British athletes shone at their home Müller Birmingham Diamond League as Dina Asher-Smith, Laura Muir, Matt Hudson-Smith, Keely Hodgkinson and the women’s 4x100m relay took victory while there were also six world leads set at an impressively renovated Alexander Stadium.
Asher-Smith held strong in the women’s 100m – and was impressive as the British women set a world lead in the 4x100m relay – and Birmingham’s own Hudson-Smith also immoveable in the men’s 400m.
Olympic silver medallist Hodgkinson, in her first race back from injury, was a comfortable winner of the women’s 800m after Muir, returning after her own setback, did the same in the women’s 1500m to kick start a quintet of wins.
Sandi Morris (USA) and were equally impressive as they set world leads at the second Diamond League of 2022, the latter also smashing a national, Diamond League and meeting record.
Malaika Mihambo (GER) jumped 7.09m in the women’s long jump, Dawit Seyaum (ETH) surged clear to clock 14:47.55 in the women’s 5000m, Kristjan Ceh (SLO) threw 71.27m in the men’s discus while Seyaum Hansle Parchment (JAM) was supremely impressive in the 110m hurdles with victory in 13.09. Canada had a quartet of winners thanks to Marco Arop in the men’s 800m, Aaron Brown in the men’s 100m, Django Lovett in the men’s high jump and the men’s 4x100m relay while World Championship hosts the USA had a hat-trick thanks to Dalilah Muhammad in the women’s 400m hurdles, Valarie Allman in the women’s discus and Morris’ 4.73m world lead in the women’s pole vault.
Paralympic champions Thomas Young, Sophie Hahn and Hannah Cockroft (all GBR) all also enjoyed wins on their own track in Birmingham, which in just over two months will host the 2022 Commonwealth Games. World heptathlon champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson (GBR) also took part in the women’s long jump, finishing with a best of 6.41m while
Olympic champion Parchment admitted to expecting a Games atmosphere in Birmingham in the pre-event press conference and he would have relished his victory in the men’s 110m hurdles as he was near faultless to win in 13.09. That bettered the world lead by 0.01 while compatriot Omar McLeod (JAM) would rue an unfortunate mistake halfway through and settled for second in 13.17, with former world indoor champion Andrew Pozzi (GBR) coming fifth.
Parchment said: “It was a great turnout here, more than I expected, and there will be even more here at the Commonwealth Games with perhaps more Jamaicans making some noise and bringing their own vibes.”
It was Muir’s first race of the summer as she recovers from a back injury and she said: “To come here and win in my first race of the season I am really, really happy. The win was more important than the time in my first race especially as it was quite windy out there.
Hudson-Smith ran an incredibly strong race and didn’t let his own nearest competitor – Bryce Deadmon (USA) – catch him on the home straight. Hudson-Smith pushed through to the line very well to post 45.32 for the win.
He (Hudson-Smith) said: “It is my home town, my club, a new stadium and a home Games so I really want it to be my year. Everything is coming together so I am really happy. I just wanted the win and then I’ll concentrate on the times.”
Abel Kipsang (KEN) demonstrated why he’s the world’s most in-form athlete in the men’s 1500m as he won a competitive race in Birmingham. Kipsang was leading for much of the final lap, challenging his rivals to overtake him, but none could with his winning time 3:35.15.
Mohamed Katir (ESP) would win a scrap for second in 3:35.62 while Oliver Hoare (AUS) was third in 3:35.76, Michal Rozmys (POL) fourth a tenth behind before Olympic bronze medallist Josh Kerr (GBR) in fifth.
The first Diamond League event on the track was the women’s 400m hurdles and Muhammad (USA) would win in 54.54. Muhammad wasn’t best pleased with the race – which saw Viktoriya Tkachuk (UKR) place second in 55.25, Anna Ryzhykova (UKR) third in 55.37 and Lina Nielsen (GBR) the best Brit in fourth.
In the first of the Diamond League events to finish, Allman (USA) and Sandra Perkovic (CRO) and shared in an element of success in the women’s discus. Allman threw the furthest over the five rounds with a best of 67.85m to take eight Diamond League points.
Paralympic champions Thomas Young, Soplie Hahn and Hannah Cockroft (all GBR) gave the home crowd plenty to cheer as the schedule ramped up in Birmingham, all winning competitive races at the Alexander Stadium.
With more Paralympic events at the entire Commonwealth Games later this summer, there was plenty of drama on show as Young and Zac Shaw (GBR) went head-to-head in the men’s ambulant 100m, the race almost too close to call on the line.
Young said: “I was really happy to come here to this brand-new fantastic stadium and get the win. It’s amazing to have para athletics at the Diamond League so a huge ‘thank you’ to the organisers and British Athletics.”
Like Thomas, Cockroft, who won the women’s 400m wheelchair race and said: “After the silence of Tokyo it is so good to see and hear the crowd and they are very loud here.
“It is very important for me to race with different categories to challenge me and keep me focussed.” Olivia Breen and Sophie Kamlish (both GBR) placed second and third.
The mixed F55/57 seated shot was the first event to official open the biggest major event at the Alexander Stadium since its impressive renovation for the Commonwealth Games – and Adam Donnachie (GBR) earned his place in history by winning with a best effort of 7.85m. The men’s 800m wheelchair race was also a competitive one as Nathan Maguire beat Danny Sidbury (both GBR) by 0.22.
It was a special day for Robbie Grabarz (GBR) as he received his Olympic high jump silver medal from London 2012 and Zoey Clark (GBR) acknowledged the presentation as helping her on her way to victory in the women’s 400m.
Clark dominated an all-British final, finishing in a season’s best 51.88, 0.69 ahead of Ama Pipi (GBR), and the Scottish sprinter said: “The track felt nice but my goodness to have a crowd again felt wonderful.
“The atmosphere was unreal. To have Robbie get his medal just before gave me such a boost so I felt great as I started.
William Battershill (GBR) was also a winner in Birmingham, taking the men’s 3000m steeplechase in a season’s best 8:36.56 while Daniel Jarvis (GBR) also deserves a note for his personal best of 8:37.58 in second.