Monday, 17 July 2017 17:07

Ryan Gregson sets personal best in 3000m

Australian middle distance star Ryan Gregson has continued his impressive buildup to next month's world championships by clocking his fastest 3000m at the Diamond League meet in Morocco.

Rio Olympics finalist Gregson will contest the 1500m at the August 4-13 world titles in London.

Competing in the Moroccan capital of Rabat, Gregson finished seventh in a red-hot 3000m in seven minutes 42.19 seconds.

Local favourite Abdalaati Iguider claimed the win in 7:37.82.

Zoe Buckman recorded her fastest 1500m time of the year - and her second qualifying mark for the London world titles - by finishing eighth in 4:04.93.

Fabrice Lapierre, the silver medallist at the 2015 world championships, was fourth in the long jump with 7.99m and fellow Australian Damien Birkinhead was seventh in the men's shot put.

Competing at a meet in Padova, Italy, Australian Josh Ralph came up just short in his bid to better the world championships' qualifying standard of 1:45.90 in the men's 800m.

Ralph was second behind Bosnian Amel Tuka in 1:46.14.

With less than a week until the July 21 cut-off date, Peter Bol is the only Australian to have booked a spot in the men's 800m at the London world titles.

David Torrence Successfully Representing Peru

Middle-distance athlete David Torrence whisked into the Peruvian record books twice last month.

The Malibuite, a runner for Peru’s national team, set the South American country’s record in the mile run on June 1 when he won the event at the Massachusetts-based Adrian Martinez Classic in 3 minutes, 53.21 seconds.

The Cal Berkley product set a Peruvian record in the 1,500-meter race 17 days later. He ran the competition in 3:34.67, finishing eighth at the Stockholm Diamond League meet in Sweden.

The professional runner said setting records for the Latin American nation has been exciting for him, running fans in the country and the Peruvian Athletics Sport Federation, the governing body of athletics in Peru.

“I’ve been able to break some records and knock on the door for some of the South American track and field records,” Torrence, 31, said.

Thirteen months ago, Torrence, America-born, joined the Peruvian National team to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The switch from the red, white and blue to the red and white of Peru was possible because Torrence’s mother, Malibu Realtor Bianca Torrence, is a native of the country.

So far this year, Torrence has run either the mile, 800-meter, 1,000-meter or 1,500-meter in 12 events in the U.S. and Europe. He finished fifth in the 1,500-meter at a Diamond League meet in Olso, Norway three days before the race in Stockholm. The Malibu resident said the two performances were big for him because the Diamond League, a series of International Association of Athletic Federations’ events, is tops in the world.

“It shows I really do belong,” Torrence said.

Torrence, who has family in Peru, visited the country last September after the Olympics in neighboring Brazil. He was recognized on the streets, met with youth and was honored by the national leaders. Torrence said he hasn’t been to Peru in several months, but will go there in the fall to train for one of the biggest races in South America in November.

“I might try to run a camp or two while I’m there,” he added.

The runner’s next competition is the 1,500-meter at an event in Heusden, Belgium.

Torrence is currently doing high altitude training in Flagstaff, Ariz. He said darting eight to 14 miles per day around wooded and mountainous tracks in the higher elevation aids him in improving his endurance.

“I’m kicking my butt almost every day,” he said. “I’m focused on running hard.”

Torrence is keyed in on the Aug. 4-13 IAAF World Championships in London. There he will compete in the 1,500-meter race.

“This is the one I really want to make a statement at,” Torrence said.

The pro runner of nine years said he is hitting his prime now. He credits his work with Altis World, an elite training center in Phoenix, for helping him improve his running.

“Joining that team has been completely reinvigorating,” Torrence said. “For a while I was training alone. While that has its benefits, it can be difficult. Everyone is keen to helping everyone else at Altis.”

Torrence works out with some of the speediest runners in the world at Altis.

Despite breaking records this year and being seconds away from breaking the South American record of 3:33.25 in the 1,500-meter, Torrence said when he competes he doesn’t focus on setting records. He is set on beating other runners.

“More than anything, I want to compete well,” Torrence said. “I really just worry about my placement in races. At the end of the day, I’d rather have a first-place finish than a fast time.”

Thompson And Miller-uibo Impress In Rabat - Iaaf Diamond League

Elaine Thompson won her 14th straight 100m race at the Meeting International Mohammed VI d'Athletisme, the tenth stop of the 2017 IAAF Diamond League, in Rabat on Sunday (16).

