Brussels Diamond League Women’s Reports

Ajee’ Wilson became the first American woman ever to win the DL 800 title. (IMAGE OF SPORT)

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM, September 06—The second half of 2019’s women’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:

100: DAS Finally Beats SAFP

It’s one thing being a European champion. Depending on the event, it’s quite a notable achievement, but it’s not an Olympic or a gold medal. Dina Asher-Smith, who won the sprint double last summer in Berlin, has never won an individual medal at a global championships. Lining up next to Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce—winner of 6 such medals, all of them golden—the 23-year-old Briton had one goal, to put herself into the podium conversation for Doha. At the crack of the gun the Jamaican seemed to get out better. At 30m she still seemed to hold a lead, but DAS kept churning away, pulling inexorably into the lead and then edging away to win decisively, 10.88–10.95 into a faint 0.3 wind. It was the fourth time the two had met and the first Asher-Smith had won.

Asher-Smith—who has broken 11 in every final this season—downplayed whether this performance makes her the favorite for Doha. “Today it was typical British weather. This is the climate I’m used to practicing in,” she pointed out. “The World Championships will be completely different; another climate, a series of races that you can’t compare with this evening’s race.”

RESULTS (wind –0.3)

1. Dina Asher-Smith (GB) 10.88; 2. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (Jam) 10.95; 3. Marie-Josée Ta Lou (CI) 11.09; 4. Dafne Schippers (Neth) 11.22; 5. Blessing Okagbare (Ngr) 11.24; 6. Aleia Hobbs (US) 11.29; 7. Crystal Emmanuel (Can) 11.38; 8. Gina Lückenkemper (Ger) 11.45.

800: Wilson’s Formula Works To Perfection

Ajee’ Wilson likes her races to be somewhat predictable. In an ideal situation, she will stay behind the rabbit for as long as that goes, then lead the field on a pace punishing enough to sap their kicks, before accelerating away on the final stretch to victory. Repeat as needed. And that’s exactly how this played out for the U.S. champion, who after sparring with Lynsey Sharp slipped into the spot behind the pacer, Noélie Yarigo of Benin (57.18). Then Wilson cruised past the 600 in 1:29.43. When she rounded the final turn, she lit out for the finish and crossed unchallenged in 2:00.24. “It was the perfect race to get prepared for Doha,” said the 25-year-old Wilson, who became the first American ever to win the DL 2-lap Trophy. When asked if she felt like the WC favorite, she replied, “I don’t know. I just keep my head down and I keep working hard. I don’t take anything for granted, but this victory gives me a lot of confidence.”

RESULTS

1. Ajee’ Wilson (US) 2:00.24 (1:29.43); 2. Raevyn Rogers (US) 2:00.67; 3. Winnie Nanyondo (Uga) 2:00.69; 4. Olha Lyakhova (Ukr) 2:01.16; 5. Natoya Goule (Jam) 2:01.40; 6. Lynsey Sharp (GB) 2:01.47; 7. Hanna Green (US) 2:02.47; 8. Renée Eykens (Bel) 2:03.20; 9. Nelly Jepkosgei (Bhr) 2:03.48;… rabbit—Noélie Yarigo (Ben) (57.18).

5000: A Second Title For Hassan

After winning the 1500 Trophy in Zürich, Sifan Hassan set her sights on the DL’s longest distance here. The early going was marked by a rather unremarkable pace—with Hassan comfortably chilling in 7th at the 3K point. Hellen Obiri, the world leader at 14:20.36, had never lost a 5000 to Hassan; however the Dutchwoman seems to be getting more powerful with each race. With 3 laps to go, the entire field remained in a single pack, but Hassan was second-to-last. Obiri, in front still, looked around to gauge who might be interested in making the first move. Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey obliged her, easing to the front through the 4K in 11:51.18 (2:58.60) before putting down a strong acceleration. Obiri followed and Konstanze Klosterhalfen responded immediately, moving into 3rd. Suddenly Hassan was out of contact, 10m behind the breakaway pack.

Gidey continued her drive, shredding Agnes Tirop from the lead pack, as Hassan bridged the gap over the next lap and moved into 4th behind training partner, Klosterhalfen. With 300 left the two Nike Oregon athletes both swung wide, Hassan unleashing the kind of sprint that gives her opponents nightmares. The German kicked well too, but could not quite get past Gidey. Surprisingly, it was Obiri who fell apart first, fading to 4th.

The 26-year-old Hassan, who finished off her 14:26.26 with a 59.70, won with deceptive ease. Gidey held on in 14:29.54 to Klosterhalfen’s 14:29.89, while Obiri managed a 14:33.90. Said Hassan, “I really improved my last 100, but it’s going to be important to keep a strong pace in Doha. I really hope to win there. Today it was a more tactical race.”

