Adam Gemili became the 100th man in history to break the magical 10 second barrier for 100m as the European 200m champion ran 9.97 to finish second in a high quality Diamond League race. After setting a new lifetime best of 10.00 when finishing second in his heat, Gemili lined up for the final full of confidence. Flying out of the blocks alongside eventual 9.93 winner Marvin Bracy, the Blackheath & Bromley man ran a great race and was rewarded with second place, beating Mike Rodgers in a photo-finish.
Despite injuring his hamstring as he crossed the line, Gemili was in good spirits, saying: “Not the fairy-tale ending I wanted, but I’m proud to be the only Brit to go sub 10 and sub 20. British sprinting is really stepping up and I’m glad to be a part of it. I felt my hamstring go as I dipped but I’m in good spirits.”
World & European 60m champion Richard Kilty is also in the form of his life, breaking his personal best set just a few weeks ago to finish fifth in the final in 10.05. The 'Teeside Tornado' was pleased to be edging ever closer to that 10 second barrier.
“It was a good race; I started a lot better in the final than I had in my heat. I made sure that I ran my own race and stayed relaxed, and I think there is more to come, I believe that I can get very close to breaking the sub 10 barrier. I next compete at Oslo, and it’s the first time I have competed there in two years, I hope to go well and run a good time. I have loved Birmingham, it has been amazing, the crowd was absolutely fabulous, and I loved getting a huge reception. I am very excited for the Sainsbury's Anniversary Games now.”
In the heats earlier in the day there was a season's best of 10.06 for Chijindu Ujah as he finished second in heat one, before backing it up with 10.11 when finishing sixth in the final.
American Jeneba Tarmoh did just as she did in Rome, upsetting the favourites to take another 200m victory in a swift 22.29, the same time as runner-up Allyson Felix. In third place was 19 year old Dina Asher-Smith, who fresh from breaking the British 100m record ran 22.30, the second fastest time ever by a Briton. Naturally the sprint prodigy was delighted.
“It is a bit unbelievable really – I didn’t envisage running a time like that going into the race. Outside the Olympic Games and World Championships, the Diamond League offers some of the most prestigious races so to come third in one of them is just amazing.”
The action was equally good in the field, as the men's long jumpers put on a show for the packed crowd in the home straight. Leading the way was Greg Rutherford, the Olympic, European and Commonwealth champion soaring out to 8.35m in the second round to win a high quality competition.
It was his reaction that really excited the crowd though, as after responding to Michael Hartfield's 8.23m he threw his arms in the air in delight when the distance flashed up on the scoreboard.
“It’s a great competition, I jumped very well, and I am chuffed to bits. This is the furthest I have ever jumped in the UK and it is only three weeks since I tore one of my adductors, so to come back after that I am really happy.
I am feeling confident, and even against a great field with Mike Hartfield, and Dan Bramble- who I understand faces a lot of pressure having jumped well in America- I was confident in my ability.
Dan jumped brilliantly today to jump 8.17m which is a World qualifier, and is amazing. I take my hat off to Dan; he raised his performance fantastically today.”
The world class action continued in the women's 100m hurdles with Tiffany Porter in the mix all the way. In the end though she was denied victory by American duo Dawn Harper-Nelson and Brianna Rollins who clocked season's bests of 12.58 and 12.63 respectively.
For Porter it was a very respectable 12.65, despite losing momentum off the final hurdle, but she was still satisfied with her performance.
“I messed up really badly at the end of the race, it wasn’t a clean race; it’s really frustrating but I’m really happy that I’ve been running consistently. Everyone’s running so fast so it spurs me on in training as the event’s so hot right now.”
There was also a brilliant run for Serita Solomon in fifth place, as she smashed her personal best with a 12.87 run and secured the qualifying time for the World Championships.
In the men's high hurdles Cuban Orlando Ortega took victory in 13.20 from Frenchman Darien Garfield, whilst Lawrence Clarke improved his season's best to 13.53 in fifth.
Earlier in the day Olympic triple jump champion Christian Taylor really got the crowd going as he put together an unbelievable series of jumps, with no fewer than five beyond 17 metres and 10cm. In the end his third round 17.40m was his best, giving him a comfortable victory. That elevates the American to second in the Diamond Race, two points behind world leader Pedro Pichardo.
