Akani Simbine beats double Olympic champ Yohan Blake in London Anniversary Games 100m showdown
Akani Simbine turned back the clock at the London Anniversary Games on Saturday, claiming his first Diamond League meet win since 2017.
Thanks to a great start, the 25-year-old South African clinched the 100m in 9.93 seconds, beating Britain’s double European champion Zharnel Hughes who also ran his fastest time of this season in 9.95. Double Olympic gold medallist Yohan Blake finished third in 9.97.
It was exactly the result Simbine hoped for as he targets to win his first medal at the World Championships in Doha.
“I'm really happy with the time. I came here to get the Diamond League points,” said the 2018 Commonwealth Games champion.
“It's mostly about building the confidence and making sure I get through the races and winning them so by the time I get to World Champs and I'm facing the rest of the world I'll be ready and the confidence will be there and I'll be able to believe in the work I've done.”
Canada’s triple Olympic medallist Andre de Grasse, finally back on track after a long injury layoff, was sixth in 9.99.
De Grasse has been struggling with illness and injury since Rio 2016.
European record for Warholm
Norway’s Karsten Warholm returned to the track where he won world championship gold two years ago and improved his own European 400m hurdles record to 47.12.
The Norwegian’s quick start and solid finish had him way ahead of Rio Olympic bronze medallist Yasmani Copello of Turkey in second with 48.93.
“I feel really good, but at the same time it's a long time until the championships,” he said when asked about his title defence. “I'll try to do my own thing. Do what I think is the best.”
Muir tops 1500m
Scotland’s European champion Laura Muir proved she is a force to be reckoned with as she powered to victory in the 1500m in 3:58.25.
The Rio Olympic bronze medallist stayed with the leading pack for most of the 5,000m race before going neck-to-neck with Jakob Ingebrigtsen who led the field in the last curve.
Gebrhiwet eventually won in 13:01.86, making amends for his embarrassing run in the Diamond League in Lausanne where he celebrated a lap too early.
Ingebrigtsen finished second with a new Norwegian record of 13:02.03 and Nicholas Kimeli of Kenya in third in 13:05.48.
“This is my first fast 5k so I'm satisfied with it being a national record,” said the 18-year-old European champion. “I'm definitely able to go under 13 minutes. I was hoping for a personal best, but a national record is better.”
Fergusson Rotich took the 800m as Nijel Amos of Botswana, the 2012 Olympic silver medallist, pulled out with a suspected ham string injury.
The Kenyan was fastest in 1:43.14 ahead of compatriot Wyclife Kimanyal (1:43.48).
South African world champion Luvo Manyonga won the long jump competition with a season’s best of 8.73m.
Goldie Sayers receives her Olympic bronze from Beijing
In another emotional event, Great Britain's Goldie Sayers finally received her Olympic javelin bronze medal from Beijing 2008.
The three-time Olympian was awarded the bronze after Russia’s Maroya Abakumova, the winner of the silver medal, was disqualified after re-testing of her samples returned a positive result for anabolic steroid turinabol.
Sayers, who retired in 2017, had originally finished fourth in Beijing. The 37-year-old was promoted into the bronze medal position after the Court of Arbitration for Sport confirmed Abakumova’s ban.
“Throwing a personal best, a British record, in the first round of an Olympic final is kind of the dream but it was thoroughly disappointed – I was gutted to not win a medal,” said Sayers who still holds the women’s British javelin record of 66.17m.
“The moment I got a phone call to say I’d been awarded the bronze medal from 2008 rightfully, it was fascinating because there’s this underlying subconscious level of drive and desire, and determination and motivation – and then It was like I’ve just achieved what I always wanted to.