it was a perfect Diamond League farewell for Usain Bolt’s fans in Monaco as the multiple World Record (WR) holder overcame a bad start to race to his first sub-10s run of the season in his first outing in the series this year, and final Diamond League meeting.
The eight-time Olympic Champion has been very selective in his swansong year as a professional athlete and has only raced a couple of times this season.
The Herculis Meeting on Friday provided the Jamaican legend with an opportunity to dip inside 10s for the first time in 2017 as he held off the pair of Isiah Young and South Africa’s Akani Simbine to snatch the victory in a 9.95s.
The duo followed in 9.98s and 10.02s respectively. The 11-time World Champion will now set his sights on the forthcoming IAAF World Championships in London where he will call time on his Athletics career.
THE 400m AND THE 800m RACES
The men’s 400m provided one of the main highlights of the Monaco Diamond League, as WR holder Wayde Van Niekerk made his second appearance at the Diamond League, following his first outing in Lausanne.
Unlike Lausanne where the South African had it easy, this time around he had to face in-form Isaac Makwala who recently ran a World Lead (WL) and Meeting Record (MR) of 19.77s in the 200m, and also clocked an impressive 43.92s on the same day at the IAAF World Challenge in Madrid.
The Botswana sprinter followed hard after Van Niekerk and even overtook him at some point, inspiring the reigning World and Olympic Champion to dig deep to produce his winning effort of 43.73s, which was an MR. Makwala was 2nd in an SB of 43.84s, while teammate Baboloki Thebe finished 3rd in 44.26s.
Having finished a distant 7th in the 400m in Rabat less than a week ago, Caster Semenya bounced back in style in Monaco where she returned to her specialist event, the 800m.
The Olympic Champion held sway during the race, shrugging the threat posed by Francine Niyonsaba and USA’s Ajee Wilson to storm to a National Record (NR), WL, MR and Diamond League Record (DLR) of 1:55.27.
So fast was the race that four other members of the lineup were inspired to PBs, with Niyonsaba clocking an NR of 1:55.47 in 2nd place, and Wilson doing same in 3rd with her time of 1:55.61. Sifan Hassan followed with a PB of 1:56.81.
The men’s 800m was not a Diamond League event. Nevertheless, fast-rising talent, Kenya’s Emmanuel Korir showed pure class by racing to a WL of 1:43.10 to finish ahead of Brandon McBride (1:44.41, SB), Antoine Gakeme (1:44.54) and Pierre-Ambroise Bosse (1:44.72, SB).
Marie Josee Ta Lou continued with her impressive 2017 run by securing her first Diamond League victory of the season where she blew away the rest of the field in the women’s 200m to take the win in 22.25s, while Kyra Jefferson (22.42s) and Dina Asher-Smith (22.89s) settled for 2nd and 3rd.
Reigning World Champion in the men’s 1500m Asbel Kiprop is yet to regain the form that saw him dominate the event for a few years. The Kenyan middle-distance runner is still a shadow of himself and helplessly watched as his competitors went past him one after the other, and ended up a distant 11th.