Paris Diamond League — The Samba Beat Goes On

Abderrahmane Samba became second man in hurdling’s sub-47 club. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

Paris, France, June 30—Should Kevin Young be concerned that his 400H World Record is in imminent danger? Answer—yes. The only question now appears to be who will get there first.

Rai Benjamin’s extraordinary 47.02 clocking at the NCAA, which put him level with legendary Ed Moses at No. 2 on the all-time list, has now been bettered by the firecracker talent of Qatar’s Aderrahmane Samba, who become only the second man under 47 as he finished the Paris Diamond League race, slightly demented, in 46.98, just 0.20 off the time Young set in winning the Barcelona Olympic title in ’92.

Benjamin was also in action on a muggy evening in the perfectly sized Charléty Stadium—but over 200m, where he and his USC training partner Michael Norman used the non-DL half-lapper to ideal effect as each earned legal sub-20 PRs, the latter winning in 19.84 and Benjamin—who apparently doesn’t plan any more 400H races until next season—clocking 19.99.

There was, too, a defiant 800 performance from Caster Semenya, about to face off with the IAAF over their plans to reimpose and monitor maximum permissible testosterone levels for some women’s events, as she improved her African Record to 1:54.25 to go to No. 4 on the all-time list.

Meanwhile Ronnie Baker joined Noah Lyles, who beat him at USATF, at the top of this season’s world 100 list with a personal best of 9.88.

But it was the 22-year-old Samba—born in the northwestern African state of Mauritania—who demanded top billing in the French capital. On a night when the temperature remained above 30C (86F), the meeting lived up to this year’s tagline—Fast In Paris—with a succession of performances that fully entertained a large if not capacity crowd buzzing from France’s dramatic 4-3 World Cup win over Argentina. In his wake, Samba left the defending DL champion, Kyron McMaster of the British Virgin Isles, who took 2nd in an NR 47.54, and a dejected looking world champion, Karsten Warholm, 3rd in 48.06.

Warholm, beaten on three previous occasions by his contemporary, had promised he would stick to his usual tactic of storming away from the start and did so. But McMaster, a lane inside him, had drawn level as they got into the final bend, and as the field moved into the straight the Norwegian was already a pale and fading force, stumbling a little after clearing the final hurdle, as Samba, a lane inside McMaster, came romping through to win.

This was Samba’s fifth consecutive DL victory of the season in a year in which run his PR has come down from 48.31(A). He improved that to 47.90(A) early in the year, then ripped off his awesome DL sequence: 47.57 NR at Doha, 47.48 NR at Rome, 47.60 at Oslo & 47.41 NR at Stockholm before this latest, and largest, leap forwards.

“I said it even before—I want to become the fastest man in the world and I work hard to achieve it,” Samba said. “It definitely didn’t feel like an under-47 seconds race today. I made a small mistake at the start, lost my balance on the first hurdle, so I did not expect to run so fast. But it feels great to be the second-fastest man in history. The World Record is getting close but I just want to improve step by step and to run fast. I improved my technique since last year and who knows, maybe I can be one second faster next year.”

Semenya ran a race of brutal simplicity, leading from gun to tape to finish clear of Burundi’s Rio silver medalist Francine Niyonsaba, who clocked a season’s best of 1:55.86 ahead of Ajee’ Wilson, who ran 1:57.11.

Caster Semenya cranked out the No. 4 women’s 800 performance ever. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

“In Oslo we were not very happy about the pace so I said ‘No pace this time,’” Semenya explained. “See what you can get out of it. But 1:54.25… I did not expect that.”

In the men’s 2-lapper, Kenyan Ferguson Cheruiyot negative-split a 1:43.73 (52.0/51.7). Back in 4th, new pro Isaiah Harris of Penn State improved his yearly U.S. lead to a PR 1:44.42.

In the men’s vault, world champion Sam Kendricks needed to draw on all his reserves to hold off the youthful challenge of the pole vault’s rising force, Sweden’s 18-year-old Mondo Duplantis. The Louisiana high schooler did some big-league passing before clearing 19-4¼ (5.90) on his third attempt—a height which eventually did in the determined challenge of local hero Renaud Lavillennie—to stay competitive. For Duplantis, the mark was =No. 4 on the all-time World Junior list. Kendricks won with 19-6½ (5.96), the best cleared so far this season, as the first 5 cleared 19-2 (5.84) or better.

Double world champion Mariya Lasitskene, unbeaten in her previous 44 high jump competitions, had welcomed the presence of Belgium’s world and Olympic heptathlon champion Nafi Thiam, who set a personal best of 6-7 (2.01) earlier this month. But once that had been made clear, the Russian moved ruthlessly in pursuit of win No. 45, winning the competition with a clearance of 6-6¾ (2.00) and skipping on to clear a list leading and meeting record of 6-8¼ (2.04) before taking three unsuccessful attempts at 6-9¾ (2.08). Thiam was a highly respectable runner-up at 6-5½ (1.97), beating Ukraine’s world silver medalist Yuliya Levchenko, who also cleared that height, on countback.

