Compeed Golden Gala, Bolt tops the bill in Rome

Compeed Golden Gala, Bolt tops the bill in Rome

A great night of athletics was celebrated in the historic Olympic Stadium in Rome in front of 47732 enthusiastic spectators were thrilled by a fantastic men’s 100 metres which topped the bill.

Jamaican Usain Bolt recovered from a bad start from the blocks to overtake his compatriot Asafa Powell into the finish-line. Powell had a great start and led until the final metres of the race before being edged by triple world and Olympic champion Bolt who crossed the finish-line in 9.91 to Powell’s 9.93. Christophe Lemaitre narrowly missed his PB by 0.03 seconds to finish third with 10.00. Bolt set the second fastest time in the world in 2011 behind Jamaican Steve Mullings who clocked 9.89 earlier this year.

“I think over the time should be OK. I got through my first race. I was so nervous. I got a bad start and then kind started to panic. My coach will analyse the race. I was not proud of the race. But I am back to business. This is my first time in Rome and I appreciated the reaction of the crowd. About Asafa’s race ? I guess for him it was different because he had already started his season. He was already in the season, unlike me”, said Bolt.

“I was too focused on Usain. I was very relaxed at the start but during the race I have lost my focus and so he could beat me”, said Powell. 

Bolt’s win over a great Asafa Powell, who improved his seasonal best from Shanghai by 0.02 seconds, was the perfect finale to a memorable meeting which was highlighted by seven world seasonal best times set by Allyson Felix in the women’s 400 metres (49.82), Imane Merga in the men’s 5000 metres (12:54:21), Phillips Idowu in the men’s triple jump (17.59 m), Frenchan Renaud Lavillenie in the men’s pole vault (5.82), Maryam Yusuf Jamal in the women’s 1500 metres (4:01.60) and Kenyan Milcah Chemos Chewya in the women’s 3000 metres (9:12.89) and Russian Javelin thrower Mariya Abakumova (65.40).

The other competitions:
200 metres:
Italian star Andrew Howe contributed to make the atmosphere for the local crowd more exciting with a powerful 200 metres win in an impressive 20.31, the third best time of his career after 20.28 at the World Junior Championships in Grosseto 2004 and 20.30 at last September’s Notturna di Milano. The former long jump European champion sensationally beat strong 200 metres specialists like Jamaican Marvin Anderson (20.49) and Trinidad and Tobago’s Rondel Sorrillo (20.68).
“This 20”31 is great even if in training I run even faster. But this was my first race in the 200 metres this season and I didn’t know what to expect. Running in Rome gives me a lot of pressure. My finish today was ot perfect. I have lost something in the last ten metres of the race. I went close to my PB and for being the first race of the season I may say I can be satisfied”, said Howe.  

400 metres: Reigning world indoor champion Cristopher Brown from the Bahamas set a new seasonal best to win in 45.16 holding off Jamaican record holder Jermaine Gonzales (45.43). 

800 metres: US Khadevis Robinson came off the bend in first place and pulled ahead in the final straight to take the win in 1:45.09 ahead of South African reigning world champion Mbulaeni Mulaudzi (1:45.58). Doha DL winner Asbel Kiprop finished fourth

5000 metres: Ethiopian Imane Merga, World Cross Country champion and 2010 Diamond League winner, repeated his last year’s win in Rome with 12:54:21, a new world seasonal best thanks to his impressive final kick in the last 200 metres. Isaiah Koech Kiplangat, who made the headlines this winter with world junior indoor records in the 3000 and the 5000 metres, impressed again with a new PB of 12:54:59. In a race where six men dipped under 13 minutes Kenyan Vincent Chepkok Kiprop ran 12:55.29. .  

400 metres hurdles: South African Louis Van Zyl clocked an impressive 47.91, his third sub-48 seconds time of the year showing that he is the number one athlete in the world this season. For the former world junior champion it’s the second win this year in the Diamond League after Doha where he clocked 48.11. European champion David Greene from Great Britain opened his season with a solid 48.24 for second place ahead of US Angelo Taylor, who also improved his seasonal best with 48.66.

Triple Jump: Briton Phillps Idowu, reigning European and World champion, got off to a flying start in his season with an impressive world seasonal best of 17.59 m. Former Olympic champion Christian Olsson produced a good return to form with 17.29 in the triple jump beating World bronze medallist Alexis Copello from Cuba (17.14).

Pole Vault:
European Outdoor and Indoor champion Renaud Lavillenie bounced back from his fourth place in the opening leg of the Diamond League in Doha by setting a new pole vault world seasonal best with 5.82. German Malte Mohr, winner in Doha with with the previous world seasonal best of 5.81, is still in the lead in the Diamond Race with six points after his second place in Rome with 5.72. “The competition went very well. I just achieved a WL. At 5.72 I was very tired. My legs felt very tired. It is grear that I got some points for the Diamond League.”

