10th July 2010
Aviva British Grand Prix
10 July 2010
Warm muggy conditions greeted spectators and competitors at the Gateshead International Stadium for the Aviva British Grand Prix this afternoon, and there were some world class performances across the board as well as excellent performances from Barcelona-bound Brits.
Key results included a superb head to head between Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell, superb personal bests for Mo Farah and Chris Thompson in the 5000m and popular home victories for Lisa Dobriskey and Phillips Idowu in the 1500m and triple jump.
In the afternoon’s closing event, Mo Farah (Ricky Simms) and Chris Thompson (John Nuttall) ran impressive personal best times in a world class 5000m field that set off with intent.
Farah chipped away at his PB by reducing it to 13:05.66 for seventh place whilst Thompson took a sledgehammer of 14 seconds off his previous PB reducing it to 13:11.52 in 11th.
With Vincent Chepkok taking an impressive victory in 13:00.20 it was a quality ending to the afternoon’s action and put both Farah and Thompson in the driving seat for strong performances when they reach Barcelona for the European Championships later this month.
Afterwards, Farah said:
“It was alright, it was a hard race and a really strong field. It wasn’t too bad but my legs felt a little heavy and I couldn’t quite change pace, but it was ok.”
Earlier, the men’s 400m was stacked with GB interest with Martyn Rooney (Nick Dakin), Michael Bingham (Ken Harnden) and hurdler David Greene (Malcolm Arnold) amongst those lined up. As it was, the race win went to Jamaica’s Ricardo Chambers in 44.99 secs just ahead of Bingham with a season’s best of 45.08 and Rooney in third with 45.44 secs.
Afterward, Rooney commented:
“I was just really sluggish and it was a bad race. I was in a confident mood coming into the race but I’ll have to learn from this and not make the mistake again,” he said.
“I’m still hoping to race in Paris because I think it’s important to get another race in. I need to race against the best guys to get better. I should have taken advantage today.”
World heptathlon and pentathlon champion Jessica Ennis (Toni Minichiello) used the Aviva British Grand Prix to mark her return from the illness that ruled her out of the Aviva UK Championships just two weeks before.
Lining up against a world class 200m field, she finished in eighth in 23.55 secs behind fellow GB athletes Emily Freeman (Brian Hall) and Abi Oyepitan (Tony Lester), Freeman fairing the best out of the threesome with 23.34 to equal her season’s best and confirm a solid upward curve since injury.
Bianca Knight of the USA took the race win in a swift 22.71 secs, but Ennis was disappointed with her 200m effort:
“I’m a bit disappointed to be honest. I’ve missed a bit of work and I need to catch up a bit,” she admitted.
“I think it’s going to take a little bit to get some shape back, but by the time I get to Barcelona I should be ready to go.”
Onto her next event – the women’s javelin – and it was back to her former self when Ennis finished seventh with an impressive 46.15m, close to her best for the event.
“I was disappointed with my 200m but pleased with my javelin,” she said. “I’m feeling fit and healthy but I just need to get a bit more work done.”
South African Sunette Viljoen was first with 64.32m, whilst Laura Whittingham was sixth in 51.90m.
The men’s 100m promised to be a special affair and there were hints of what was to come when USA’s Tyson Gay coasted to a semi final victory of 9.96 secs. With Powell advancing with ease to the final from his semi, it look set to be a close race and the two sprinters did not disappoint.
With Powell blasting away from the blocks and leading through to 85m, Gay suddenly moved ahead in the last few strides to take the win in 9.94 secs to Powell’s 9.96, giving the stadium a real spectacle of competitive sprinting.
Gay was pleased with his close run victory:
“I feel good. He’s one of my favourite competitors and I managed to get him today. I really had to stretch to the finish line and he didn’t see me coming today so I got the victory,” said Gay.
“The hamstring is still tight and that is something I am going to have to work on. But I can race this way all the time. I’m determined. The wind maybe affected the time slightly but not much. As for Bolt – I know he’s ready. He’s coming back from injury but he’ll be prepared.”
Top Brit in the sprint-fest was Marlon Devonish who set a season’s best of 10.29 in his semi final to show he is coming into great sprint form in perfect time for the 4x100m at the European Championships.
In the women’s final it was an expected victory for American Carmelita Jeter who still holds the title of fastest woman alive. She confirmed her star status in holding off the challenge of Trinidad’s Kelly-Ann Baptiste with 10.95 to Baptiste’s 11.0 secs.
On the field, Phillips Idowu (Aston Moore) overcame a world class triple jump field to take the win with a third round leap of 17.38m ahead of Grenada’s Randy Lewis with 17.29m.
It was a solid series for the world champion who surpassed 17m with four out of his five counting jumps:
“It’s coming together at the right time,” nodded a happy Idowu soon after.
“I’ve had a couple of weeks with a virus and now I’ve got a few weeks to the Europeans, and it’s been great to come here and win and get great support from the crowd.
“Today I managed to put together something that looks like a run up, and now it’s looking good for Barcelona where hopefully I can bring back another gold medal for you guys.”
The men’s and women’s 1500m races took place in quick succession with mixed fortunes for the Brits. In the men’s race, top GB finisher was Andy Baddeley (Andy Hobdell) in fifth with 3:34.50, although Tom Lancashire (Norman Poole) was in close proximity with 3:34.87 for seventh – Kenya’s Asbel Kiprop the winner in 3:33.34. Further back in the field, European Junior 800m silver medallist Niall Brooks achieved a significant personal best of 3:38.62, benefiting massively from the high class field.