The women’s steeplechase produced another memorable piece of running as Kenya’s Beatrice Chepkoech held off the challenge of her 19-year-old compatriot Celliphine Chespol over the final lap to win in a PR 8:59.36. The fastest run this season, the time moved Chepkoech to No. 4 on the all-time list. Young Chespol held on well to record the No. 2 Junior time ever, 9:01.82.

Salwa Naser of Bahrain joined Samba as an Asian Record-breaker on the night as she won the 400 in smooth and economical fashion in a PR 49.55, way clear of the nearest challenger, Jessica Beard, who recorded 50.39.

Meanwhile, nobody has yet worked out how to beat Kenya’s world 1500 silver medalist Timothy Cheruiyot this season. He produced another consummately controlled performance to win in the fastest time seen so far this year, 3:29.71.


PARIS DL MEN’S RESULTS

Paris, France, June 30—

100(0.8): 1. Ronnie Baker (US) 9.88 PR (=WL, AL) (=9, x A);

2. Jimmy Vicaut (Fra) 9.91; 3. Bingtian Su (Chn) 9.91 =NR; 4. Akani Simbine (SA) 9.94; 5. Yohan Blake (Jam) 10.03; 6. Mike Rodgers (US) 10.10; 7. Arthur Gue Cissé (CI) 10.15; 8. Jeff Demps (US) 10.23.

Non-DL 100(1.2): 1. Abdullah Abkar Mohammed (Sau) 10.03 NR; 2. Hassan Taftian (Irn) 10.03 NR; 3. Henricho Bruintjies (SA) 10.15; 4. Mouhamadou Fall (Fra) 10.17; 5. Churandy Martina (Hol) 10.20; 6. Thando Roto (SA) 10.23; 7. Paulo André de Oliveira (Bra) 10.30; 8. Christophe Lemaitre (Fra) 10.97 (inj).

Non-DL 200(-0.6): 1. Michael Norman (US) 19.84 PR; 2. Rai Benjamin (Ant) 19.99 PR; 3. Alex Quiñonez (Ecu) 20.08; 4. Luxolo Adams (SA) 20.21; 5. Bruno Hortelano (Spa) 20.30; 6. Churandy Martina (Hol) 20.68;… dq—Alonso Edward (Pan).

Non-DL 800: 1. Ferguson Cheruiyot (Ken) 1:43.73 (52.0/51.7); 2. Jonathan Kitilit (Ken) 1:43.83 (1:16.80); 3. Saul Ordóñez (Spa) 1:44.36 PR;

4. Isaiah Harris (US) 1:44.42 PR (AL) (51.6/52.8);

5. Alfred Kipketer (Ken) 1:44.62; 6. Joseph Deng (Aus) 1:44.67; 7. Pierre-Ambroise Bosse (Fra) 1:45.19; 8. Erik Sowinski (US) 1:45.34; 9. Thiago André (Bra) 1:45.59; 10. Peter Bol (Aus) 1:45.82; 11. Marc Reuther (Ger) 1:46.06;… rabbit—Jackson Kivuva (Ken) (50.11).

1500: 1. Timothy Cheruiyot (Ken) 3:29.71 (WL) (2:50.21) (53.5);

2. Ayanleh Souleiman (Dji) 3:31.77 (55.4); 3. Charles Simotwo (Ken) 3:32.61; 4. Aman Wote (Eth) 3:32.81; 5. Jakub Holuša (CzR) 3:32.85 NR; 6. Filip Ingebrigtsen (Nor) 3:32.87; 7. Bethwel Birgen (Ken) 3:34.27; 8. Sadik Mikhou (Bhr) 3:34.55; 9. Ismael Debjani (Bel) 3:35.71; 10. Nick Willis (NZ) 3:36.26; 11. Taresa Tolosa (Eth) 3:36.81; 12. Simon Denissel (Fra) 3:36.88;… rabbit—Mounir Akbache (Fra) (54.83, 58.41 [1:53.24]).

110H(1.5): 1. Ronald Levy (Jam) 13.18; 2. Hansle Parchment (Jam) 13.22; 3. Devon Allen (US) 13.23; 4. Antonio Alkana (SA) 13.32; 5. Jarret Eaton (US) 13.40; 6. Orlando Ortega (Spa) 13.44; 7. Aurel Manga (Fra) 13.48;… fs—Sergey Shubenkov (Rus).

