Athletics: Warholm cruises as Baker trumps Bromell at Monaco Diamond League

MONACO (AFP) – Norway’s Karsten Warholm cruised to victory in the 400m hurdles at Friday’s (July 9) Diamond League in Monaco, but No. 1 US sprinter Trayvon Bromell was upstaged by compatriot Ronnie Baker in the 100m.

In a stunning night of track and field featuring many of the names who will surely be bothering the podiums at the July 23-August 8 Tokyo Olympics, Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon trumped Dutch star Sifan Hassan, Jamaican sprint legend Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce finished third and Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas went down to a rare defeat in the women’s triple jump despite recording the longest jump.

Just two weeks out from the Tokyo Games, recently-crowned world record holder Warholm cruised to victory in a meeting record of 47.08sec ahead of Brazil’s Alison dos Santos.

It did not threaten the world record of 46.70sec he set in Stockholm last week, but his winning time still goes down as the joint 12th fastest ever run.

“It’s always hard to run a perfect race. I can’t think I can do it every time,” he said of breaking the world record.

“It would be really tough for me.

“I feel pressure to perform… the most important thing for me is to win races…

“Consistency is very important and I am trying to be in the best possible shape and do my thing, that’s what it is all about.”

Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas upset Fraser-Pryce in the women’s 200m, streaking home in a winning time of 22.23sec, two-hundredths ahead of Marie-Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast.

Fraser-Pryce, who has been in electric form, rounded out the podium in 22.48sec.

“We are focusing on the 200m at the minute and I want something new,” said Miller-Uibo, the Olympic gold medallist over 400m in Rio in 2016, and also a two-time world 400m silver medallist, with an additional world bronze to her name in the 200m.

“The girls out there are running great times at the minute but there is nothing I love more than great competition. The current level we see out there is very motivating and I am very happy to see women on top of the sport now and making the headlines.”

Norwegian middle-distance prodigy Jakob Ingebrigtsen, after two weeks out with a bacterial infection and sore throat, found himself up against it in the men’s 1500m, the 20-year-old coming third as world champion Timothy Cheruiyot, who finished a shock fourth in the Kenyan trials so is not an automatic shoo-in for Tokyo, won in a world-leading 3:28.28, just ahead of Spain’s Mohamed Katir.

“As long as I am able to train well in the next couple of weeks, I know I will be able to compete well in Tokyo,” Ingebrigtsen said.

“It is really unfortunate but at the same time today was a very fast race so I am confident I will now get even better than this.”

Ethiopia-born Hassan was also dealt a blow as Kenyan arch-rival Kipyegon triumphed in the women’s 1,500m in a world-leading time of 3:51.07, the fourth fastest run.

Hassan, world champion over 1,500m and 10,000m in the 2019 world championships in Doha, came second in 3:53.60, and will head to Tokyo with the aim of bagging the 5,000-10,000m double.

“I like running with Sifan, running with strong athletes,” said Kipyegon.

“I’m aiming for the gold medal in Tokyo!

“I am really looking forward to Tokyo and I know it will be a very hard competition but I hope to go there and defend my title.

“I have a lot of pressure because the 1,500m is a tactical race.”

The men’s 100m left Baker, who won in 9.91sec with Bromell in fifth (10.01sec), feeling elated, before warning: “If I place first here and don’t place gold (in Tokyo), I don’t care about it.”

In the women’s triple jump red-hot Rojas suffered a rare defeat to Jamaica’s Shanieka Ricketts.

After jumping 15.12m in the opening three rounds to advance to the final three rounds which define the winner she could only manage 14.62m and two no-jumps, something not lost on Ricketts.

“I think the person with the biggest jump should win,” the Jamaican said.

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