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rutherford and grabarz among fine british displays in rome

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2 June 2016 


On an entertaining night at the IAAF Rome Diamond League, the Brits produced standout performances with victory for Greg Rutherford (coach: Dan Pfaff) in the long jump and a number of athletes achieving Olympic qualifying standards and Diamond Race points.

2015 Diamond League champion Rutherford continued his unbeaten run in 2016 with victory in Rome. A season best of 8.31m in round two blew away the field who could not respond, confirming his dominance in the event. The American Marquise Goodwin was his closest rival with a best of 8.19m but it did not faze the grand slam champion who moves onto the Birmingham Diamond League this weekend in buoyant mood.

In a world class high jump field, Robbie Grabarz (Fuzz Caan) finished second with a season best 2.30m jump. He cleared the height at his first attempt after one previous failure at 2.27m but it was an encouraging display by the world indoor silver medallist. Chris Baker (Sharon Heveran) bowed out on 2.24m after three fouls at 2.27m but ended up in eighth position overall.

In his first Diamond League appearance for two years, Andrew Pozzi (Malcolm Arnold) produced another world class display to cross the line in 13.37 for third place overall. After taking the lead during the race, a slight knock of the final hurdle saw him lose a little ground as Orlando Ortega took the win. However, it was a second Olympic standard for Pozzi who continues his return to the sport after an injury-plagued couple of years.

Lynsey Sharp (Rana Reider) produced a fine display in a stacked women’s 800m race, a second sub-two minute run in the Diamond League this year, this time stopping the clock at 1:59.03, a season best. In a field worthy of an Olympic final, Sharp ran a smart race putting herself in a strong position to strike on the back straight. As Semenya and Niyonsaba battled for the top two over the last 150m, the Scottish athlete produced an excellent performance to collect more Diamond Race points.

It was arguably the race of the night on the track, a thrilling women’s 5000m saw Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana miss out of the world record by just over a second but the race also beckoned good news for Steph Twell (Mick Woods). Her 14.59.00 clocking for 11th place was well inside the Olympic qualifying standard in her second quickest ever 5000m. There was further success for Scottish athletes in the men’s 1500m where Chris O’Hare (Terrance Mahon) ran inside the Olympic standard with 3:35.37 which was a season best and secured seventh in the race overall. It was a strong finish by O’Hare who passed several athletes in the closing 50m which will give him even more confidence in his upcoming races.

After victory in Doha, Eilidh Doyle (Malcolm Arnold) added further Diamond Race points to her tally with a third place finish. After pushing her opponents over the first 200m, Doyle was lying in second coming into the last hurdle but was just pipped by Wenda Theron Nel to finish in 54.81. The winner, Jamaica’s Janeive Russell, won in a world leading time of 53.96.

Desiree Henry (Reider) was fifth in the women’s 100m with a time of 11.15. In the men’s equivalent, but not a Diamond League event, CJ Ujah (Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo) was sixth in 10.15. In an earlier 100m B race, James Dasaolu (Steve Fudge) captured a win in a season best of 10.11 which showed signs that the European champion is returning to form with his fastest time since 2014.

As they warm up for the IPC Athletics European Championships this month, Laura Sugar (Femi Akinsanya) was narrowly outside her lifetime best with 13.58 and Maria Lyle (Tabo Huntley) recorded a time of 14.12. However, Sophie Kamlish (Rob Ellchuk) won the race in a personal best of 13.36, knocking 0.08 seconds off her previous best.

Earlier in the programme Shelayna Oskan-Clarke (Jon Bigg) finished sixth in the earlier 800m B race in 2:02.15.

Full results can be found here: http://rome.diamondleague.com/home/