It didn't come easily for the double Olympic champion, who had Marie Josee Ta Lou for company until some 80 metres into the race, before surging to a slight lead she held through the finish, clocking 10.87.

"I'm pleased with my race," said Thompson, whose performance was her fastest since her 10.71 world lead at the Jamaican championships on 23 June. "My races are going fine and I'm in the shape I want to be in now."

Ta Lou wasn't too far behind in a season's best 10.90 to finish second for the fourth straight time in Diamond League action. Further back, Michelle-Lee Ahye of Trinidad and Tobago was third in 11.02.

Another Olympic champion, Shaunae Miller-Uibo, was a much more dominant winner, taking the 400m in 49.80 by more than a second over Natasha Hastings, who reached the line in 50.86.

“This was actually a training race for me,” Miller-Uibo said, minutes after her meet record run and appearing barely winded for her effort, one just 0.03 shy of her season’s best. “The time is good but that’s not very important for me now. What counts are the World Championships.”

The face-off with Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya never fully materialised. The South African was lethargic from the gun and never in the hunt, eventually finishing seventh in 51.53. Afterwards, the 26-year-old was all smiles.

“It was hard to get moving, obviously, and to get a rhythm,” she said, smiling widely. “I haven’t raced in a month -- it’s been too long.”

Nijel Amos won his fourth straight race --and third consecutive Diamond League contest-- in impressive front-running fashion, boding well for his return to London Stadium, where he won Olympic silver in 2012, in three week's time.

Running just a step behind pacesetter Bram Som when he cruised past the bell in 49.81, Amos held a three-metre lead on Kipyegon Bett, his closest pursuer. The Kenyan ate up some of the deficit by the time the field reached the final bend, but Amos, in his teeth-baring fist-clinching style, powered on and away to a convincing 1:43.91 win.

It wasn't as quick as his world-leading 1:43.11 run in London one week ago, but it was as impressive, given his strong homestretch performance.

“I have been working hard on my speed,” he said. “When they were closing in on me I had a good finishing kick.”

Kipyegon was second in 1:44.28 with US champion Donavan Braizer third in 1:44.62.

There were three bouts of fireworks at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Sports Complex Stadium, two coming on the track as a warm-up to the post-meet display that lit up the northwest Moroccan sky.

The first came courtesy of Soufiane El Bakkali, who dominated the men’s 3000m steeplechase over the final two laps en route to an 8:05.12 lifetime best. Waving to the crowd in the far corner of the stadium as he approached the final turn, the crowd exploded in roars as he entered the straight for the final time, crossing the line more than five seconds clear of Kenyan Jairus Birech.

“What I expected has been achieved, namely the support of the crowd,” said El Bakkali, who finished fourth in the Rio Olympics last year. “I hope to go the world championship in London in good spirits and at a good level. There are strong competitors and I will fight until the end.”

That spirit showed when El Bakkali raced Olympic champion Conseslus Kipruto to the line in Rome last month, and a re-match here was one of the most anticipated face-offs for local fans. That in the end didn’t come to pass as Kipruto, running mid-pack, stopped running with just over two laps to go.

“I’m still having a lot of trouble with my right ankle,” said Kipruto, who also pulled out of Ostrava’s Golden Spike late last month. “I decided to race and I was hoping the pain would stay away. But it was wise to leave the race and try to get healthy.”

The second came in the evening-capping men’s 3000m, where long-time local favourite Abdelaati Iguider held off Spain’s Adel Mechaal in a frenzied homestretch battle that left the fans dancing, stomping and singing in the stands. Iguider clocked a season’s best 7:37.82 ahead of Mechaal’s 7:38.36.

The women's 1500m nearly witnessed the first Moroccan victory of the evening courtesy of world and Olympic finalist Rababe Arafi, only to be foiled in the last few steps by Poland's Angelika Cichocka.

Laura Weightman led the fairly tight pack through the bell, but Arafi took command as they entered the back straight, building a three-metre cushion the field. Brenda Martinez of the US was first to give chase, and appeared to be gaining ground midway through the final turn, with Cichocka on her shoulder.

The homestretch battle was a thriller. Propelled by boisterous fans that filled the homestretch stands to capacity, Arafe battled on, first fighting off, and eventually breaking Martinez. But the Pole fought back. Unrelenting, she powered by the Moroccan in the final ten metres to take the victory, clocking 4:01.93.