RESULTS

1. Sifan Hassan (Neth) 14:26.26; 2. Letesenbet Gidey (Eth) 14:29.54 (11:51.18); 3. Konstanze Klosterhalfen (Ger) 14:29.89; 4. Hellen Obiri (Ken) 14:33.90 (8:52.58);

5. Margaret Kipkemboi (Ken) 14:36.48; 6. Agnes Tirop (Ken) 14:37.32; 7. Gabriela DeBues-Stafford (Can) 14:44.12 NR; 8. Fantu Worku (Eth) 14:45.59 PR;

9. Beatrice Chepkoech (Ken) 14:46.58; 10. Caroline Kipkirui (Ken) 14:47.04; 11. Eva Cherono (Ken) 14:50.13;… rabbits—Camille Buscomb (NZ) (2:55.94), Eva Cherono (Ken) (5:54.62).


Danielle Williams turned back a strong American contingent in the 100H. (IMAGE OF SPORT)

100H: Williams Tops The Americans

The short hurdles may be an event that is dominated by the U.S., as fans still fondly remember that Rio medal sweep. However, Jamaica’s Danielle Williams signaled once again that she is the dominating individual of the ’19 campaign. The ’15 World Champion, winner of three of her four DL races coming in, leads the world with her 12.32. Here Williams in lane 5 had WR holder Keni Harrison on her left and Olympic silver medalist Nia Ali on her right. It made no difference to the Jamaican, who will turn 27 next week.

Harrison caught the better start, but Williams edged into the lead by hurdle 2 and continued to hammer, topping the last barrier with a meter’s gap over what would be a tight race for 2nd. The cameras caught Williams in 12.46, a full 0.27 ahead of Harrison’s 12.73. Ali crossed next 0.01 behind, with Sharika Nelvis (12.83) and Christina Clemons (12.84) taking the next two places. “A better field than today here is impossible and to be able to win, that’s just fantastic,” said Williams, adding, “It was really, really cold.”

RESULTS (wind 0.0)

1. Danielle Williams (Jam) 12.46; 2. Kendra Harrison (US) 12.73; 3. Nia Ali (US) 12.74; 4. Sharika Nelvis (US) 12.83; 5. Christina Clemons (US) 12.84; 6. Cindy Roleder (Ger) 13.12; 7. Elvira Herman (Blr) 13.12;… fs—Tobi Amusan (Ngr);… dq—Anne Zagré (Bel).


High Jump: 3 In A Row For Lasitskene

As has been so often the case for the better part of the last decade, Mariya Lasitskene operated on a different plane than everyone else. The 26-year-old Russian was her typically stolid self as she calmly and efficiently ripped off six straight heights without a miss, topping out at 6-6¼ (1.99) on an evening not conducive to high heights. “It was hard and very cold but despite that it felt good,” she said after winning DL Trophy No. 3 in a row (and 4 out of 6). “Brussels was my last competition before Doha and my only goal there is to win and jump a new personal best.” Young Ukrainian rival Yuliya Levchenko took 2nd at 6-5½ (1.97), needing all 3 tries to manage that.

RESULTS

1. Mariya Lasitskene (Rus) 6-6¼ (1.99) (6-¾, 6-2¼, 6-4, 6-4¾, 6-5½, 6-6¼, 6-8¼ [xxx]) (1.85, 1.89, 1.93, 1.95, 1.97, 1.99, 2.04 [xxx]); 2. Yuliya Levchenko (Ukr) 6-5½ (1.97); 3. Nafi Thiam (Bel) 6-4¾ (1.95); 4. Kamila Licwinko (Pol) 6-4¾; 5. Mirela Demireva (Bul) 6-4 (1.93); 6. Yaroslava Mahuchikh (Ukr) 6-2¼ (1.89); 7. Nicola McDermott (Aus) 6-2¼; 8. tie, Erika Kinsey (Swe) & Ana Šimic (Cro) 6-¾ (1.85); 10. Iryna Gerashchenko (Ukr) 6-¾; 11. Karyna Demidik (Blr) 6-¾; 12. Elena Vallortigara (Ita) 6-¾; 13. Levern Spencer (StL) 5-10¾ (1.80).

Pole Vault: 4 In A Row For Stefanídi

Mariya Lasitskene wasn’t the only vertical jumper on a DL Final roll. Her 3-year streak was bettered by Katerína Stefanídi, who topped the vault for the fourth year in a row. It was really cold here tonight,” said the 29-year-old Greek, “and people say that it will be the complete opposite in Doha, but I’m afraid that they will make it too cool in the stadium.” The Stanford alum was perfect at four heights through 15-10 (4.83). Russia’s Anzhelika Sidorova also cleared that height, but would have had to jump higher to win, having accumulated a half-dozen misses overall.

