Brussels DL — Readying For Next Week’s Finale

The long Olympic season is winding down, but Michael Cherry is still in the form of his life, PRing at 44.03. (JEAN-PIERRE DURAND)

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM, September 03 — The Diamond League rolled into its last pre-Final gathering of the year at the 45th Memorial Van Damme meet, and Michael Cherry rolled, as well. In the evening’s first Diamond event on the track, the Olympic 4th-placer took down a 23-year-old meet record that had belonged to legend Michael Johnson, no less.

In reducing Johnson’s mark by 0.03, Cherry circled the track in 44.03, 0.18 faster than his previous best from the Tokyo final, for a decisive win over Kirani James, the man who pipped him by just 0.02 for Olympic bronze.

Back in the spring of 2019, Cherry’s coach John Smith, a guru of the 400 and sprints in general, told T&FN with respect to his now 26-year-old charge, “I can just run him and run him and run him, and the more I run him, the more he likes it. But what I do at the same time is I have to make sure that he doesn’t leave his effort in practice. He has a resting heart rate of about 42 beats per second. It’s off the charts. And he can take work. He’s fast but there’s an element of learning how to sprint.”

Smith’s lessons and the strength described by the coach have paid off. Starting in lane 5 with James to his immediate left and Olympic finalist Liemarvin Bonevacia on his right, Cherry rushed with control to 200 in 21.3, a couple steps down to James, who was not as yet in his peripheral vision. The turn belonged to Cherry, though, and he reached 300 a stride ahead of ’12 Olympic gold medalist James and Deon Lendore in lane 3.

The homestraight was all Cherry, too, and he finished it some 3m ahead of James’ 44.51, as Isaac Makwala overhauled Bonevacia for 3rd, 44.83–45.00.

“I am very happy with my win and a good personal best of 44.03,” Cherry said. “It felt so good to race here. The crowd was amazing, the weather was nice, I had good competition here — and also, getting that meeting record here in Brussels.

“I still have a few races to go so no vacation for me yet, I still have to focus and try to be better each time.”

At the far end of the night’s proceedings, after track action had wrapped, all eyes in King Baudouin Stadium turned to another meet record in the Mondo-sphere — pole vault heights where only the Olympic champion and World Record holder among active athletes operates with regularity.

After three vaulters went over 19-2¼ (5.85), Mondo Duplantis left Tokyo silver medalist Chris Nilsen (over on first) and KC Lightfoot (who needed three) behind at the next setting, 19-4¾ (5.91). He cleared on first and sent the bar to 19-10¼ (6.05).

Duplantis’s first two cracks at the meet record bar — 2 inches above the 19-8¼ (6.00) he went over here a year ago — ended with his shins clattering the crossbar before he found trademark form and soared over on third, equaling the eighth highest meet of his career.

Only event great Sergey Bubka has flown as high more often. The Ukrainian went 19-10¼ or better in 19 meets 1990–97. But then Mondo, currently with 10 such meets, is the current World Record holder, and here for the eighth time this year tried to lift his standard by a centimeter to 20-3¾ (6.19).

The waiting may have been the hardest part. When officials moved to set the bar it sat lopsided — reportedly not for the first time in the comp. Righting it required a 20-minute flurry of effort to overhaul the standards and repeated sighting by a surveyor. Mondo waited. So did the COVID-capacity crowd.

Once the bar was at long last seated and even, Duplantis kicked it off with his feet on first attempt. Tries two and three, however, were among the best efforts seen yet at the height from the Louisianan Swede. His shins lightly displaced the bar, and the height looks doable. Eventually.

“I felt good,” said Mondo. “I was really close to the World Record. That height demands perfection out of you. It is a game of centimeters and today I lost the game, but one of these days I am gonna take it. That’s for sure.

“I could not ask for better conditions. It was hot enough, there was no wind, all perfect… It was just up to me.

“The crowd was unreal. I haven’t had such an amazing atmosphere during the competition in a really long time. All eyes were on me when I attacked the World Record. It is still a special feeling, really cool.”

