3rd July 2014

Dasaolu Back With A Bang At The Lausanne Diamond League

3 July 2014

James Dasaolu (coach: Steve Fudge) got his 2014 outdoor season off to a flying start as he streaked away to win the ‘B’ 100m in 10.03 (-0.1m/s) at leg seven of the 2014 Diamond League in Lausanne.

In one of the first races in the programme, Dasaolu lined up alongside Michael Frater of Jamaica, his first race back after injuring his hamstring at the Sainsbury’s Indoor Grand Prix back in February. The 9.91 man made up for lost time, tearing out of the blocks to record a clear victory with a 10.03 clocking, his fastest ever season’s opener.

“I’m pleased. It’s a starting point for me to begin my season, and I’m just happy to get a mark on the board! It went pretty well.

“After 10 or 20 metres as I came out of my drive phase I was by myself, so I had to just try and relax and not fight for the line, which is hard when you’re out by yourself. I just gave it my best and I’m happy with a season’s opener of 10.03.”

Dasaolu’s next race is the Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix on the 11-12 July, where he is likely to take on Sainsbury’s British champion Dwain Chambers (Rana Reider), 9.96 man Chijindu Ujah (Jones Tawiah-Dodoo) and World Indoor champion Richard Kilty (Reider). Of that prospect, Dasaolu commented:

“It’s a Diamond League, in the Commonwealth stadium and it’s going to be great. I love competing on home soil and I just can’t wait to compete against the rest of the world and the other Brits.”

Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford (Tawiah-Dodoo) produced the best series of his career to date, but ultimately had to settle for second place in Lausanne thanks to an 8.19m effort in the second round. In the end it took an 8.31m leap by American Jeff Henderson to beat Rutherford, who jumped 8.11, 8.19, 8.07, 8.14, 7.99, 8.12, which shows what terrific shape he is in.

“It was a pretty good competition – I felt like I had something big in me tonight. It was fantastic conditions, especially for the first three rounds when we had the sun on us and the competition started to heat up. But then the American new guy comes along and pops out a big distance and I genuinely thought, right I’ve got to respond to this and get something out there. But there’s a few things I’m trying to tidy up, which didn’t come together for me, but it’s great to be consistent with so many jumps over eight metres.”

Fresh off the back of winning the Sainsbury’s British Championships last weekend, Lynsey Sharp (Reider) did what she has been threatening to do all season, break the magical two minute barrier for the first time in her young career. The Scot sat in the pack as the pacer went tearing through 400m in 54.9 seconds, with Sharp hitting the bell in 58.0 seconds. Running the whole way on the outside, the reigning European Champion closed strongly to finish fifth in 1.59.67 and go top of the 2014 British rankings.

Sharp was all smiles post-race, and commented:

“I’m really, really happy! I said I had it [sub two] in the back of my mind, but I was a bit tired from the British Champs and I only found out last minute that I was coming here.

“The pace was meant to be 58 [seconds at 400m] but then they changed it to 56 a couple of hours ago so I had to change my race plan. I knew to just sit in the middle and then just race it on the second lap, which is what I did!

“It’s gone from quite easily having no season at all to it being a really busy season, so I just can’t wait for it to continue.”

The final event of the evening was the women’s 4x100m trophy, which saw the best seven teams in Europe go head to head. Nobody could stop European Team Champions the Netherlands though, who set both meeting and national records to take victory in 42.40. The British quartet of Asha Phillip (Christine Bowmaker), Anyika Onoura (Reider), Bianca Williams (Lloyd Cowan) and Desiree Henry (Reider) combined well to clock 42.96 in fourth.

Afterwards, Williams said on behalf of the team:

“We’re a good team so we’ll keep the work up and break the national record.”

Rutherford aside, the only other British athlete in action in the field was Steve Lewis (Dan Pfaff) and he backed up his win in Birmingham last weekend with a 5.47m clearance to finish eighth, not without three very close failures at 4.62m. Fourth at the Sainsbury’s British Championships last weekend, Rhys Williams (Adrian Thomas) improved by three hundredth’s to clock 50.30 and finish eighth.

Desiree Henry (Reider) and Louise Bloor (Toni Minichiello) were the first British athletes in action at the Stade de la Pontaise in the ‘B’ 100m, and it was junior Henry who ran a strong race to finish second in 11.40 (-0.1m/s). The double European Junior medallist was pleased with her run, as she looks to secure selection for the IAAF World Junior Championships in Eugene, Oregon later this month. Bloor was eighth, just outside her season’s best with a 11.66 clocking.

The u20 women’s 1500m was another race to feature a pair of Brits; Amy Griffiths (Mick Woods), who has already secured selection for the IAAF World Junior Championships, and Bobby Clay (Peter Mullervy) who is currently chasing selection. In typically gutsy fashion it was Clay who took up the early running, and by 800m she had a 10m lead, which only grew over the final 700m. Her winning time of 4.18.27 was just outside her personal best, but she was pleased with the manor of her victory. Griffiths, getting her second taste of Diamond League action, was fourth in 4.21.71.

The Diamond Race now head for Paris this Saturday, where British Athletics will again be providing full coverage. After that, it’s back to the UK for the Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix, for which tickets are still on sale here: http://www.britishathletics.org.uk/british-athletics-series/sainsburys-glasgow-grand-prix/

For full results of tonight’s meeting, head to: http://diamondleague-lausanne.com/en/Live-StartlistsResults/Overview/

Also, if you’d like to hear what the British athletes had to say post-race, head to British Athletics TV now: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLuOblQ300CO9wlNngFCH96m529IrLgByN