and DL defender Fred Kerley, who had prevailed in their clash at the USATF Champs. Neither had raced in the 6 weeks since Des Moines, and at a premeet press conference Norman signaled he was over the unspecified injury he spoke vaguely of at Nationals, saying he wanted a fast time. Nonetheless, 5 others lining up had sub-45 season bests; the 21-year-old USC alum had company in Kerley and this year’s NCAA winner, Kahmari Montgomery.
Norman forged a quick early clip, but in lane 6 Akeem Bloomfield was hauling too, the 6-2 Jamaican whom Norman touted back in April: “Very great talent, very fast, he has a lot of potential and I think he’s going to be one of the biggest competitors for the next, I don’t even know how many years, as long as he runs.” At 200 (20.8), in fact, the Auburn alum led, about even with Kerley, Norman 3rd and striding strong. That order held through the curve as Norman pulled to within a foot and a half. Down the stretch, though, Norman, calm in appearance, clawed back inches to go ahead 40m out. In the last 30m he iced the win and crossed a meter in front of Kerley, 44.26–44.46. Bloomfield, winner of the DL races in London and Birmingham, crossed 3rd in 44.67 from ’19 Houston seniors Obi Igbokwe (44.96) and Montgomery (45.31).
1. Michael Norman (US) 44.26; 2. Fred Kerley (US) 44.46; 3. Akeem Bloomfield (Jam) 44.67; 4. Obi Igbokwe (US) 44.96; 5. Kahmari Montgomery (US) 45.31; 6. Michael Cherry (US) 45.55; 7. Jonathan Sacoor (Bel) 45.72; 8. Nathon Allen (Jam) 46.17; 9 Nathan Strother (US) 47.04.
1500: Cheruiyot Gets A Triple Too
Several in the field had sub-3:30 aspirations, and when the pacemakers roared off the line Timothy Cheruiyot, the winner the past 2 years, followed with alacrity. Alas, lead hare Timothy Sein overdid it at 53.78, and then a reset to 57.70 (1:51.48) for the next circuit as the field single-filed. Cheruiyot, already under 3:30 twice this season, hammered on and, after the second rabbit stepped off on the penultimate homestraight, reached the bell (2:34.4) 6m up on world indoor titlist Samuel Tefera, trailed close by Ayanleh Souleiman. Closing up rapidly were two of the Ingebrigtsen brothers, Filip and Jakob, who went by Tefera mid-backstretch.
Still Cheruiyot led by 12m with 200 left. Shortly after that mark young Jakob moved to 2nd and into a sprint to close the gap. Cheruiyot, never mortally threatened, would not have it. As he and the European champion Ingebrigtsen charged the straight, each with strides more reminiscent of steaming locomotives than winged feet, the Kenyan defended his advantage and came home in 3:30.22, 10m ahead. Jakob, though, can certainly count himself as a Worlds medal prospect. Said the 23-year-old Cheruiyot, who earned silver at the last Worlds, “I am a natural frontrunner and that is why I decided to attack that early. Two years ago I won my first DL here in Brussels, and now it is my third trophy. Yet I prepare to win in Doha.”
American Craig Engels kicked as well as anybody save the top two, his 27.9 last 200 carrying him to a 3:34.04 PR in 5th. Significantly, his yearly U.S. leader also gave him an Olympic Q-standard.
1. Timothy Cheruiyot (Ken) 3:30.22 (2:48.59); 2. Jakob Ingebrigtsen (Nor) 3:31.62; 3. Filip Ingebrigtsen (Nor) 3:33.33; 4. Ronald Musagala (Uga) 3:33.90;
5. Craig Engels (US) 3:34.04 PR (AL);
6. Marcin Lewandowski (Pol) 3:34.36; 7. Ayanleh Souleiman (Dji) 3:35.08; 8. Johnny Gregorek (US) 3:35.32; 9. Samuel Tefera (Eth) 3:35.64; 10. Bethwel Birgen (Ken) 3:37.48; 11. Charles Simotwo (Ken) 3:38.06; 12. Vincent Kibet (Ken) 3:38.76;… rabbit—Timothy Sein (Ken) (53.78, 57.70 [1:51.48]).