“This victory is very important for my confidence," said Cichocka, last year's European champion. "I worked on my finishing speed and that helped me win this race. That proves that my preparation is going well and I'm looking forward to the world championships now.”

Arafe clocked 4:02.19 in second with Martinez third in 4:02.75, a season's best.

In the women’s steeplechase, Gesa Felicitas Krause took command of the race over the last lap to collect her first career Diamond League victory, clocking 9:18.87, nearly two seconds ahead of Kenyan’s Norah Jeruto and Roseline Chepngetich, who clocked 9:20.51 and 9:20.69 respectively.

“Today I was able to show good tactics and a strong finishing kick,” said Krause, the 2015 world bronze medallist.

Andre de Grasse fell just short of his sub-20 goal, but he did manage another Diamond League 200m win in 20.03, another meeting record.

Running even with US champion Ameer Webb midway through the turn, de Grasse pulled ahead as they entered the home straight. Just as Webb appeared ready to find another gear, de Grasse found his own to pull away convincingly.

Webb was second in 20.18 with Zharnel Hughes of Great Britain third in 20.22.

The men’s 100m quickly turned into a fierce two-way contest, with Chijindu Ujah of Great Britain holding off Ben Youssef Meite to win in 9.98, a season's best and meeting record just 0.02 shy of his lifetime best.

Ujah had a clear lead by the midway point but was pressured to the line by Meite, who clocked 10.01.

In the 400m hurdles, two-time world champion Zuzana Hejnova collected her first victory of the year with a 54.22 season's best. Jamaican Janieve Russell closed well, managing to cut some of the Czech's margin but still came up short, reaching the line in 54.36.

Chijindu Ujah wins men's 100 metres in 9.98 seconds

Chijindu Ujah set a new meeting record as he won the men's 100 metres at the Diamond League meeting in Rabat.

Ujah ran a time of 9.98 seconds - beating the previous record of 10.12 held by Justin Gatlin - a season's best time and just short of his personal best. Fellow British athlete Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake was third, clocking 10.18.

In the men's high jump, Britain's Robbie Grabarz finished second behind Andriy Protsenko with a leap of 2.27.

There were third-place finishes for Brits Eilidh Doyle and Zharnel Hughes in the women's 400m hurdles and men's 200m respectively.

Meanwhile, there was a significant home win for Morocco's Soufiane El-Bakkali in the men's 3000m steeplechase. His personal best time of 8:05.12 saw him go top of the standings and confirm his place in the Diamond League Final.

De Grasse wins 200m to book Diamond League finals spot

July 16 (Reuters) - Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse claimed the victory he needed in the 200 metres to book a place in the end-of-season IAAF Diamond League finals during the latest stop in the series in Rabat, Morocoo on Sunday.

The Olympic silver medallist stormed home in 20.03 seconds ahead of American Ameer Webb (20.18) and Britain's Zharnel Hughes (20.22).

Like many of the athletes on show, De Grasse was using the event as a warm-up for the world championships in London from Aug. 4-13. He was pleased with his run, but has yet to go under 20 seconds this season.

“It was a good race and a good performance,” De Grasse said. “I was pushed in the bend, but I wanted to finish strong today and to stay relaxed. This was a race to tune-up for the world championships and it went pretty well.”

Jamaican sprinter Elaine Thompson picked up her 14th victory in a row in the 100 metres, edging Ivorian Marie-Josee Ta Lou.

Thompson's time of 10.87 was an improvement on her run in London last weekend by 0.07, and more success for the double Olympic champion, who has focused only on this distance in 2017.

"I'm pleased with my race," Thompson said. "I'm in the shape that I want to be in and I'm looking forward to the world championships in London."


With Jamaica's Yohan Blake having pulled out of the men's 100 metres competition, Britain's Chijindu Ujah claimed victory in 9.98 seconds, 0.02 off his personal best.

Ivorian Ben Youssef Meite was second in 10.01, while another Britain, Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake, was some way off the pace in third in a time of 10.18.

Moroccan rising star Soufiane El-Bakkali claimed the men’s 3,000 metres steeplechase in a personal best of 8:05.12. Kenya's Olympic champion Conseslus Kipruto did not finish the race.

The eagerly-anticipated women's 400 metres battle between Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas and South Africa's 800 metres Olympic champion Caster Semenya was a non-event.

Miller-Uib coasted home in 49.80, but Semenya was well back in seventh in a time of 51.53, though that was her best run of the Diamond League series.