400H: 1. Abderrahmane Samba (Qat) 46.98 NR (WL) (2, 2 W);

2. Kyron McMaster (BVI) 47.54 NR; 3. Karsten Warholm (Nor) 48.06; 4. TJ Holmes (US) 48.30 PR; 5. Kerron Clement (US) 48.83; 6. Bershawn Jackson (US) 49.16; 7. Victor Coroller (Fra) 50.03; 8. Juander Santos (DR) 50.71.

Field Events

PV: 1. Sam Kendricks (US) 19-6½ (5.96) (WL, AL) (17-10½, 18-4½, 18-8¼, 18-11, 19-2, 19-4¼, 19-6½ [2], 19-10¼ [xxx]) (5.45, 5.60, 5.70, 5.77, 5.84, 5.90, 5.96 [2], 6.05 [xxx]);

2. Mondo Duplantis (Swe-LaHS) 19-4¼ (5.90) (x, =4 WJ, HS) (17-10½ [p], 18-4½, 18-8¼ [p], 18-11 [2], 19-2 [x, 7 WJ, HS] [2], 19-4¼ [3], 19-6½ [xxp], 19-8½ [x]) (5.45 [p], 5.60, 5.77 [2], 5.80 [p], 5.84 [2], 5.90 [3], 5.96 [xxp], 6.01 [x]);

3. Renaud Lavillenie (Fra) 19-2 (5.84) (17-10½, 18-4½, 18-8¼, 18-11, 19-2, 19-4¼ [xxx]) (5.45, 5.60, 5.70, 5.77, 5.84, 5.90 [xxx]); 4. Piotr Lisek (Pol) 19-2 (17-10½, 18-4½, 18-8¼ [2], 18-11, 19-2, 19-4¼ [xxx]) (5.45, 5.60, 5.70 [2], 5.77, 5.84, 5.90 [xxx]);

5. Shawn Barber (Can) 19-2 (17-10½, 18-4½ [2], 18-8¼ [2], 18-11, 19-2 [2], 19-4¼ [xxx]) (5.45, 5.60 [2], 5.70 [2], 5.77, 5.84 [2], 5.90 [xxx]);

6. Kurtis Marschall (Aus) 18-8¼ (5.70); 7. Paweł Wojciechowski (Pol) 18-8¼; 8. Axel Chapelle (Fra) 18-4½ (5.60); 9. Seito Yamamoto (Jpn) 18-4½; 10. Konstadínos Filippídis (Gre) 17-10½ (5.45); 11. Thiago Braz (Bra) 17-10½;… nh—Raphael Holzdeppe (Ger).

DT: 1. Fedrick Dacres (Jam) 219-10 (67.01) (215-9, f, f, 219-10, f, f) (65.77, f, f, 67.01, f, f); 2. Christoph Harting (Ger) 212-7 (64.80); 3. Robert Urbanek (Pol) 212-2 (64.68); 4. Piotr Małachowski (Pol) 211-6 (64.47); 5. Lukas Weißhaidinger (Aut) 211-5 (64.44); 6. Ehsan Hadadi (Irn) 211-2 (64.36); 7. Philip Milanov (Bel) 210-0 (64.00); 8. Daniel Jasinski (Ger) 204-9 (62.40); 9. Mason Finley (US) 203-1 (61.91); 10. Andrius Gudžius (Lit) 201-1 (61.31); 11. Lolassonn Djouhan (Fra) 199-9 (60.88); 12. Daniel Ståhl (Swe) 198-4 (60.46).

Tri (LJ, SP, 110H): 1. Kevin Mayer (Fra) 2860 (25-0/7.62, 54-2/16.51 PR, 13.71 PR);

2. Oleksiy Kasyanov (Ukr) 2643; 3. Lindon Victor (Grn) 2464; 4. Jérémy Lelièvre (Fra) 2452.

PARIS DL WOMEN’S RESULTS

200(1.1): 1. Shericka Jackson (Jam) 22.05 PR; 2. Jenna Prandini (US) 22.30; 3. Marie Josée Ta Lou (CI) 22.50; 4. Jamile Samuel (Hol) 22.63 PR; 5. Kyra Jefferson (US) 22.69; 6. Kimberlyn Duncan (US) 22.95; 7. Tatjana Pinto (Ger) 23.35; 8. Brigitte Ntiamoah (Fra) 23.48.

400: 1. Salwa Eid Naser (Bhr) 49.55 NR (12.5, 11.8 [24.3], 12.4 [36.7], 12.9) (24.3/25.3);

2. Jessica Beard (US) 50.39 (12.3, 11.7, [24.0], 12.9 [36.9], 13.5) (24.0/26.4); 3. Phyllis Francis (US) 50.50; 4. Shakima Wimbley (US) 50.81; 5. Stephenie Ann McPherson (Jam) 50.85; 6. Courtney Okolo (US) 51.15; 7. Floria Guei (Fra) 51.71; 8. Anastasia Le-Roy (Jam) 52.44.