“I had hoped for a little further; I would have liked to take advantage of the amazing crowd and the good jumping weather - for English standards! However there are a lot of things I am grateful for; I came out with the win, and I am healthy. I would like to push the event to a different level, and I wish I had put on a better show for the crowd, but I did my best so I should not complain.”
Kenyan Eunice Sum looked cool, calm and collected as she took victory in the women's 800m in a time of 1.59.85, just dipping inside that magical two minute barrier. Chasing her hard all the way down the home straight was GB & NI's Laura Muir who set a new lifetime best of 2.00.42 in second, with fellow Brit Alison Leonard fourth in 2.01.06.
On her personal best, Muir, who was fourth over 1500m in the Rome Diamond League on Thursday, said: “I didn’t really know how the legs would fare today after racing in Rome but I was really pleased with my performance out there. I knew I was in PB shape and to do it on tired legs is a bonus.”
Kamila Licwinko cleared 1.97 with her first attempt to wrap up victory in the women's high jump and go top of the Diamond Race standings. Isobel Pooley (Fuzz Ahmed) equalled her season's best with a 1.91m clearance for fourth, whilst Morgan Lake also jumped a season's best of 1.88m back in eighth place.
Just when it looked as if Vitezslav Vesely had backed up victory in Rome with another victory here in Birmingham Julius Yego's set a javelin personal best, African record, world lead and Diamond League record of 91.39m to take the spoils. There were further records as Trinidad & Tobago's Kershawn Walcott set a national record of 86.43 in third, behind Vesely's 88.18m.
Unbeaten in 14 races, Kaliese Spencer didn't disappoint, running a season's best of 54.45 to take victory and elevate herself to joint top of the Diamond Race standings. Eilidh Child backed up her season's best in Rome three days ago with a fourth place finish in 55.14. In the flat event, Stephanie Ann McPherson took victory in 52.14 to move up to second in the Diamond Race, whilst GB & NI's Anyika Onoura finished strongly to take third in 52.75.
In the discus, Sandra Perkovic extended her lead at the top of the Diamond Race with victory in a meeting record of 69.23m. Current world number one Christine Schwantiz delivered victory in the women's shot put thanks to a throw of 19.68m, putting the German on pole in the Diamond Race with 6 points.
In a rarely run 300m that contained four of the best British one lappers, Wayde van Niekerk kept the records coming as he stormed to victory in 31.63, and an African record. The battle of the Brits was won by Delano Williams in third, with Matthew Hudson-Smith fifth, Nigel Levine sixth and Martyn Rooney seventh.
Back in field, 2011 world champion Fabiana Murer secured victory in the pole vault over a high quality field that included London 2012 silver medallist Yarisley Silva. The Brazilian took victory courtesy of a second time clearance of 4.72 as she prepares to regain her world title in Beijing later this summer.
In a very cagey men's 800m, race favourite Nijel Amos delivered the victory that so many expected, kicking away with 50 metres to go to cross the line in 1.46.77. Further back youngster Kyle Langford clocked a season's best of 1.48.28, whilst Guy Learmonth was tripped, hitting the track hard just after the bell.
Glasgow 2014 1500m champion James Magut returned to Britain and secured another victory in 3.57.61, holding off the challenge of compatriots Hillary Ngetich and Vincent Kibet. Charlie Grice was the best of the Brits, finishing fifth in 3.39.71.
In the Diamond League women's 3000m steeplechase there was a Kenyan clean sweep of the podium places, Virginia Nyambura getting the better of Hyvin Kiyeng and Lidya Chepkurui with a winning time of 9.24.01. There was further Kenyan dominance in the men's 5000m as Thomas Longosiwa took victory in 13.07.26 sprinting clear of fellow Kenyan Isiah Koech.
In the Club:Connect 4x100m relays, which sees £250 go to each of the winning teams, there were victories for home club Birchfield Harriers in the girls under 13 and under 15 races, as well as the men's u17. Halesowen recorded a brace of victories in the U13 and U15 boys, whilst Cannock & Stafford came through to take the win in the U17 women's race.