American Ryan Crouser claimed a 10th straight win in the shot put with 22.47 metres, while Colombia’s Olympic champion Caterine Ibarguen returned to winning ways in the triple jump with 14.51 metres after defeat by Yulimar Rojas in Rome.

The next Diamond League meeting is in Monaco on July 21.

The two finals meets are in Zurich and Brussels, with half of the 32 events contested in each. The Diamond League title in each event is determined solely by results at the finals. (Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Ken Ferris)

Meeting Rabat DL men/women results

July 16 (Gracenote) - Results from the Meeting Rabat Men/Women on Sunday

Men's 100m

1. Chijindu Ujah (Britain) 9.98

2. Ben Youssef Meite (Cote D'Ivoire) 10.01

3. Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (Britain) 10.18

4. Su Bingtian (China) 10.19

5. Thando Roto (South Africa) 10.26

5=. Keston Bledman (Trinidad and Tobago) 10.26

7. BeeJay Lee (U.S.) 10.30

8. Churandy Martina (Netherlands) 10.33

Men's 200m

1. Andre De Grasse (Canada) 20.03

2. Ameer Webb (U.S.) 20.18

3. Zharnel Hughes (Britain) 20.22

4. Fred Kerley (U.S.) 20.27

5. Clarence Munyai (South Africa) 20.31

6. Rasheed Dwyer (Jamaica) 20.43

7. Warren Weir (Jamaica) 20.48

8. Churandy Martina (Netherlands) 20.84

Men's 800m

1. Nijel Amos (Botswana) 1:43.91

2. Kipyegon Bett (Kenya) 1:44.28

3. Donovan Brazier (U.S.) 1:44.62

4. Brandon McBride (Canada) 1:45.01

5. Ferguson Rotich (Kenya) 1:45.26

6. Nicholas Kiplangat Kipkoech (Kenya) 1:45.37

7. Robert Biwott (Kenya) 1:45.75

8. Mostafa Smaili (Morocco) 1:45.79

Men's 1500m

1. Brahim Akachab (Morocco) 3:35.03

2. Fouad Elkaam (Morocco) 3:36.26

3. Younes Essalhi (Morocco) 3:36.90

4. Vincent Letting (Kenya) 3:37.96

5. Kumari Taki (Kenya) 3:39.52

6. Takiyeddine Hedeili (Algeria) 3:39.96

7. Hicham Akankam (Morocco) 3:40.21

8. Abdelkarim Ben Zahra (Morocco) 3:43.07

Men's 3000m

1. Abdalaati Iguider (Morocco) 7:37.82

2. Adel Mechaal (Spain) 7:38.35

3. Soufiyan Bouqantar (Morocco) 7:38.65

4. Zouhair Aouad (Bahrain) 7:39.91

5. Illias Fifa (Spain) 7:40.55

6. Brahim Kaazouzi (Morocco) 7:41.88

7. Ryan Gregson (Australia) 7:42.19

8. Frank Ngelel (Kenya) 7:42.56

Men's 3000m Steeplechase

1. Soufiane Elbakkali (Morocco) 8:05.12

2. Jairus Kipchoge Birech (Kenya) 8:10.91

3. Amos Kirui (Kenya) 8:12.18

4. Abraham Kibiwott (Kenya) 8:16.25

5. Andy Bayer (U.S.) 8:16.73

6. Ibrahim Ezzaydouny (Morocco) 8:18.50

7. Hailemariyam Amare Tegegn (Ethiopia) 8:21.76

8. Altobeli da Silva (Brazil) 8:23.67

Men's High Jump

1. Andriy Protsenko (Ukraine) 2.29

2. Robert Grabarz (Britain) 2.27

2=. Tihomir Ivanov (Bulgaria) 2.27

2=. Gianmarco Tamberi (Italy) 2.27

5. Mateusz Przybylko (Germany) 2.27

6. Donald Thomas (Bahamas) 2.27

7. Eure Yanez (Venezuela) 2.23

8. Bryan McBride (U.S.) 2.19

Men's Pole Vault

1. Pawel Wojciechowski (Poland) 5.85

2. Raphael Holzdeppe (Germany) 5.70

3. Piotr Lisek (Poland) 5.70

