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Dobriskey confirms world class form

31 August 2009

With 32 World Championship medallists in attendance, crowds at the Aviva British Grand Prix at Gateshead International Stadium Monday 31st August were treated to truly top class competition from athletes keen to confirm or avenge performances from the Berlin showpiece.

Performances of the day went to world-record-holder and Olympic champion Barbora Spotakova, who triumphed in the women’s javelin with a stadium record of 65.57m, World title holders Phillips Idowu and American Dwight Phillips took respective wins in the men’s triple jump and long jump.

World 1500m silver medallist Lisa Dobriskey continued her impressive season leading a highly talented line-up home while Tyson Gay took advantage of Usain Bolt’s absence to prosper in the 100m.

In the men’s long jump, GB & NI’s top two Chris Tomlinson and Greg Rutherford had another chance to take on the newly crowned world champion Dwight Phillips (USA) in the first event of the day. Phillips, who took the world title with a leap of 8.54m, continued on his world domination campaign taking charge on the sand pit with a best leap of 8.39m (0.6m/s)

Phillips: “It feels good to be World Champion and I can take the pressure. People will always try to beat the Champ but I can live with that. My motivation was that I want to be World Champion for as long as I can so as long as I am fit I will not stop trying.” Tomlinson was 5th with a best of 7.93m (+1.0m/s), whereas Rutherford’s best was 7.80m (+1.7m/s) for 6th.

New sprint hurdles personality William Sharman (Belgrave), who recently gained worthy recognition finishing fourth in the final of the 110m hurdles in Berlin, prospered in the 110m hurdles following a good start. Running alongside World bronze medallist David Payne (USA) for much of the race, the pair came through to the line neck and neck. Payne sneaked the win by 0.01 finishing on 13.60 (-2.8m/s) while Sharman continued his great end of season form in 13.61.

Sharman: “I can’t be disappointed with that, it’s a long season and to come here and finish just behind an Olympic silver medallist. The atmosphere was great. It’s onwards and upwards for me now.”

Favourite for the win and newly crowned World Champion Brigitte Foster- Hilton confirmed early tips by taking the lead early on in the Women’s 100m hurdles. Following a solid start, the Jamaican ran strongly with only Perdita Felicien (CAN) challenging on her shoulder in second.

Foster Hilton took it to the line in 12.88 (-1.9m/s) Felicien following with 12.95. Returning World heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis (City of Sheffield) won the British battle, on her Gateshead stadium debut, finishing in fifth with 13.28. Ennis said: “I was really impressed with the turnout and the atmosphere was great. I have ended my 2009 season now, ready to take a break and get back into a hard winter’s training in October.”

After a steady start in the Women’s 800m, American 1500m specialist and World Championships 5th placer Christy Wurth-Thomas took control of the race and confirmed her dominance striding out at the bell. Returning 800m bronze medallist Jenny Meadows (Wigan AC) responded calmly to the increased pace, sticking to her race plan and executing her trademark late surge on the last bend.

However it was Aviva UK Champion Jemma Simpson (Newquay & Par) who took advantage of the home straight lactic, making a dramatic last minute play for a top three finish. She powered through the last 60m to take second place while Meadows settled for third. Wurth-Thomas took the win in 2:01.22, Simpson 2:01.89, Meadows 2:02.15.

In the women’s 100m Carmelita Jeter (USA) took the win with 5m room for manoeuvre. World bronze medallist Debbie Ferguson- McKenzie (BAH) was closest in contention making a bid for glory in a strong start. She was forced to settle for second as the advantage was gained early on by Jeter and held to the line in 11.07secs (-0.9m/s). Jeter: “I knew I had to execute a good race with some of the women here. I love coming to Gateshead.”

In a men’s 400m line up including World Champion LaShawn Merritt (USA) and the majority of the GB&NI silver medal winning 4 x 400m relay team the race was set to be highly competitive.

Leading at 200m, Merritt continued in the same fashion for the rest of the race always one step ahead of his closest rival Martyn Rooney (Croydon).  Rooney showed further progress on his return to fitness, running well on the inside and making Merritt work until the dying stages. Although a win was never in doubt for Merritt, who finished first in 45.10, it was a good challenge by Rooney who hung onto second in 45.47 followed closely by Angelo Taylor (USA) in 45.50.

Rooney said: “It was good to make a race of it for once. It’s been a hard season for me by at least I was competitive today.” Merritt: “It’s a little windy out there so I was just having fun. I just came from Zurich where I ran 44.2, so it’s a little tough today. But it was good to come and give the crowd a good show.”

In highly competitive men’s 800m, amidst tussles within the pack, it was Nicholas Symmonds (USA) who made it across the line first against a tough field in 1:47.30.  At the bell, Spanish runner Eugenio Barrios who had done a lot of work making his way on the outside of the pack was pushed out of the race at the bell.

A tight pack with 200m to go, GB & NI’s Michael Rimmer (Liverpool & Pembroke) held second with Geoffrey Rono of Kenya in the lead. Symmonds and emerging British talent Joe Thomas (Cardiff) pushed their way into contention on the home straight making it a fight to the last moment. Rono was forced into second 1:47.43 and Thomas third with 1:47.44.

