Athletics-Thompson bounces back to scoop Diamond League prize
BRUSSELS, Sept 1 (Reuters) – It was a night of consolation for three world championship failures on Friday as Elaine Thompson, Nijel Amos and Shaunae Miller-Uibo secured titles and $50,000 prize money in the Diamond League final in Brussels.
Jamaican Thompson arrived in London last month as hot favourite to add the world 100 metres title to her Olympic gold from Rio last year but after cruising through the rounds, she struggled in the final and managed only fifth.
She trailed again on a chilly night in Brussels as Marie–Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast led with 70 metres remaining. In London, Ta Lou lost on the line to American Tori Bowie and this time it was Thompson who blasted past in the final stages to win in 10.92 seconds. Ta Lou clocked 10.93 with Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor of Nigeria third in 11.07.
Amos has had a similarly consistent season before a major blip in London and he was also back to his best when producing a strong run to win the 800m title in one minute, 44.53 seconds. The 2012 Olympic silver medallist from Botswana was off the pace when finishing fifth in the world final but looked powerful after hitting the front 300 metres out on Friday, holding off London silver medallist Adam Kszczot, who was caught on the line for second by fellow Pole Marcin Lewandowski. France’s surprise world champion Pierre-Ambroise Bosse, was a notable absentee as he recovers from what he described as a brutal assault by three men last week that left him with facial fractures.
Olympic champion Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas, who memorably stumbled with victory in sight at the world 400m final after looking up at the big screen, roared back to take the Diamond League title with the fastest time of the year – 49.46 seconds. Second placed Salwa Eid Naser of Bahrain, who set three national records in London, did it again in Brussels with 49.88 – her first time under 50 seconds.
“I’ve had so many ups and downs this year that to come home with the win tonight feels amazing,” said Miller-Uibo.
American Noah Lyles took an impressive win from the outside lane in the men’s 200m, finishing strongly to cross in 20.00, out-dipping compatriot Ameer Webb by a hundredth. Turkey’s surprise world champion Ramil Guliyev was third in 20.02 – faster than his London winning time.
Kenya’s World and Olympic champion Conseslus Kipruto produced a remarkable last 30-metre sprint to snatch the 3,000m steeplechase from London silver medallist Soufiane El Bakkali, who punched the air in frustration having thought he’d done enough to win it.
Friday’s event, the second of two finals after Zurich last week, was the culmination of the first system under the Diamond League’s new format, where athletes gained points for performances through the season to qualify for the final where the winner on the night scooped the $50,000 prize.
Field event winners included America’s Christian Taylor in the triple jump, Ivana Spanovic of Serbia in the long jump, Lithuania’s Andrius Gudzius in the discus and Katerina Stefanidi of Greece in the pole vault.
In the men’s shot put event held in Brussels city centre on Thursday, America’s Darell Hill pulled out a massive 22.44 metre personal best to take a surprise victory. (Writing by Mitch Phillips; Editing by Christian Radnedge)