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muir shows class to take diamond race title 

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1 September 2016


Laura Muir (coach: Andy Young) stole the show once again at the IAAF Diamond League, this time in Zurich which was the first of two finals for the 14 event series. She captured the women’s 1500m Diamond Race title at the event which also saw Holly Bradshaw (Scott Simpson) win the women’s pole vault.

After lowering the British record in Paris last week, it was another world-class run from Muir who was edged into second in the final metre by Shannon Rowbury of the USA, in a time of 3:57.85. However, any disappointment lingering after missing out on victory with the dive for the line will have evaporated very quickly, as it was confirmed that the 23 year-old had been the crowned the 2016 Diamond Race champion.

Muir spoke afterwards: “This is amazing; I never expected anything like this. I am the Diamond Race winner; this is big, big for me because running in a Diamond League race is already something special for me.”

It is quite an accolade for the Olympic finalist, who showed once again her ever growing confidence in her race tactics by sitting on the shoulder of Faith Kipyegon (KEN) for most of the final lap before attacking with 100m to go. However, as she moved into lane two in the final few strides, she opened the door for the American who just edged the victory.  

Laura Weightman (Steve Cram) crossed the line in tenth position, clocking 4:04.77 in a race which was paced out by British athletics royalty, Jenny Meadows.

On the previous night, Holly Bradshaw (Scott Simpson) beat the Olympic gold and silver medallists on her way to victory in the women’s pole vault inside the atmospheric surroundings of Zurich train station. She cleared 4.76m, a season’s best for Olympic fifth placer, which was also her highest clearance since 2013. America’s Sandi Morris also cleared 4.76m but a perfect scorecard for the Briton before three fouls at 4.81m saw her earn a notable win.

Cindy Ofili (James Henry) has enjoyed a wonderful few weeks competing on the world’s biggest stage, on this occasion running world record holder Kendra Harrison (USA) close in the 100m hurdles, placing second in 12.70 (+0.4). After a fourth place finish in Rio, Ofili has been a major feature in the last couple of Diamond League fixtures, this time pushing Harrison all the way, just seventh hundredths behind the winning time.

In a race which saw an epic battle between Olympic champion Elaine Thompson (JAM) and silver medallist Dafne Schippers (NED), the former narrowly taking the 200m win with a Diamond League record of 21.85 (+0.2), there was also a solid performance from Dina Asher-Smith (John Blackie). She secured fourth place in the race with a time of 22.38, and that consolidated a third place finish overall in the Diamond Race for the 20 year-old, a remarkable achievement after her victory in Stockholm earlier in the series.

From the outside lane, double 400m European champion Martyn Rooney (Rana Reider) returned to the scene of his 2014 triumph, and ran well for fourth place and a time of 45.32. However, his compatriot Matthew Hudson-Smith (Tony Hadley) failed to finish the race after pulling up around 120m into the race.

Lorraine Ugen (Shawn Jackson) led the way for the British contenders in the women’s long jump, placing fifth overall with a best of 6.52m, which sadly meant she did not continue to the further three jumps for the top four athletes. The same fate befell the other two Britons; Shara Proctor (Rana Reider) one centimetre behind Ugen, took seventh and Jazmin Sawyers (Alan Lerwill) was eighth with a best leap of 6.44m.

After concentrating on the 200m discipline for much of the season, Adam Gemili (Steve Fudge) turned to the 100m in Switzerland, and finished a credible fifth in a season’s best of 10.11 (+0.4). CJ Ujah (Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo) was eighth, narrowly behind in 10.13.

In the field, there was a ninth place finish for Olympian Jade Lally (Andrew Neal) in the women’s discus, throwing a best effort of 57.39m in round two. In the 800m, Olympic finalist Lynsey Sharp (Rana Reider) had to settle for eleventh in a fast 800m race, stopping the clock at 2:00.55.

In the non-Diamond Race event, Eilidh Doyle (Malcolm Arnold) geared up for next week’s final event in Brussels with a confident display in the 400m hurdles. The Olympic 4x400m relay bronze medallist battled hard in the home straight to finish third in a time of 54.55 behind the American winner, Shamier Little.

In the earlier women's 400m wheelchair race, Eden Rainbow-Cooper (Jenny Archer) won in 1:04.30 with compatriot Lizzie Williams 3rd in 1:06.14.

Highlights from the Zurich Diamond League can be found on BBC One on Saturday 3 September at 13:10-14:15.