In the women’s race there was a home win for the Gateshead crowd to get behind with Lisa Dobriskey (George Gandy) demonstrating her world class abilities with a strong victory in 4:03.69. Fellow Brits Hannah England (Bud Baldaro), Helen Clitheroe (Trevor Painter) and Steph Twell (Mick Woods) finished in third, fourth and sixth respectively.
Dobriskey was pleased with a strong week under her belt following her 4:01 clocking in Lausanne just two days earlier:
“I was checking my lap times and I felt really strong and really comfortable. I thought it would be a bit of a test after racing in Lausanne on Thursday and when it went off so fast I thought I’d just use what I had,” she said.
“I went quite early but I felt strong and I wanted to push on and make the most of it. We’d gone so far to run a really honest race and solid time and I thought it would be a shame not to keep that momentum going. I knew that even if I was beaten I’d at least have a quick time.”
In the women’s 800m, Jenny Meadows (Trevor Painter) made a welcome return to action after withdrawing from the Aviva European Trials with a niggling injury and although she wasn’t able to make an impact on the lead positions, appeared to get through the two lap race without complaint.
Although the 2:01.07 for sixth was down on Meadows’ seasons best, fellow Brits Marilyn Okoro (Ayo Falola) and Vicky Griffiths achieved season’s bests of 2:01.55 and 2:01.67 for 7th and 9th places respectively. USA’s Alysia Johnson took the race win with 1:59.84.
“It was a really good field," Meadows said. "When I looked at it on paper I thought, wow. And it was a really good race,” she revealed.
“I kind of feel as though I am starting my season again because I’ve had nearly four weeks out. I ran the heat and semi in the Trials and they were only a slow time so I’m just delighted that I could warm up without any pain.
“It’s a bit frustrating because I know at my best I would have won a race like that, but I got a lot from that. I almost wish I had one more week to Barcelona but we always want more. I think the heats and semis will be good for me. And the calf is perfect, I’m so happy I almost don’t mind about the race, even in front of a home crowd.”
In the men’s 110m hurdles, Andy Turner (Lloyd Cowan) managed to exact revenge over trials victor William Sharman (Jerzy Maciukiewicz), although the race win went to Jamaica’s Dwight Thomas in 13.38 secs. Turner worked his way through the field to dip for second in 13.41 ahead of Sharman in third with 13.43.
In the 3000m steeplechase, Brit Luke Gunn took advantage of the quality field on show and achieved the fastest time by a British athlete this year when finishing 4th in 8:28.29. Kenyan Linus Chumba took the win in 8:19.72 to take the maximum Diamond League points.
In the women’s pole vault, Kate Dennison’s best height of 4.41m earned her fifth place in a competition won by Svetlana Feofanova who vaulted a season’s best of 4.71m and beat pre-event favourite Brazilian Fabiana Murer.
In addition to Sunday’s Disability Athletics Challenge – to be held in the stadium and featuring world class Paralympic fields – there were three events as part of Saturday’s main Grand Prix programme.
In the F32/51 Club throw, local hero Stephen Miller (Ros Miller) took a comprehensive victory with a best throw of 30.49m ahead of compatriot Thomas Green (Ken Green). It was the first of the three well supported Paralympic classification events during Saturday’s Aviva British Grand Prix.
The second saw Beijing Paralympic silver medallist Libby Clegg (Tom Crick) win the combined T11/12/36 and 37 100m race in 13.25 secs, whilst the third was a demonstration of world class athleticism by T54 World 1500m record holder Shelly Woods as she raced away from the field to take the win over her world record event in 3:42.86.
Other key GB performances on the afternoon included:
Despite rousing home support from the Gateshead crowd next to the runway, long jumpers Chris Tomlinson (Frank Attoh) and Greg Rutherford (Dan Pfaff) were sixth and seventh in their competition with 7.80m and 7.70m respectively. Victory went to Australian Fabrice Lapierre who flew out to 8.20m for maximum Diamond League points.
The women’s 400m saw Shericka Williams of Jamaica take first place in 50.44 secs with GB’s former world silver medallist Nicola Sanders (Tony Lester) finishing in seventh with 52.89secs. Meanwhile the one lap hurdles was a strong test for GB pairing of Perri Shakes Drayton (Chris Zah) and Eilidh Child (Stuart Hogg) who finished 4th and 6th with 55.67 and 56.13 – Jamaican Kaliese Spencer winning with 54.10.
In the afternoon’s penultimate event – the men’s 200m – Marlon Devonish was top British finisher in sixth place with 20.68, the race win going to USA’s Walter Dix in 20.26, just ahead of Wallace Spearmon in second with 20.29.
Over the sprint hurdles it was victory to World Indoor Champion Lolo Jones of the USA, whose smooth hurdling took her to a 12.79 victory ahead of compatriot Danielle Carruthers with 12.98. Louise Hazel (Fuzz Ahmed) was 7th in 13.61.
Brett Morse finished seventh in a world class discus competition where Polish winner Piotr Malachowski set a UK All Comers record of 69.83m to take maximum Diamond League points. It was a similar story for compatriot Eden Francis who was eighth in a quality shot put field where Belarussian Nadezhda Ostapchuk took first with a Meeting Record of 20.57m ahead of New Zealander Valerie Vili on 20.06m – Francis putting a best attempt of 15.11m.
In a windy men’s high jump Samson Oni was top British finisher with a best height of 2.23m. The event was won by Sweden’s Linus Thornblad with a 2.29m clearance.