6th June 2019
ASHER-SMITH, MUIR AND POZZI RUNNERS-UP IN ROME
A host of British athletes were in action at the IAAF Diamond League in Rome on Thursday evening with second place finishes for Dina Asher-Smith, Laura Muir and Andrew Pozzi in their respective events.
There was another world class performance from Laura Muir (Dundee Hawkhill; Andy Young) who was second in the 1500m behind 2015 world champion Genzebe Dibaba. 3:56.73 is a season’s best for Muir, the European champion, as she continues her stellar form after winning in Stockholm last week.
After a coming together in the opening exchanges left Muir almost on the deck, she composed herself to fight her way back into a highly entertaining contest. Overhauling Gudaf Tsegay down the back straight, she reigned in Dibaba on the bend, but the Ethiopian had that extra acceleration to the line, winning in 3:56.28.
In sixth place, Eilish McColgan (Dundee Hawkhill; Liz Nuttall) moved through the field very well, crossing the line in 4:02.29, inside the IAAF World Championships standard, a week after doing the same in the 5000m.
Following her excellent form over 200m so far this season, Dina Asher-Smith (Blackheath & Bromley; John Blackie) turned her attention to the 100m in Rome, clocking the second fastest time of the year in 10.94 (+0.6) behind Elaine Thompson who won in an impressive 10.89 to clock the world lead.
Asher-Smith got out well, applying the pressure on the field before the Olympic champion showed her class to overpower her rivals and take her first Diamond League victory of the season.
The European champion, who won the 200m at both the Doha and Stockholm Diamond League meetings, said afterwards:
“The race wasn’t what I expected, and I had a really fast start which is really good. Opening the season with sub 11 seconds isn’t bad at all, especially when I’m still feeling a little rusty. Actually, if I can run 10.94 when I’m feeling rusty, it’s not bad at all.
“The rest of the season, I’m going to continue to listen to my coach, and train hard so I perform well and the World Championships later this year.”
After a flying start, Andrew Pozzi (Stratford; Santiago Antunez) maintained his form throughout the contest, leading for most of the race, but ultimately the fast-finishing Sergey Shubenkov (ANA) taking the victory in the final few strides by 0.03 seconds, However, second place for Pozzi in 13.26 (+0.4) was his best Diamond League placing since Paris in 2017, and a confidence boosting display.
Andrew Butchart (Central) ran impressively in the 5000m, clocking his second fastest ever time over the distance, having only gone quicker in the Rio Olympic Games final. Crossing the line in 13:09.33 – his PB stands at 13:08.61 – for eighth, was another very strong showing by the Scottish athlete who had already run inside the IAAF World Championships standard at the Payton Jordan Invitational last month.
There was a personal best for Zak Seddon (Bracknell; Jeff Seddon) in the 3000m Steeplechase, recording a time of 8:21.28, shaving a huge five seconds off his previous best. His previous best stood at 8:26.51 from a meeting in Germany last year, however, the Rome track provided him with the race of his career, placing 12th and securing a World Championships qualifying standard.
Over in the 200m, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (Newham & Essex Beagles; Lance Brauman) was seventh on 20.68 (+0.7) from lane nine. American Michael Norman won in a world lead and meeting record of 19.70.
In the women’s long jump, Shara Proctor (Birchfield Harriers; Rana Reider) and Lorraine Ugen (Thames Valley; Shawn Jackson) placed outside the top eight so did not progress to three further jumps. After their first three efforts, Proctor’s best was 6.30m which left her in ninth, while Ugen’s 6.23m saw her finish in 12th. Germany’s Malaika Mihambo won the competition in a world lead and PB of 7.07m.
Full results here
Highlights of the Rome Diamond League will be on BBC Two on Saturday 8 June between 13:00-14:00.