Schippers beats Felix in 200m, Lavillenie again tops at Diamond League

Brussels, Sep 12 (IANS) Newly-crowned world 200 metres champion Dafne Schippers won over Allyson Felix in the half-lap race here on Friday while pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie claimed his sixth Diamond trophy.

The women’s 200 metres race on Friday turned out to be the biggest clash of the IAAF Diamond League season finale as Dutch sprinter Schippers burst in the last 50 metres to clock 22.12 seconds, beating American veteran Felix to the second place in 22.22 seconds, reports Xinhua.

“I felt strong coming off the curve, so I gave it all the power I had,” said Schippers, 23. “You never know what the others might do, but I felt strong and thought I could take the win.”

However, the 29-year-old Felix, who triumphed over the 400 metres event in Beijing, won her first Diamond Race since 2010.

France’s Lavillenie, the only athlete in the world to have won the Diamond Race every year since the inception of the series in 2010, recovered from his disappointing performance in the Beijing World Championships by clearing 5.95 metres to secure the gold medal and another Diamond trophy.

World champion Shawn Barber from Canada took the silver on 5.85.

The finish in the men’s 100 metres was even closer than at the World Championships, seeing Justin Gatlin came out on top with the absence of Usain Bolt.

Qatar’s Femi Ogunode, the Asian record-holder drew level with Gatlin in the closing stages, but the world silver medallist got the verdict in a photo-finish. Both athletes were given the same time of 9.98 seconds as just 0.005 separated them. France’s Jimmy Vicaut was third in 9.99 seconds.

Gatlin later withdrew from the non-Diamond Race 200 metres where Ogunode take victory in an Asian record of 19.97 seconds.

World bronze medallist Jeffery Gibson came through strongly after the final barrier in the men’s 400 metres hurdles to pass Bershawn Jackson from the United States, winning in 48.72 seconds. Jackson was a close second in 48.76 seconds, but the points earned in this race was enough to give him the Diamond trophy.

In the women’s discus throw, Sandra Perkovic, the dominant Croatian, won the fourth consecutive Diamond race with the sixth victory of the season. The 25-year-old runner-up at the Beijing worlds, claimed the title with 67.50 metres.

Caterine Ibarguen also won both the game title and the Diamond League in the women’s triple jump. The world champion from Columbia marked 14.60 metres in her last attempt to beat Hanna Knyazheva-Minenko of Israel to the second place.

In the men’s event, world champion Christian Taylor notched up his fourth Diamond race victory. He was tied with arch rival Pedro Pablo Pichardo after the first round with both leaping 17.06 metres. The Cuban didn’t improve with his next two jumps and then retired from the competition at the halfway stage. Taylor improved to 17.59 metres with his penultimate jump to secure the gold medal.

In the men’s shot put, Joe Kovacs of the United States, the newly-crowned world champion in Beijing, finished on the third with 21.35 metres, just enough for him to secure the Diamond trophy ahead of David Storl of Germany with two points. Tom Walsh from New Zealand took the gold medal with 21.39 metres.

World champion Maria Kuchina’s victory in the high jump gave her eight points in the Diamond race, but it wasn’t quite enough to catch Spain’s Ruth Beitia in the overall standings.

Kuchina cleared every height on her first attempt including her winning mark of 2.01 metres, equaling her personal best.

Tero Pitkamaki finished comfortably ahead of the two men who beat him at the recent world championships, winning the javelin with a second-round throw of 87.37 metres and becoming the first Finnish athlete to win a Diamond trophy.

World champion Julius Yego from Kenya threw 83.82 metres in round three to finish fourth, after passing his remaining attempts.

The cool night saw three world leading marks in the track events. Tunisia’s Habiba Ghribi clocked 9:05.36 minutes in the women’s 3000 metres steeplechase, toppling her pervious leading time of 9:11.28 minutes. It was Virginia Nyambura of Kenya who won the Diamond race.

Another Kenyan Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon grabbed the gold in the women’s one mile race with a new African record and world leading time of 4:16.71. However, it was not enough to topple Sifan Hassan from the Netherlands at the Diamond race standings.

Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha finished in 12:53.98, the best mark of the season, at the men’s 5000 metres event, winning both the game title and the Diamond trophy.

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