American Sandi Morris ended up only =8th at 15-2¼ (4.63), and explained, “It was a strange day for me. My body feels good and I felt good today, but since a few months ago I started to make some weird technical errors and I can´t get rid of those. I am extremely disappointed. Time to figure out those weird technical issues and be ready for Doha.”

RESULTS

1. Katerína Stefanídi (Gre) 15-10 (4.83) (15-2¼, 15-5, 15-7¾, 15-10, 16-0 [xxx]) (4.63, 4.70, 4.77, 4.83, 4.88 [xxx]); 2. Anzhelika Sidorova (Rus) 15-10 (14-11½ [2], 15-5 [2], 15-7¾ [3], 15-10 [3], 16-0 [xxx]) (4.56 [2], 4.70 [2], 4.77 [3], 4.83 [3], 4.88 [xxx]); 3. Alysha Newman (Can) 15-7¾ (4.77); 4. Katie Nageotte (US) 15-5 (4.70); 5. tie, Holly Bradshaw (GB) & Robeilys Peinado (Ven) 15-5 (Peinado =NR); 7. Jenn Suhr (US) 15-5; 8. tie, Sandi Morris (US) & Yarisley Silva (Cub) 15-2¼ (4.63); 10. Ling Li (Chn) 15-2¼; 11. Angelica Bengtsson (Swe) 15-2¼; 12. Michaela Meijer (Swe) 14-5½ (4.41).

Long Jump: Mihambo Never Trailed

Confirming her status as the Doha favorite, world leader Malaika Mihambo grabbed the lead with a first-round 22‑10½ (6.97) that would have been good enough to win. The 25-year-old German improved that with 22-11¼ (6.99) and 23-¾ (7.03) in the next two rounds before passing her final 3 attempts. Reigning world champ Brittney Reese wasn’t about to give up without a struggle, however. She saved her best for last, reaching 22-5¾ (6.85) to pass Katarina Johnson-Thompson for the runner-up position. Said Mihambo, “The reason I took so few jumps was that my main focus is on training hard for Doha now, and I wanted to use as little energy as possible. The waiting for the other girls to jump maybe farther than me was more exhausting than my own jumps.”

RESULTS

LJ: 1. Malaika Mihambo (Ger) 23-¾ (7.03) (22-10½, 22-11¼, 23-¾, p, p, p) (6.97, 6.99, 7.03, p, p, p); 2. Brittney Reese (US) 22-5¾ (6.85) (f, f, 21-4¼, f, 22-¼, 22-5¾) (f, f, 6.51, f, 6.71, 6.85); 3. Katarina Johnson-Thompson (GB) 22-1 (6.73); 4. Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk (Ukr) 22-1 (6.73); 5. Lorraine Ugen (GB) 21-11¾ (6.70); 6. Yelena Sokolova (Rus) 21-5½ (6.54); 7. Brooke Stratton (Aus) 21-5¼ (6.53); 8. Caterine Ibargüen (Col) 20-6½ (6.26).

Discus: A Repeat For Pérez

Is the pendulum swinging Yaimé Pérez’s way in her long set of battles with Sandra Perković? With a win here Pérez now trails Perković 9–32 in a collection of meetings which dates back to London ’12. But the head-to-head in their last 8 clashes is 6–2 Pérez. That streak began with a win in last year’s DL Final here and the 28-year-old Cuban duplicated the feat here, never trailing. She opened with a modest 216-4 (66.95) and improved that to 220-7 (67.24) in round 4. That was enough to win, although the foul-prone Perković did improve her best to 216-6 (66.00) in the final round. The victory well in hand, Pérez then closed with the day’s best spin, 223-11 (68.27).

RESULTS

1. Yaimé Pérez (Cub) 223-11 (68.27) (216-4, 213-7, 212-1, 220-7, 215-7, 223-11) (65.95, 65.10, 64.64, 67.24, 65.70, 68.27); 2. Sandra Perković (Cro) 216-6 (66.00) (f, 214-10, f, 211-0, f, 216-6) (f, 65.48, f, 64.31, f, 66.00); 3. Kristin Pudenz (Ger) 209-1 (63.73); 4. Denia Caballero (Cub) 208-5 (63.53); 5. Claudine Vita (Ger) 203-11 (62.15); 6. Valarie Allman (US) 202-5 (61.70); 7. Nadine Müller (Ger) 201-5 (61.39).


Non-Diamond League Events

Zürich also featured a women’s event that wasn’t part of the DL structure.

400H RESULTS

1. Sage Watson (Can) 55.58; 2. Paulien Couckuyt (Bel) 56.68; 3. Ayomide Folorunso (Ita) 56.80; 4. Hanne Claes (Bel) 57.08; 5. Janieve Russell (Jam) 57.34; 6. Yadisleidis Pedroso (Ita) 57.60; 7. Tia-Adana Belle (Bar) 57.73; 8. Melissa Gonzalez (Col) 58.16; 9. Agata Zupin (Slo) 58.91.