September 27, 2021

Keely Hodgkinson: GB teenager wins Diamond League 800m title

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Britain’s Keely Hodgkinson won the Diamond League 800m title to bank $30,000 in prize money and cap an extraordinary year.

She proved stronger and shrewder than more experienced rivals, coming through to win in one minute 57.98 seconds.

Dina Asher-Smith was second in the 100m before being well beaten over 200m.

Asher-Smith is ending the season on the comeback trail having torn her hamstring less than a month before the Olympics and failed to make the 100m final in Tokyo before pulling out of the 200m.

The 25-year-old clocked 10.87secs in her first outing of the night in Zurich, only four hundredths off her personal best, to finish behind Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah.

Jamaican Thompson-Herah’s time of 10.65 is in the top 10 ever run in the event, but felt like a slight disappointment after a 10.54 victory in Eugene three weeks ago suggested she might break Florence Griffith-Joyner’s 33-year-old world record of 10.49.

Britain’s Daryll Neita claimed a personal best 10.93 in fourth.

Later in the evening, a tired-looking Asher-Smith was third in 22.19 as Namibia’s Olympic silver medallist Christine Mboma stretched away to win in 21.78.

Hodgkinson’s victory gives her a wildcard entry into next year’s World Championships in Eugene, a valuable asset with strong domestic rivals such as Reekie, who finished fourth, and fellow Scot Laura Muir.

“It’s been a crazy year, I don’t think I have had a chance to reflect on it yet,” said Hodgkinson.

“There is a lot to sink in but I have enjoyed every aspect of it.

“I am going home then straight on a plane to Greece, and I am not going home for ten days. I don’t want to see a track for those ten days, and I am leaving my running shoes at home.”

Britain’s Olympic bronze medallist Holly Bradshaw finished fourth in the pole vault with a third-time clearance of 4.67m – 23cm short of the personal best she set in June.

“Emotionally I have felt so drained,” Bradshaw said of her post-Tokyo form. “Pole vault is such a mental event – if you don’t have a clear mind it can be hard.

“That Olympic medal is something that I have wanted my whole career and winning it is such a release that it is has affected me a lot.”

The competition was won by Russian Anzhelika Sidorova who became only the third woman in history to clear five metres, going second in the all-time list with a 5.01m clearance.

Only compatriot Yelena Isinbayeva, who vaulted 5.06m at the same stage 12 years ago, has gone higher in history.

In the final action of the night, in front of a raucous crowd, Sweden’s Armand Duplantis failed in a shot to break his own pole vault world record, coming up short over three attempts at 6.19m.

World record holder Karsten Warholm enjoyed a comfortable win in the 400m hurdles where he hasn’t lost a race since 2018.

American Fred Kerley added the Diamond League crown to his Olympic silver over 100m, coming through to win in 9.87.

Two-time Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon held off the Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan to claim the 1500m at the end of a thrilling home-straight duel. Britain’s Muir, who separated them on the podium in Tokyo, was absent.

There was another Kenyan victory in the men’s race as world champion Timothy Cheruiyot took some revenge for Jakob Ingebrigtsen’s win in Tokyo, outlasting the Norwegian as they went toe-to-toe over the final 100m.

In another of the night’s close finishes American Michael Cherry beat three-time Olympic medallist Kirani James by just a hundredth of a second in the 400m, before his compatriot Kenneth Bednarek won the 200m title.

Britain’s Cindy Sember was down in fifth as Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan, who has finished fourth in the most recent Olympics and World Championships, claimed the title in a personal best of 12.42.

American Devon Allen won the men’s sprint hurdles, with Tokyo gold medallist Hansle Parchment of Jamaica third.

Portugal’s Pedro Pichardo and Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas both added Diamond League titles to Olympic triple jump gold.

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