Steeple: Wale Ends Kenyan String
Ethiopian teen Getnet Wale, who only arrived at the sub 8:10 level this June, broke the heretofore perfect Kenyan string of DL Final wins. The last 3 titles went to Conseslus Kipruto, who started here, although he has been obviously troubled by injury this season. Though the pacemakers were handed orders for a sub-8 tempo, they neither produced it, nor did the racers seem to want it. After the latter group went past 2K in 5:29, a collective determination simply to run to win showed through with diamond clarity.
The formchart edge had to go to Soufiane El Bakkali, 2nd in the past two DL Finals and winner in 3 of his 4 DL meets this season. With a lap to run as kick time came, Wale, winner at the Rabat DL, led the parade from compatriot Lemecha Girma. The parade shortly became a mad dash. Wale, up front throughout the race, held the lead over the last circuit and completed it impressively in 59.7 to win with 8:06.92. El Bakkali, spurted by Girma in the last turn and rode Wale’s tail over the final waterjump but found himself beaten out by 0.16 and the Ethiopian’s lean in the last 5m.
1. Getnet Wale (Eth) 8:06.92; 2. Soufiane El Bakkali (Mor) 8:07.08; 3. Lemecha Girma (Eth) 8:07.66 PR; 4. Benjamin Kigen (Ken) 8:10.76; 5. Hillary Bor (US) 8:13.90; 6. Abraham Kibiwot (Ken) 8:14.52; 7. Conseslus Kipruto (Ken) 8:14.53; 8. Fernando Carro (Spa) 8:15.53; 9. Mohamed Tindouft (Mor) 8:16.58; 10. Djilali Bedrani (Fra) 8:16.60; 11. Chala Beyo (Eth) 8:16.85; 12. Nicholas Bett (Ken) 8:26.95;… rabbits—Lawrence Kipsang (Ken) (2:41.95), Wilberforce Kones (Ken) (5:28.52).
110H Hurdles: Ortega Wins Trophy For Second Time
Spain’s Orlando Ortega, the DL titlist in ’16, the season he mined Olympic silver in Rio, held an edge from the sixth hurdle onward to win in 13.22. Jamaica’s Ronald Levy eked out 2nd on the run-in after the last hurdle, his 13.31 holding off Sergey Shubenkov (13.33) and Freddie Crittenden (13.35). The American’s flattening hurdle 10 could not have helped in a race that close.
Fine hurdling on a cool night, Ortega’s victory offered fewer clues about possible World Championships outcomes than some contests in Brussels. World leader Daniel Roberts did not start. Nor did Roberts’ stellar NCAA rival Grant Holloway, whose single DL appearance left him off the qualifiers list. Olympic and World champion Omar McLeod’s absence mystified, as he won the Berlin IWC race (13.07) just 5 days ago. For Shubenkov, DL champ the past two years, the race marked a return to form after he took a hard fall at the line while winning in Rabat.
RESULTS (wind 0.0)
1. Orlando Ortega (Spa) 13.22; 2. Ronald Levy (Jam) 13.31; 3. Sergey Shubenkov (Rus) 13.33; 4. Freddie Crittenden (US) 13.35; 5. Wenjun Xie (Chn) 13.49; 6. Andrew Pozzi (GB) 13.50; 7. Antonio Alkana (SA) 13.61;… dq—Michael Obasuyi (Bel).
Triple Jump: Taylor Dominates Claye
One of the sport’s great rivalries is Christian Taylor vs. Will Claye in the 3-bouncer, but the 29-year-old Taylor pretty much sucked the life out of this one in taking the lead in the first round and never giving it up. He opened at 56-9¼ (17.30) and Claye, the last jumper in the queue, countered with 55-11¾ (17.06). Claye never got any closer as the World/Olympic champion used a just-over-the-limit 2.1 wind to sail out to 58-6¾w (17.85) in the second round. That would be Taylor’s best of the day, but it was plenty sufficient as Claye then topped out at 56-6 (17.22) as the next jumper. Also notable was Taylor’s fifth-round 57-11¼ (17.66), which broke the meet record set by Willie Banks way back in ’85. The Diamond Trophy was No. 7 for Taylor, matching the overall DL record held by French vaulter Renaud Lavillenie.