Shot Put: Canadian Dylan Armstrong, who already won in the opening leg of the Diamond League in Doha,  continued his strong season by taking his second win in this year’ s Diamond League with 21.60 m, 12 cm off his seasonal best. Four men went beyond the 21 metres: Olympic champion Tomas Majewski from Poland improved his seasonal best with 21.20 beating US former World champion Reese Hoffa (21.13) and US reigning World champion Christian Cantwell who produced his first release over the 21 metres barrier this outdoor season with 21.09.  

4x100 relay: Canada beat the Italian team, European silver medallist from Barcelona, in 38.65 to 38.89. 

Women’s competitions:
200 metres: Allyson Felix was too tired after her 49.82 in the 400 metres run just 45 minutes before the 200 metres and had to settle with fourth place in the half-lap race in 22.81. The win went to US Bianca Knight who set her seasonal best of 22.64 to take the victory ahead of Jamaican Olympic bronze medallist Kerron Stewart (22.74) and former 200 metres world champion Debbie Ferguson McKenzie (22.76). Sanya Richards Ross took fifth place in her new seasonal best of 22.88.

400 metres: 2010 Diamond League winner Allyson Felix won the first sprint clash of the night with a new world seasonal best of 49.82, the first sub-50 seconds of the year. The US triple 200 metres world champion beat for the second time in this year’s Diamond League Botswana’s Amantle Montsho who clocked 50.47 finishing second ahead of US rising star Francena McCorory (50.70). World champion Sanya Richards-Ross, who is on comeback trail after being sidelined by an injury last year, finished a distant fifth in 50.98.  “The two events were a big challenge. My legs hurt a lot. I am not sure if I am going to do it again this year. I will decide about my events in Daegu after the US Nationals.”, said Felix.

1500 metres: Reigning world junior champion Maryam Yusuf Jamal set a new world seasonal best with 4:01.60. Ethiopian Meskerem Assefa improved her lifetime best to 4:02:12 beating compatriot Gelete Burka, third in 4:03.28. Doha Diamond League Anna Mischchenko came close to her PB in fourth place with 4:03:53 holding off Olympic champion and 2010 Diamond Race winner Nancy Langat (4:03.66).

3000 metres steeplechase: The first world seasonal best of the meeting fell in the 3000 metres steeplechase race where reigning World bronze medallist Milcah Chemos Cheywa clocked 9:12.89 which improved her 9:16:44 from Doha. Ethiopian Sofia Assefa set the new national record with 9:15.04. Ethiopian Birtukan Adamu set a new world junior record finishing fourth in 9:20:37 improving the previous limit held by Sofia Assefa who ran 9:20:72 in Brussels.

100 metres hurdles: Reigning Olympic champion Dawn Harper cruised to a  new seasonal best of 12.70 to take the win over Doha Diamond League winner Kellie Wells (12.73) and Danielle Carruthers (12.80): Swiss Lisa Urech, a European Championships finalist in Barcelona, ran a great race taking fourth place in a new seasonal best of 12.84 beating European Indoor bronze medallist Christina Vukicevic (12.86).  

Long Jump: US reigning world champion Brittney Reese narrowly missed the world seasonal best with 6.94 which she repeated twice in the fourth and in the sixth attempt. Reese overtook Doha’s Diamond League winner Funmi Jimoh who led until the third round with 6.87.

High Jump: Croatian super-star Blanka Vlasic took her fifth Golden Gala win but she could not clear the 2 metres barrier. Vlasic had to to settle with 1.95 in the second attempt, one cm better than her winning mark set in Shanghai. Vlasic then failed three attempts at 2.00 metres. “This season is different and is going to be quite long. I feel in great shape but sometimes, even if you feel good, you cannot see it in competition”, said Vlasic. 

Javelin Throw: Mariya Abakumova from Russia, Olympic silver medallist in Bejing, improved the world seasonal best to 65.40 to take the win in the first DL competition in this event beating European silver medallist Christina Obergfoll (63.97).

Discus Throw: European champion Sandra Perkovic scored her second win in a row in this year’s Diamond League with 65.56 in the second attempt, missing her best seasonal mark set in the Shanghai Diamond League meeting by just two centimeters. Thanks to her wins in Shanghai and Rome Perkovic leads the Diamond Race with 8 points. World silver medallsit Yarelis Barrios from Cuba finished runner-up with 64.18 m.

Photo: Compeed Golden Gala