Sifan Hassan’s mile win, too, came with a meet record performance and it was a yearly world leader. The Dutch star — who had raced indefatigably in Tokyo to three medals and then showed the toll of that effort in a 5000 WR attempt on which the wheels came off at the Pre Classic — ran 4:14.74, the No. 6 all-time mark to clip 1.97 from rival Faith Kipyegon’s Van Damme best from ’16.

The race went off for all effective purposes as an all-Hassan affair. With the principal right behind, two rabbits carried the pace through 62.03 and 2:04.97.

The latter figure left Hassan inside the tempo of her own WR, 4:12.33 in ’19, and when second hare Eglay Nalyanya stepped aside on the next backstretch, she set out to make of it what she could some 60–70m ahead of her pursuers.

Eyes on the pace lights, her face a picture of concentration, Hassan ran to 1200 in 3:09.21, now nearly a second-and-a-half behind WR tempo yet with the meet best in reach. Pumping her arms and grimacing once as she hit the final straight, she turned 65.53 for the last 409.35m (64-flat 400 pace) for the No. 3 mile time of her career.

“I am really happy with the time,” Hassan said. “After Tokyo I was so tired so I just wanted to run the short distance. My goal was to run fast here tonight and that is what I did. It is a beautiful time.

Attacking the WR was never on her agenda, she said, “although I knew I was on World Record pace in the beginning. But in the middle, it slowed down a bit. It does not matter. Like I said, I am happy with the time and meeting record.

“I am not running any long distances anymore this year. In Zürich I will run the 1500m.”

Back in 5th and 6th, PRs were claimed by Elise Cranny (4:21.90 AL) and Josette Norris (4:22.71), moving them to Nos. 10 & 11 on the all-time U.S. list.

In the women’s 200, no doubt, much interest centered on how Sha’Carri Richardson might fare in her first 200 in nearly 3½ months — the intervening time having included her Trials 100 win, subsequent cannabis disqualification and a disappointing return to action in the Pre Classic’s century.

The field was high quality, however, and what played out was Richardson 3rd by inches at halfway to Dina Asher-Smith and Tokyo’s 100 bronze medalist Shericka Jackson.

Jackson pressed to a clear advantage in the early stretch as Richardson slipped back to 4th clocked at 22.45, but in the final 50 Christine Mboma (4th at 100) powered ahead to win 21.84–21.95 from Jackson in her first DL appearance.

The time was just 0.03 off the mark Mboma produced for Tokyo silver and matched her World Juniors winning mark at equal-No. 2 on the U20 all-time list.

“Currently I’m focusing on the 200m, but I hope in future also to get faster at the 400m,” said the winner. The 1-lap aspiration, at least in elite competition, may require a modification of WA’s testosterone rules.

Another woman impacted by DSD rules, former 800 star Francine Niyonsaba, continued to show her ability at longer distances, showing off a sharp kick to win the 5000 with a Burundian Record 14:25.34.

Wisconsin alum Alicia Monson finished 9th in a U.S.-leading 14:42.56, lifting her all the way to No. 4 on the all-time U.S. list.

In a men’s 100 where Americans swept the top 3 spots, Michael Norman essayed an eye-catching quick start and the dash looked to be Trayvon Bromell’s to lose around 60m, but Fred Kerley drove ahead in the last 10 to lean across the line in 9.94. That left the Tokyo silver medalist 0.03 up on Bromell with another 0.01 back to Norman.


BRUSSELS MEN’S RESULTS

100(0.1): 1. Fred Kerley (US) 9.94; 2. Trayvon Bromell (US) 9.97; 3. Michael Norman (US) 9.98; 4. Ferdinand Omurwa (Ken) 10.02; 5. Rohan Browning (Aus) 10.14; 6. Akani Simbine (SA) 10.18; 7. Mouhamadou Fall (Fra) 10.19; 8. Arthur Gue Cissé (CI) 10.34.