4. Shawnacy Barber (Canada) 5.60

5. Jan Kudlicka (Czech Republic) 5.60

6. German Chiaraviglio (Argentina) 5.50

7. Diogo Ferreira (Portugal) 5.20

7=. Hendrik Gruber (Germany) 5.20

Men's Long Jump

1. Ruswahl Samaai (South Africa) 8.35

2. Jarrion Lawson (U.S.) 8.33

3. Yahya Berrabah (Morocco) 8.14

4. Fabrice Lapierre (Australia) 7.99

5. Godfrey Khotso Mokoena (South Africa) 7.94

6. Emiliano Lasa (Uruguay) 7.91

7. Mike Hartfield (U.S.) 7.80

8. Michel Torneus (Sweden) 7.66

Men's Shot Put

1. Ryan Crouser (U.S.) 22.47

2. O'Dayne Richards (Jamaica) 21.96

3. Ryan Whiting (U.S.) 21.26

4. Konrad Bukowiecki (Poland) 21.12

5. Darrell Hill (U.S.) 21.12

6. Darlan Romani (Brazil) 21.08

7. Damien Birkinhead (Australia) 20.44

8. Franck Elemba Owaka (Congo) 20.16

Women's 100m

1. Elaine Thompson (Jamaica) 10.87

2. Marie Josee Ta Lou (Cote D'Ivoire) 10.90

3. Michelle-Lee Ahye (Trinidad and Tobago) 11.02

4. Blessing Okagbare (Nigeria) 11.03

5. Kelly-Ann Baptiste (Trinidad and Tobago) 11.04

6. Darryl Neita (Britain) 11.16

7. Jura Levy (Jamaica) 11.18

8. Aaliyah Brown (U.S.) 11.26

Women's 400m

1. Shaunae Miller-Uibo (Bahamas) 49.80

2. Natasha Hastings (U.S.) 50.86

3. Quanera Hayes (U.S.) 51.08

4. Novlene Williams-Mills (Jamaica) 51.18

5. Shericka Jackson (Jamaica) 51.20

6. Courtney Okolo (U.S.) 51.33

7. Caster Semenya (South Africa) 51.53

8. Olha Zemlyak (Ukraine) 51.94

Women's 1500m

1. Angelika Cichocka (Poland) 4:01.93

2. Rababe Arafi (Morocco) 4:02.19

3. Brenda Martinez (U.S.) 4:02.75

4. Laura Weightman (Britain) 4:03.07

5. Malika Akkaoui (Morocco) 4:03.36

6. Shannon Rowbury (U.S.) 4:04.73

7. Nelly Jepkosgei (Kenya) 4:04.93

8. Zoe Buckman (Australia) 4:04.93

Women's 3000m Steeplechase

1. Gesa Felicitas Krause (Germany) 9:18.87

2. Norah Jeruto Tanui (Kenya) 9:20.51

3. Roseline Chepngetich (Kenya) 9:20.69

4. Fadwa Sidi Madane (Morocco) 9:23.99

5. Purity Cherotich Kirui (Kenya) 9:25.55

6. Winfred Yavi (Bahrain) 9:27.61

7. Caroline Chepkurui Tuigong (Kenya) 9:39.00

8. Stephanie Garcia (U.S.) 9:40.63

Women's 400m Hurdles

1. Zuzana Hejnova (Czech Republic) 54.22

2. Janieve Russell (Jamaica) 54.36

3. Eilidh Doyle (Britain) 54.92

4. Ristananna Tracey (Jamaica) 55.18

5. Lea Sprunger (Switzerland) 55.22

6. Wenda Theron Nel (South Africa) 55.31

7. Petra Fontanive (Switzerland) 55.35

8. Nikita Tracey (Jamaica) 55.50

Women's Triple Jump

1. Caterine Ibargueen (Colombia) 14.51

2. Kimberly Williams (Jamaica) 14.31

3. Paraskevi Papahristou (Greece) 14.21

4. Olga Rypakova (Kazakhstan) 14.20

5. Gabriela Petrova (Bulgaria) 14.11

6. Patricia Mamona (Portugal) 13.94

7. Nubia Soares (Brazil) 13.69

8. Andrea Geubelle (U.S.) 13.33

Women's Javelin Throw

1. Barbora Spotakova (Czech Republic) 63.73

2. Martina Ratej (Slovenia) 62.46

3. Tatsiana Khaladovich (Belarus) 62.38

4. Elizabeth Gleadle (Canada) 60.43

5. Kara Winger (U.S.) 59.94

6. Asdis Hjalmsdottir (Iceland) 59.67

7. Madara Palameika (Latvia) 57.80