10th August 2022
RECORDS FALL FOR WIGHTMAN AND BIRD AT MONACO DIAMOND LEAGUE
Jake Wightman (coach: Geoff Wightman, club: Edinburgh) sealed a superb Scottish 1000m record as he won at the Wanda Diamond League in Monaco, while Lizzie Bird (Pat McCurry, Shaftesbury Barnet) rounded out the evening with a ground-breaking performance to move fourth on the European all-time list in the women’s 3000m steeplechase.
In the clash of the some of the world’s top 800m athletes vs the 1500m world champion Jake Wightman, it was the Briton who came out on top as he moved to ninth on the world all-time list over 1000m. His time of 2:13.88 also put him third on the UK all-time list with only Sebastian Coe and Steve Cram having gone quicker.
The race was a strange one as the pacemaker Erik Sowinski went through 400m in 51 seconds with only Marco Arop (CAN) and Jake Wightman going with the quicker pace, with the rest of the field running more conservatively a fair distance further back. Arop, the world 800m bronze medallist, sat on the shoulder of the pacemaker with Wightman isolated around 15 metres behind at the bell. However, the Commonwealth bronze medallist wound it up on the final lap and overtook the Canadian on the home straight to bag the meeting record and world lead.
He said afterwards, “I did not really know I was in shape to do this today. It was just very very hard. I have run on my own. I knew Arop is a little bit quicker on the home straight so I had to judge the right moment. I had to stay strong to be able to catch him.
“This is a really nice step towards Munich. The main difference between the 1500 and 1000m is just the speed of the first couple of laps. You go from running 55s to 52. That was a good progression towards the European Championships.”
Commonwealth Games silver medallist Lizzie Bird took nearly ten seconds off her personal best as she revised the British record in the women’s 3000m steeplechase in an outstanding race. Bird ran the race of her life as she recorded 9:07.87 to finish third overall as she rewrote the history books.
Her national record had been beaten at the World Championships where Aimee Pratt set a time of 9:15.64, but the Olympic finalist improved her best from 9:17.79 after a sublime display.
Bird kept with the pace set by America’s Emma Coburn and sat on the shoulders of the Ethiopian duo, eventual winner Werkuha Getachew and Zerfe Wondemagegn. After the final barrier, she still sat in fourth but a push to the line saw her outsprint Coburn to complete a memorable evening.
Commonwealth bronze medallist Daryll Neita (Marco Airale, Cambridge Harriers) scorched to another quality time of 10.91 (0.4) for sixth place in the women’s 100m. World champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (JAM) set a world leading time of 10.62, which was also a meeting record, to win the very quick race.
There was an encouraging performance from Jemma Reekie (Andy Young, Kilbarchan) who followed her fifth-place finish over 1500m at the Commonwealth Games with a solid 1:58.68 clocking over 800m. She went with the leading duo of Natoya Goule (JAM) and Sage Hurta (USA) as they embarked on the final lap, and although she got overhauled by Olivia Baker (USA) in the final 100m, the Scottish athlete prepared for the Europeans with a solid time at the Stade Louis II.