400: 1. Michael Cherry (US) 44.03 PR (13, x A); 2. Kirani James (Grn) 44.51; 3. Isaac Makwala (Bot) 44.83; 4. Liemarvin Bonevacia (Neth) 45.00; 5. Deon Lendore (Tri) 45.06; 6. Alexander Doom (Bel) 45.84; 7. Christopher Taylor (Jam) 45.88; 8. Jonathan Sacoor (Bel) 46.66.

Non-DL 800: 1. Ferguson Rotich (Ken) 1:43.81; 2. Eliott Crestan (Bel) 1:45.24; 3. Cornelius Tuwei (Ken) 1:45.29; 4. Aurele Vandeputte (Bel) 1:45.49 PR; 5. Mouad Zahafi (Mor) 1:45.70; 6. Collins Kipruto (Ken) 1:46.56; 7. Tibo De Smet (Bel) 1:47.68; 8. Ruben Verheyden (Bel) 1:47.81; 9. Pieter Sisk (Bel) 1:48.39;… rabbit—Patryk Sieradzki (Pol) (50.16).

1500: 1. Stewart McSweyn (Aus) 3:33.20; 2. Oliver Hoare (Aus) 3:33.79; 3. Michał Rozmys (Pol) 3:33.96; 4. Abel Kipsang (Ken) 3:34.08; 5. Charles Simotwo (Ken) 3:34.37; 6. Simon Denissel (Fra) 3:34.43 PR; 7. Mohamed Katir (Spa) 3:34.50 (2:50.09); 8. Charles Grethen (Lux) 3:34.59; 9. Adel Mechaal (Spa) 3:35.37; 10. Samuel Tefera (Eth) 3:36.20; 11. Ismael Debjani (Bel) 3:43.08; 12. Jochem Vermeulen (Bel) 3:53.36;… rabbit—Erik Sowinski (US) (55.94, 56.19 [1:52.13]).

400H: 1. Alison dos Santos (Bra) 48.23; 2. Kyron McMaster (IVB) 48.31; 3. Yasmani Copello (Tur) 48.45; 4. Jaheel Hyde (Jam) 48.91; 5. Rasmus Mägi (Est) 49.13; 6. Ramsey Angela (Neth) 49.53; 7. Chris McAlister (GB) 50.09; 8. Constantin Preis (Ger) 50.12.

Field Events

PV: 1. Mondo Duplantis (Swe) 19-10¼ (6.05) (18-½, 18-10¼, 19-2¼, 19-4¾, 19-10¼ [3], 20-3¾ [xxx]) (5.50, 5.75, 5.85, 5.91, 6.05 [3], 6.19 [xxx]); 2. Chris Nilsen (US) 19-2¼ (5.85) (18-½, 18-6½, 18-10¼ [2], 19-2¼, 19-4¾ [xxx]) (5.50, 5.65, 5.75 [2], 5.85, 5.91 [xxx]); 3. KC Lightfoot (US) 19-2¼ (17-6½, 18-½, 18-6½ [2], 18-10¼, 19-2¼ [3], 19-4¾ [xxx]) (5.35, 5.50, 5.65 [2], 5.75, 5.85 [3], 5.91 [xxx]); 4. tie, Timur Morgunov (Rus) & Ben Broeders (Bel) 18-10¼ (5.75); 6. Rutger Koppelaar (Neth) 18-6½ (5.65); 7. Piotr Lisek (Pol) 18-6½; 8. Menno Vloon (Neth) 18-6½; 9. Bo Kanda Lita Baehre (Ger) 18-6½; 10. Ernest John Obiena (Phi) 18-6½; 11. Valentin Lavillenie (Fra) 18-½ (5.50); 12. Harry Coppell (GB) 18-½.

