30th June 2022
UGEN AND ASHER-SMITH SEAL VICTORIES AT STOCKHOLM DIAMOND LEAGUE
Lorraine Ugen (coach: Dwight Phillips, club: Thames Valley) and Dina Asher-Smith (John Blackie, Blackheath and Bromley) both sealed victory in the final Wanda Diamond League meeting before the series takes a break for the World Athletics Championships next month, in Stockholm, Sweden.
Under pressure, world indoor bronze medallist Lorraine Ugen leapt 6.81m to go into the lead in round five of the women’s long jump, after sitting in seventh previously. As she headed into the final three on the sixth and final jump, the Briton went first and although there was no improvement by her, there was none from Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk (UKR) or Khaddi Sagnia (SWE) either so she earned a memorable Diamond League victory.
She commented, “I did leave it late today with my fifth jump but that tends to be my way. I do best as I build the pressure on myself as the competition builds. I need to know it is now or never almost. I did not feel any extra pressure on the final jump as I was in the lead although going first is hard.
“I am going to get some good training in now before the Worlds and I really think I can get on the podium there. It is great to be going on the back of this win. I am building nicely on my indoor success and feel I can do well in Oregon.”
Meanwhile Jazmin Sawyers (Lance Brauman, City of Stoke) finished in eight position after jumping 6.39m.
Dina Asher-Smith oozed class as she earned a superb win in the women’s 200m, holding off the charge of Mujinga Kambundji (SUI). Both athletes were given the same time and faced a long wait to have the result confirmed, but the reigning world champion earned Diamond League victory number two of the season in style.
The Briton got off to a brilliant start and led as she came around the bend and held her form well to keep the fast-finishing Swiss athlete at bay. Both athletes were given the time of 22.37 (0.1).
Reece Prescod (Marvin Rowe, Enfield and Haringey) was second in the men’s 100m as he was beaten by reigning Commonwealth champion Akani Simbine (RSA). The South African was always in charge of the race as he won in 10.02, with the Briton finishing strongly to follow in 10.15 (-0.5).
He said afterwards, “It was hard after a big weekend at the (UK) Champs in my legs. I have done a lot of races over the last few months, so I need to rest up now and get ready for the worlds. The conditions were good today and the stadium atmosphere was great, but I was tired. I have a big few weeks now so I will rest and recover and be ready to go in Oregon.”
Keely Hodgkinson (Trevor Painter, Leigh) was embroiled in a fascinating battle with Kenya’s Mary Moraa with the latter sealing the win in 1:57.68, around three metres ahead of the Briton who recorded a time of 1:58.18.
The Olympic silver medallist found herself boxed in with a bunch of athletes at the bell while the Kenyan sat at the front behind the pacemaker. The Leigh athlete worked well to get herself back in contention but could not quite close down Moraa in the closing stages.
She said, “The race was a bit messy, and I obviously don’t like losing but it is all good experience. I got a bit boxed in on the backstraight but that´s 800m racing for you. I got out of trouble but couldn’t quite get it together today. Mary (Moraa) got the better of me today. I did come here on the back of racing at the weekend but that is good practice for the Champs with all the rounds.”
With a best of 63.34m, Lawrence Okoye (Zane Duquemin, Croydon) ended the men’s discus competition in sixth overall, as the event was won Kristjan Ceh in a meeting record of 70.02.
Elsewhere, newly crowned UK champion, Jessie Knight (Marina Armstrong, Windsor Slough Eton and Hounslow) was seventh in the women’s 400m which was won by Femke Bol in a Diamond League record. The Briton started strongly with Ukraine’s Anna Ryzhykova chasing her down on the backstraight. However, Knight would ultimately finish in a time of 54.89, while the Dutch athlete won in 52.27.
Confirmed in the team for Oregon 2022 today, Chris McAlister (Marina Armstrong, Thames Valley) ran 49.76 for seventh position in the Diamond League men’s 400m hurdles.
Prior to the Diamond League programme getting underway, there were several British athletes taking part in ‘national’ races.
There was a double British victory in the first two events of the night as Jacob Paul (Marina Armstrong, Windsor Slough Eton and Hounslow) won the 400m hurdles and Ben Pattison (Dave Ragan, Basingstoke and Mid Hants) claimed the victory in the men’s 800m.
Paul, who won bronze at the UK Athletics Championships at the weekend, ran 49.80 to comfortably seal a win in Sweden. Meanwhile, Pattison stormed away to triumph in 1:46.06.
Emsley Carr mile winner, Matt Stonier (Peter Mullervy, Invicta East Kent) continued his strong recent form as he finished second in the men’s 1500m behind Czech Republic’s Filip Sasinek. Just 0.04 separated the pair as Stonier clocked 3:36.60.
Ama Pipi (Marco Airale, Enfield and Haringey) was third in the women’s 400m in a time of 51.80, while Ellie Baker (Jon Bigg, Shaftesbury Barnet) was fifth in the women’s 1500m in a time of 4:08.63. UK champion Reynold Banigo (Matt Barton, Sale Harriers Manchester) ended the men’s long jump competition in seventh position after leaping a mark of 7.63 (0.7).