800: 1. Caster Semenya (SA) 1:54.25 NR (WL) (4, 4 W) (56.12/58.13) (13.5, 13.3, [26.8], 14.5 [41.3], 14.9 [56.2], 14.5 [1:10.7], 14.7 [1:25.4], 14.6 [1:40.0], 13.3]);

2. Francine Niyonsaba (Bur) 1:55.86 (56.4/59.5); 3. Ajee’ Wilson (US) 1:57.11 (56.9/60.2); 4. Habitam Alemu (Eth) 1:57.17; 5. Natoya Goule (Jam) 1:57.69 NR; 6. Charlene Lipsey (US) 1:58.05; 7. Emily Jerotich (Ken) 1:58.99; 8. Renelle Lamote (Fra) 1:59.25; 9. Eunice Sum (Ken) 1:59.25; 10. Sifan Hassan (Hol) 1:59.35; 11. Claudia Saunders (US) 2:00.47 PR;… dnf—Margaret Wambui (Ken).

St: 1. Beatrice Chepkoech (Ken) 8:59.36 PR (WL) (4, 5 W) (5:58.78);

2. Celliphine Chespol (Ken) 9:01.82 (WJL) (2, 2 WJ);

3. Hyvin Jepkemoi (Ken) 9:03.86; 4. Norah Tanui (Ken) 9:04.17;

5. Winfred Yavi (Bhr) 9:12.74 NJR (2, 5 WJ);

6. Roseline Chepngetich (Ken) 9:17.08 PR; 7. Daisy Jepkemei (Ken) 9:17.35; 8. Aisha Praught Leer (Jam) 9:20.89; 9. Karoline Bjerkeli Grøvdal (Nor) 9:28.50; 10. Fabienne Schlumpf (Swi) 9:39.89; 11. Elena Burkard (Ger) 9:40.18; 12. Geneviève Lalonde (Can) 9:40.34;… rabbit—Ann Gathoni (Ken) (3:01.25).

Field Events

HJ: 1. Mariya Lasitskene (Rus) 6-8¼ (2.04) (WL) (win streak 45) (6-¾, 6-2¾, 6-4¼, 6-5½, 6-6¾ [2], 6-8¼, 6-9¾ [xxx]) (1.85, 1.90, 1.94, 1.97, 2.00 [2], 2.04, 2.08 [xxx]);

2. Nafissatou Thiam (Bel) 6-5½ (1.97); 3. Yuliya Levchenko (Ukr) 6-5½; 4. Mirela Demireva (Bul) 6-4¼ (1.94); 5. Elena Vallortigara (Ita) 6-4¼; 6. Kateryna Tabashnyk (Ukr) 6-4¼; 7. Marie-Laurence Jungfleisch (Ger) 6-4¼; 8. Erika Kinsey (Swe) 6-2¾ (1.90); 9. Levern Spencer (StL) 6-2¾; 10. tie, Claire Orcel (Bel) & Alessia Trost (Ita) 6-¾ (1.85).

TJ: 1. Caterine Ibargüen (Col) 48-8 (14.83) (47-3½, 47-2¼, 48-8, 46-8¼, 47-1½, 48-3½) (14.41, 14.38, 14.83, 14.23, 14.36, 14.72); 2. Kim Williams (Jam) 47-9¼ (14.56); 3. Tori Franklin (US) 47-6½ (14.49) (x, 12 A) (46-11½, 47-6½, f, 46-8¼, f, 46-½) (14.31, 14.49, f, 14.23, f, 14.03);

4. Kristin Gierisch (Ger) 47-3¾ (14.42) PR; 5. Shanieka Ricketts (Jam) 47-2¼ (14.38); 6. Ana Peleteiro (Spa) 46-11½ (14.31); 7. Rouguy Diallo (Fra) 46-10 (14.27) PR; 8. Olga Rypakova (Kaz) 46-9 (14.25); 9. Jeanine Assani Issouf (Fra) 46-5½ (14.16); 10. Hanna Minenko (Isr) 46-¾ (14.04); 11. Nubia Soares (Bra) 45-9 (13.94).

DT: 1. Sandra Perković (Cro) 225-1 (68.60) (155-10, 225-1, f, 215-4, f, 222-7) (47.51, 68.60, f, 65.63, f, 67.85); 2. Yaimé Pérez (Cub) 218-4 (66.55); 3. Denia Caballero (Cub) 207-1 (63.13); 4. Andressa de Morais (Bra) 206-5 (62.93); 5. Anna Rüh (Ger) 205-6 (62.65); 6. Claudine Vita (Ger) 204-5 (62.31); 7. Nadine Müller (Ger) 197-9 (60.28); 8. Whitney Ashley (US) 188-1 (57.33). □

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