LJ: 1. Steffin McCarter (US) 26-2¾ (7.99) (26-¼, f, p, 19-6, p, 26-2¾) (7.93, f, p, 5.94, p, 7.99); 2. Ruswahl Samaai (SA) 26-1 (7.95) (26-1, 25-11½, 25-10¼, f, p, 25-10¾) (7.95, 7.91, 7.88, f, p, 7.89); 3. Filippo Randazzo (Ita) 25-10¾ (7.89) (25-10¾, f, f, 19-3¼, p, f) (7.89, f, f, 5.87, p, f); 4. Benjamin Gföhler (Swi) 25-6 (7.77); 5. Artyom Primak (Rus) 25-3½ (7.71); 6. Erwan Konate (Fra) 25-2½ (7.68); 7. Eusebio Cáceres (Spa) 24-9¼ (7.55); 8. Fabian Heinle (Ger) 24-4¼ (7.42); 9. Jente Hauttekeete (Bel) 23-6¾ (7.18).

DT(9/01 in park): 1. Daniel Ståhl (Swe) 227-4 (69.31) (227-4, f, f, f, 225-0, 219-10) (69.31, f, f, f, 68.59, 67.01); 2. Kristjan Čeh (Slo) 215-6 (65.68) (207-1, f, 214-4, f, 215-6, f) (63.12, f, 65.32, f, 65.68, f); 3. Fedrick Dacres (Jam) 213-9 (65.17) (208-7, 206-0, 201-1, 211-6, 213-9, 202-7) (63.59, 62.79, 61.29, 64.47, 65.17, 61.75) (DL protocol: Ståhl–Dacres–Čeh); 4. Andrius Gudžius (Lit) 210-5 (64.14); 5. Daniel Jasinski (Ger) 209-5 (63.84); 6. Simon Pettersson (Swe) 208-6 (63.57); 7. Philip Milanov (Bel) 206-8 (63.01); 8. Mauricio Ortega (Col) 205-11 (62.76); 9. Chad Wright (Jam) 195-8 (59.64).

BRUSSELS WOMEN’S RESULTS

200(0.4): 1. Christine Mboma (Nam) 21.84 (x, =2 WJ);

2. Shericka Jackson (Jam) 21.95; 3. Dina Asher-Smith (GB) 22.04; 4. Sha’Carri Richardson (US) 22.45; 5. Beatrice Masilingi (Nam) 22.50; 6. Imke Vervaet (Bel) 23.28; 7. Lilly Kaden (Ger) 23.40; 8. Rani Rosius (Bel) 23.79.

800: 1. Natoya Goule (Jam) 1:58.09; 2. Keely Hodgkinson (GB) 1:58.16; 3. Jemma Reekie (GB) 1:58.77; 4. Habitam Alemu (Eth) 1:59.01; 5. Kate Grace (US) 1:59.22; 6. Lovisa Lindh (Swe) 1:59.49; 7. Halimah Nakaayi (Uga) 1:59.55; 8. Mary Moraa (Ken) 1:59.79;… rabbit—Noélie Yarigo (Ben) (56.99).

Mile: 1. Sifan Hassan (Neth) 4:14.74 (WL) (x, 6 W) (3:56.69) (3:09.21);

2. Axumawit Embaye (Eth) 4:21.08 (4:02.99); 3. Linden Hall (Aus) 4:21.38 NR (4:04.28); 4. Marta Pérez (Spa) 4:21.58 PR (4:04.42);

5. Elise Cranny (US) 4:21.90 PR (AL) (10, x A) (4:04.56); 6. Josette Norris (US) 4:22.71 PR (11, x A) (4:05.15);

7. Esther Guerrero (Spa) 4:22.81 PR (4:05.24); 8. Winnie Nanyondo (Uga) 4:23.09 (4:05.31); 9. Kristiina Mäki (CzR) 4:23.38 PR (4:05.69); 10. Edina Jebitok (Ken) 4:25.11 PR (4:06.71); 11. Mebhrit Mekonen (Eth) 4:28.39 PR (4:09.82); 12. Elise Vanderelst (Bel) 4:32.44 PR (4:11.57);… rabbits—Aneta Lemiesz (Pol) (62.03), Eglay Nalyanya (Ken) (2:04.97).