It was Shawn Crawford’s (USA) tight bend run and transition into the straight that gave him the edge over the high quality field in men’s 200m. He came through in 20.80 followed by fellow countryman Wallace Spearmon. Ambitious Crawford said: “We have to train and compete in all weathers so Gateshead had no worries for me. My body feels good but my mind wants to go back home to the US and figure out a way to beat Bolt.”

In the inevitable African domination of the women’s 3000m it was a Kenyan triple lead by world 5000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot who brought the field home in 8:53.04. Teammates Linet Masai, 10,000m world title holder, and Grace Momanyi joined her in quick succession 8:54.86 and 8:56.37 respectively. Britain’s Laura Kenney ran impressively against an experienced field keeping her race to finish in fourth with 8:59.41.

Andy Baddeley (Harrow) gave a valiant performance reminiscent of his 2008 season in the men’s 1500m, finishing in second to eventual winner Leonel Manzano (USA). Although the pack split late on in the race Baddeley kept himself in a favourable position throughout and made his extra strength known on the home straight. Manzano took the win in 3:41.10 with Baddeley just falling shy in 3:41.24.

World 200m champion Allyson Felix, who retained the title she won in Osaka in superb style, adding a 4x400m relay gold to her haul at the end of the competition in Berlin, took an easy win in far from desirable conditions in the Women’s 200m contest.

Lining up against formidable opponents such as Lauryn Williams (USA), World finalist Emily Freeman (Wakefield) and Laverne Jones (ISV). Felix didn’t falter finding a sure straight path to victory in 23.13 with Freeman taking second in 23.39.

Olympic champion and world record holder Barbora Spotakova triumphed in the women’s javelin despite only throwing twice. The Czech Republic star’s superb winning effort of 65.57m came on her second attempt and was good enough to take the title. Followed by Christins Obergfoll (GER) and Kim Mickle (AUS) with 62.02m and 59.51 respectively.

Spotakova said: “This is my first time here in Gateshead so I am pleased that I won. The distance was good which shows that I am still in good shape. I want to do the world athletics final as I have won the last three times. Last year I broke the world record so a repeat this year would be nice.”

With the world record holder, world and Olympic champion Steve Hooker (AUS) absent, the men’s pole vault competition was left wide open for the eager field in Gateshead. In undesirable conditions the bar wasn’t pushed to world class heights with Derek Miles (USA) taking the win at a best of 5.70m. Viktor Chistyakov (RUS) also made the bar leaving him in second place with a season best.

World silver medallist Lisa Dobriskey (Ashford) confirmed her status as a truly world class athlete as she won the women’s 1500m in 4:13.60, running her usual tactical race with even more vigour and confidence than pre-world championships.

Aviva UK Champion Charlene Thomas (Wakefield) took an early lead running confidently, the result of fine form in 2009. Dobriskey, who had manoeuvred herself into favourable position at the bell, moved up to challenge Erin Donohue (USA) who had taken the lead with one lap to go. At 200m Dobriskey gained the edge, powering through despite a challenge by Hannah England (Oxford) who was pipped to second place on the line by Sonja Roman (SLO). Roman 4:14.41 and England 4:14:45.

Dobriskey said: “Fantastic. I was so worried before. I didn’t want to come here and finish second or third, I wanted to celebrate properly and give the crowd something to cheer for. It’s been crazy since Berlin. I don’t think it’s had a chance to sink in yet. It was amazing to run so fast in Zurich and it’s phenomenal to be just behind Kelly Holmes on the UK all-time list.”

Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu (Newham & Essex Beagles) took a win in the 400m win in a positive end to her British track season. Successful starts from Debbie Dunn (USA) and Shana Cox (USA) gifted them towards top three finishing but Ohuruogu had the edge over her closest rival Dunn finishing first in 50.94.

In a potential Anglo-American battle American Bernard Lagat took to the track in a race which Brit Mo Farah (Newham & Essex Beagles) had hoped to prosper. However Farah made his move with four laps to go but fell on the immediate bend, the result of a scuffle within the pack. Although he made the ground back and held a place at the back of the leading pack, the added exertion was his downfall and he finished in ninth with 7:47.02.

Kiptoo pushed off with 200m to go on the second lap, followed by Moses Kipsiro and Lagat. At the bell the race was still up for grabs with six men still in favourable positions. The win was taken by Moses Kipsiro (UGA) in 7:35.69 from Lagat who tried to make move on home straight but seemed happy to settle for second in 7:36.68

Track rivalry resumed in the men's 100m with World silver medallist Tyson Gay taking the win in 10.15m (-0.2m/s) followed by Kim Collins and Marc Burns both in 10.44 dead. Gay: “It wasn’t about times today, it was about winning a race. The wind was strong so at around 60m I didn’t want to push too much as I knew I had the race in hand.”

In the final event of the day Phillips Idowu (Belgrave) cemented his world title with a winning leap of 17.32m (2.0m/s).

“That was a good way to celebrate. I just wanted to win today. I haven’t jumped for a couple fo weeks and I usually do badly after a major championships but I guess things are different this year. It was nice to come out and put in a couple of decent jumps. I’m happy. I’m glad I gave the crowd some entertainment- I kept it till the last couple of rounds and the best jump in the last round.”