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Stars shine bright like diamonds in Brussels

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The King Baudouin Stadium came alive with fireworks on the track and in the field as global athletics stars were out in their glory chasing diamond trophies,US $40,000 and an early ticket to next year’s World Championships in China. The AG Insurance Memorial Van Damme in Brussels was the final meeting in the IAAF Diamond League series 2014. Many believe that the athletes who were on show saved their best for last.

Jamaica’s Kaliese Spencer was amongst the stars that shone brightly as she wrapped up the diamond race crown and copping the only Jamaican victory at the meet. The Commonwealth Games champion Spencer underlined her dominance in this Diamond League season by winning the women’s 400m hurdles in a time of 54.12 to take her to the 30-point mark. Britain’s Eilidh Child was third to give her second in the overall standings.

Sanya Richards-Ross ran a fast 49.98 to win the 400m ahead of a Stephanie-Ann McPherson 50.12 but it was Novlene Williams- Mills who crossed the line third in 50.42 that was left smiling as she wrapped up her first diamond league trophy. Christine Day finished 8th in 51.57s.

The night however belonged to American Justin Gatlin, who recorded the fastest time in the world this year, 9.77s to claim the men’s 100m Diamond League title. He dismantled one of the best 100m men’s line up for 2014, with the likes of Powell, Gay, Baliey-Cole, Rodgers trailing him home. Michael Rodgers came second in the race in 9.93secs, Powell, 9.95, and Bailey-Cole who equaled his season best time of 9.96 third and fourth respectively. The other Jamaican entrant Carter finished 7th in 10.01s.

Gatlin was back at it in the space of an hour to claim the double, winning the 200m in 19.71, the second fastest time in the world. Qatar’s Femi Ogunode 20.15 was second ahead of diamond race champion Panama’s Alonso Edwards, in 20.26s..

Kimberley Williams leapt 14.13m for 5th in the triple jump that was won by the high flying Colombian Caterine Ibarguen in 14.75m effort.

Andrew Riley finished 5th in men’s sprint hurldes in 13.9s, behind Frenchman Pascal Lagarde in 13.08s.
In the battle for the women’s 200m diamond crown, race leader Alyson Felix showed glimpse of her old self stopping the clock in a world leading time of 22.02s, dismissing the challenge of competitors including Nigerian Blessings Okagbare who only good enough for sixth in 22.60s. French woman Myriam Soumare finished second in a personal best 22.11 with Dafne Schippers, in third.

In a gripping men’s high jump contest, Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar and Ukraine’s Bohdan Bondarenko both attempted a new world-record height of 2.46m as the battle between the two for the Diamond went right down to the wire. Both narrowly failed but 23-year-old Barshim took the Diamond title as his height of 2.43m – the second highest of all time – gave him the win on the night and overall victory.

Male pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie and women’s shot putter Valerie Adams created history, having already secured the Diamond Race title for their respective events. The Frenchman won with 5.93m on Friday and is the only athlete to win five Diamond Race trophies, having won the event each year since its inauguration in 2010, while New Zealander Adams threw a winning 20.59m to become the only athlete to win all seven Diamond League fixtures in any discipline in the same season.

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