Claye and Lyles ignite Paris
The 16,175 spectators seated in the Charléty Stadium for the Meeting de Paris 2019 were treated to the delights of an all-American showdown. Indeed, the athletes competing under the star-spangled banner really pulled something special out of the bag. Noah Lyles was first to excel, outranking his rivals on the half-lap of the track. Already way ahead pulling out of the bend, the young athlete from Florida opened up his lead still further down the straight to cross the line in 19’’65 (+0.2), some fifteen hundredths of a second shy of the best performance in the world this year, which he’d set in Lausanne on 5 July.
At the end of the meeting, Will Claye added his own sparkle, heightened by his long-standing friendship and rivalry with Christian Taylor in the triple jump pit. Initially leading with a jump of 17.39m on his second attempt, Claye saw his compatriot take control twice in a row, with 17.49m then 17.82m on the fifth attempt. Seeing that his 17.71m would not suffice this Saturday, he decided to bring his A game and nail a triple jump of 18.06m (+0.4), which sent the entire grandstand into raptures.
Roberts checkmates Holloway
Daniel Roberts managed to surf the wave created by his compatriots to triumph in the 110m hurdles competition that rounded off the night’s sports programme. Grant Holloway was the first out of the blocks, but the American champion switched things up a gear in the second half of the race and pounced over the finish line in 13’’08 (+0.8), earning himself a spot in the Diamond League final in the process. In a non-Diamond League event, another of Uncle Sam’s representatives ran rings around the competition: one Sam Kendricks. The pole vaulter cleared 6.00m on his third attempt, equalling the meeting record which belonged solely to his manager Jeff Hartwig prior to tonight.
At the top of the programme, New Zealander Tomas Walsh took on the challenge of firing up the crowd by linking together two huge throws in the shot put competition. With four attempts measuring in excess of 22m, the best of which amounted to 22.44m, the reigning world champion shook up the world ranking right on schedule, breaking the meeting record in the process. Karsten Warholm has also been scoring big times over the past few weeks. Indeed, the Norwegian hurdler closed on his European record in the 400m hurdles by running 47’’26 in a race he utterly dominated from beginning to end.
Already topping the planetary leader board, Venezuelan athlete Yulimar Rojas confirmed what great shape she’s in by jumping over 15m once again in the women’s triple jump. Her 15.05m (-0.7m) is the second best performance in the world this season, some six centimetres shy of her own benchmark. Soufiane El Bakkali also played his game well in the 3,000m steeplechase after going out on his own at the final bell. The Moroccan pushed Kenyan Benjamin Kigen to the limit after a furious sprint that concluded in 8’06’’64. Finally, the night’s 1,500m smiled on Ugandan Ronald Musagala, who secured his ticket for the final battle in Brussels, setting a new personal best in 3’30’’58 in a very tumultuous race.