1. Christian Taylor (US) 58-6¾w (17.85) (56-9¼, 58-6¾w, 56-5¼, 57-¼, 57-11¼, 57-0) (17.30, 17.85w, 17.20, 17.38, 17.66, 17.37); 2. Will Claye (US) 56-6 (17.22) (55-11¾, 56-6, 55-4¾, 56-5¾, 56-4, f) (17.06, 17.22, 16.88, 17.21, 17.17, f); 3. Omar Craddock (US) 56-4 (17.17) (56-4, 56-2, f, p, 55-3½, f) (17.17, 17.12, f, p, 16.85, f); 4. Donald Scott (US) 56-2¾ (17.14); 5. Alexis Copello (Aze) 55-10¼ (17.02); 6. Nelson Évora (Por) 54-3¼ (16.54); 7. Pedro Pablo Pichardo (Por) 53-6½ (16.32).
Shot: Another Title For Walsh
The meet kicked off on Thursday on a high note with the men’s shot final staged downtown at the Place de Brouckère. Long puts were very much the order of the day, with 14 past 70ft, 10 past 71, 5 past 72 and 1 past 73 (or, for metric speakers, only the fourth competition ever with the top 3 over 22m). It was that single 73—to be specific 73-2/22.30—which counted the most, of course, and that belonged to Tom Walsh. The 27-year-old Kiwi popped that big put as the sixth thrower of the competition and never trailed. Darlan Romani came closest with his third-round 72-8 (22.15). Ryan Crouser ended up only 3rd despite reaching 72-5¼ (22.08) in the fourth stanza. Said Walsh after repeating as the CL champ, “I’ve been on the tour for 6 years now but my team and I learn something new every year. My season is coming right at the right time of year.”
RESULTS (9/05, city square)
1. Tom Walsh (NZ) 73-2 (22.30) (73-2, 71-11¾, 70-4¼, 72-5, 72-4¼, f) (22.30, 21.94, 21.44, 22.07, 22.05, f); 2. Darlan Romani (Bra) 72-8 (22.15) (68-10½, 70-10¾, 72-8, 70-¼, 71-6¾, f) (20.99, 21.61, 22.15, 21.34, 21.81, f); 3. Ryan Crouser (US) 72-5¼ (22.08) (71-8¼, f, f, 72-5¼, 71-1¼, f) (21.85, f, f, 22.08, 21.67, f); 4. Konrad Bukowiecki (Pol) 71-10¾ (21.91) (f, 67-9, f, 68-8¾, 70-½, 71-10¾) (f, 20.65, f, 20.95, 21.35, 21.91); 5. Darrell Hill (US) 69-4 (21.13); 6. Michał Haratyk (Pol) 68-7¼ (20.91); 7. Tomáš Staněk (CzR) 68-5¼ (20.86); 8. Joe Kovacs (US) 67-7 (20.60).
Discus: Total Ståhl Dominance
On a day when only one other thrower could reach 215ft (65.50), yearly list leader Daniel Ståhl dropped no fewer than 5 tosses past 220 (221-0/67.36 to be precise). His biggest toss, 225-4 (68.68) came as the final thrower in the first round and it was game over. Said the 27-year-old Swede, “Now it´s time to focus completely on the World Championships. The first thing will be to get through the qualifying and then anything can happen.”
1. Daniel Ståhl (Swe) 225-4 (68.68) (225-4, 222-0, 224-2, 212-4, 221-5, 221-0) (68.68, 67.66, 68.32, 64.73, 67.49, 67.36); 2. Lukas Weißhaidinger (Aut) 216-7 (66.03); 3. Fedrick Dacres (Jam) 214-1 (65.27); 4. Andrius Gudžius (Lit) 213-10 (65.19); 5. Piotr Małachowski (Pol) 212-6 (64.78); 6. Ehsan Hadadi (Irn) 212-5 (64.75); 7. Ola Stunes Isene (Nor) 210-2 (64.07); 8. Christoph Harting (Ger) 210-1 (64.03); 9. Philip Milanov (Bel) 199-7 (60.84).
Non-Diamond League Event
Zürich also featured a single men’s event that wasn’t part of the DL structure.
1. Isaac Kimeli (Bel) 13:13.02 PR; 2. Ben True (US) 13:16.75 (10:41.49); 3. Soufiyan Bouqantar (Mor) 13:18.74; 4. Abe Gashahun (Eth) 13:19.59 PR; 5. Robin Hendrix (Bel) 13:22.69; 6. Richard Ringer (Ger) 13:25.12; 7. Soufiane Bouchikhi (Bel) 13:28.36.