LONDON — The opening evening at the inaugural Athletics World Cup presented some exciting highlights for the large crowd inside the London Stadium on Day one on Saturday, as the battle for ssthe team crown looks well poised heading into the final day on Sunday.
At the end of the first of the two days, the United States led the team standings with 109 points, after grabbing four straight wins on the track to close out the day.
France ended in second place 85 with points, while Poland and Jamaica rounded out the Top 3 with 77 points each.
Great Britain & Northern Ireland are both on 74 points, South Africa on 73, Germany on 58 and China on 46.
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Olympic sprint double champion Elaine Thompson of Jamaica came to London as one of the highlighted athletes at the new-look two-day competition, but the Rio 2016 star was beaten into second-place in the women’s 100m.
It was another sluggish-looking performance for Thompson, who never got into full gear and failed to shake off American Ashley Henderson, who held her off to win the event in 11.07.
Thompson, the Jamaican champion was second in 11.09 with third going to South African Carina Horn in 11.21.
DOMINANT RUN BY MCPHERSON
Stephanie Ann McPherson, running blindly out of lane eight produced a solid time of 50.98 won the women’s 400m dash, with France’s Floria Guei a distant second in 51.84 and Poland’s Justyna Swiety-Ersetic ran 51.89 for third.
Despite running in the outer lane and having no one to pace off, McPherson managed to run the quickest splits, at 12.5 (100m), 24.1 (200m) and 36.7 (300m).
POSITIVE RUN BY RUSSELL
Another Commonwealth Game champion, Janieve Russell secured all eight points for Jamaica in the women’s 400m hurdles by posting a very reserved 55.10 seconds to save her energy for a second race on the day.
“I am very pleased. My main objective was to get the valuable points my country needs because I have the 4x400m later so I conserved a lot of energy to run later,” Russell said.
“Competing as a team is very special. Getting points for my country is very different to the usual competitions because of the team thing it is all about securing the points and running for your country.”
She added: “It is a fabulous feeling, I love the event, I am glad it is in London as the atmosphere is great, the weather is good. Everything about this event is electric and I was really excited about running and hearing the crowd.”
Meanwhile, China’s Xie Zhenye got the better of a solid field to win the men’s 200m in 20.25.
“It feels good,” a delighted Xie said. “The track and crowd were great.
“It was important to win for China and I am really happy to have won for the team.
Frenchman Pascal Martinot-Lagarde took the men’s 110m hurdles in a season’s best of 13.22 seconds – beating Jamaican champion and Commonwealth Game gold medalist Ronald Levy (13.30) and USA’s Devon Allen (13.36).
“It was a really good race,” Martinot-Lagarde told Sky Sports after the race. “It’s season’s best so I am very happy.”
Meanwhile, USA’s Clayton Murphy finished strongly over the final 60m to win the men’s 800m in 1:46.52.
“I have a lot of respect for the rest of the field, but I feel like I am in the form of my life recently,” Murphy said.
“It was fun being out here and representing the United States for the first time in London.”
GOOD FIELD EVENT ACTIONS…
One of the standout athletes in the field events this season, Jamaica discus star Fedrick Dacres wasn’t at his best, but he didn’t need to be as his top effort on the day of 65.32m in the second round was good enough to secure the title in his main event.
Victor Hogan of South Africa was next best with 63.73m with Lolassonn Djouhan of France throwing 63.48m for third.
Poland’s Karol Hoffmann grabbed maximum points in the men’s triple jump with a season’s best effort of 16.74m, just ahead of USA’s Donald Scott with 16.73m and France’s Kevin Luron (16.67).
The men’s shot put title went to Poland’s Michał Haratyk with a 21.95m throw and he was followed by USA’s Darrell Hill (21.43) and Jamaica’s O’Dayne Richards (20.05m).
Elsewhere in field event results, Great Britain’s Holly Bradshaw won the women’s pole vault with a 4.75m season’s best effort, while the world record holder Anita Włodarczyk of Poland dominated the women’s Hammer Throw with a world-leading mark of 78.74.
Britain’s Lorraine Ugen had a big 6.86m effort in the second round of the women’s long jump and no one could match that, leaving her to run away with the title.
USA’s Quanesha Burks edged out Jamaica’s Tissanna Hickling for second place with 6.47m to 6.48m.
THE EXCITING RELAYS TOO…
The United States closed out the action on the track with two narrow victories in the relays
In the women’s 4x400m relay, the Americans posted a time of 3:24.28 to hold off Jamaica, second in 3:24.29. France took the bronze in 3:25.91.
In the men’s 4x100m, Cameron Burrell finished like a bullet to anchor the USA to victory in 38.42 seconds.
Jamaica finished very fast as well with Tyquendo Tracey but had to settle for second in 38.52, while Germany faded into third in 38.53.