5000: 1. Francine Niyonsaba (Bur) 14:25.34 NR (11:41.73); 2. Ejgayehu Taye (Eth) 14:25.63; 3. Hellen Obiri (Ken) 14:26.23 (8:42.57); 4. Margaret Kipkemboi (Ken) 14:27.12 PR; 5. Lilian Rengeruk (Ken) 14:30.32 PR; 6. Eva Cherono (Ken) 14:30.77 PR; 7. Eilish McColgan (GB) 14:31.26; 8. Konstanze Klosterhalfen (Ger) 14:35.88;

9. Alicia Monson (US) 14:42.56 PR (AL) (4, 5 A);

10. Karoline Bjerkeli Grøvdal (Nor) 14:43.26 PR; 11. Beatrice Chebet (Ken) 14:47.31; 12. Aberash Minsewo (Eth) 14:50.88 PR; 13. Bosena Mulate (Eth) 14:55.18; 14. Daisy Cherotich (Ken) 14:56.46 PR; 15. Dominique Scott Efurd (SA) 15:01.66;… rabbits—Michelle Finn (Ire) (2:51.04), Kate van Buskirk (Can) (5:43.71).

(best-ever mark-for-place: 6–11)

100H(0.7): 1. Nadine Visser (Neth) 12.69; 2. Tobi Amusan (Ngr) 12.69; 3. Megan Tapper (Jam) 12.77; 4. Cindy Sember (GB) 12.79; 5. Gabbi Cunningham (US) 12.89; 6. Anne Zagré (Bel) 12.96; 7. Noor Vidts (Bel) 13.55;… dq—Danielle Williams (Jam).

Field Events

HJ: 1. Yaroslava Mahuchikh (Ukr) 6-7½ (2.02) (6-½, 6-2, 6-3½, 6-4¾ [3], 6-6, 6-6¾ [2], 6-7½, 6-8¼ [xxx]) (1.84, 1.88, 1.92, 1.95 [3], 1.98, 2.00 [2], 2.02, 2.04 [xxx]); 2. Mariya Lasitskene (Rus) 6-6¾ (2.00) (6-½, 6-2, 6-3½, 6-4¾, 6-6, 6-6¾, 6-7½ [x], 6-8¼ [xx]) (1.84, 1.88, 1.92, 1.95, 1.98, 2.00, 2.02 [x], 2.04 [xx]); 3. Nicola McDermott (Aus) 6-6¾ (6-2, 6-4¾ [2], 6-6 [2], 6-6¾, 6-7½ [xx], 6-8¼ [x]) (1.88, 1.95 [2], 1.98 [2], 2.00, 2.02 [xx], 2.04 [x]); 4. Iryna Herashchenko (Ukr) 6-3½ (1.92); 5. Karyna Demidik (Blr) 6-3½; 6. tie, Eleanor Patterson (Aus) & Nafi Thiam (Bel) 6-3½; 8. Yuliya Levchenko (Ukr) 6-2 (1.88); 9. Alessia Trost (Ita) 5-10¾ (1.80).

DT(9/01 in park): 1. Yaimé Pérez (Cub) 218-1 (66.47) (f, 218-1, 212-1, 212-9, 197-3, 208-0) (f, 66.47, 64.65, 64.86, 60.13, 63.41); 2. Sandra Perković (Cro) 213-8 (65.14) (205-0, 211-5, 213-8, f, f, f) (62.49, 64.44, 65.14, f, f, f); 3. Valarie Allman (US) 210-9 (64.25) (f, 210-7, 210-9, f, f, 207-11) (f, 64.20, 64.25, f, f, 63.38) (DL protocol: Pérez–Allman–Perković); 4. Denia Caballero (Cub) 204-4 (62.28); 5. Marija Tolj (Cro) 202-9 (61.80); 6. Liliana Cá (Por) 202-3 (61.66); 7. Kristin Pudenz (Ger) 201-4 (61.37); 8. Mélina Robert-Michon (Fra) 192-4 (58.62); 9. Claudine Vita (Ger) 187-3 (57.09).

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