Notes from Day 1 of London Diamond League

We’ve gone away from this notes format for Diamond League meets this year but I’ve decided to bring it back for the two-day Aviva Grand Prix in London.  It is the final tune-up race for many medal contenders leading up to the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea.

  • Kaliese Spencer dominated countrywoman and defending World champ Melaine Walker in a world leading time of 52.79 seconds,  establishing herself as the clear favorite for the 400 meter hurdles at Worlds.  American Lashinda Demus who I consider number two in the world has only beaten Spencer once this season at the Prefontaine Classic.
  • Although they hardly race each other enough to call it a true rivalry, David Rudisha and Abubaker Kaki squared off for the first time this season at 800 meters.  After pacemaker Sammy Tangui brought the field through 400 meters in a solid 49.5 seconds, Rudisha came through 600 in 1:16 and ran a strong last straightaway to hold off Kaki.  Rudisha hasn’t been beaten in nearly two years but has yet to prove himself in non-rabbited championship races.  Remember that he failed to make the final in Berlin 2009 and still went on to run 1:42.01 later that season.
  • Nick Symmonds was fourth in the 800 meters in 1:44.40.  After the race, the Oregon Track Club athlete tweeted, “Never thought I would be frustrated running that, but its gonna take much more to win a medal!”
  • Former Alabama sprinter and recent Nike-sponsored pro Kirani James made a splash in London by defeating a strong field for his first major 400 meter professional win.  His time of 45.61 seconds was not only a world leader but was more impressive considering he beat Daegu medal contenders Jermaine Gonzales and Chris Brown.
  • The previously unbeatable David Oliver has now taken losses in back-to-back weeks.  He suffered from another slow start and went down in defeat to Dayron Robles and Jason Richardson.  After a personal best last week, Richardson set another PR with a time of 13.08 seconds.  He’s surely a medal contender now.  Look for him to go sub-13 seconds before the season ends.
  • Yohan Blake has raced sparingly on the Diamond League circuit this summer but impressed in the final major 100 meter race before Worlds.  The Jamaican ran 9.95 seconds into a 1.6 meter per second headwind, a mark that converts to 9.85 seconds if the race was run in still air.  With Asafa Powell running well in addition to Bolt and Blake, the Americans can easily be shut out of medals in Daegu.

Find results from day one in London here.

Tags: Diamond League London

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