BERLIN — German sensation Ariane Friedrich handed Blanka Vlašic a defeat on a day when American Sanya Richards ran the fastest women’s 400m of the season in the opening IAAF Golden League meeting here at the Olympic stadium in Berlin Sunday afternoon.
In a thrilling women’s High Jump competition, Friedrich produced the unexpected of 2.06m – A German outdoor record, world-leading and personal record – to excite the home fans and defeat world champion Vlašic (2.03m).
After cruising through the early heights, Vlašic failed on her very first attempt at 2.06m, after Friedrich decided to pass and raised the bar to the winning height.
The Croatian missed and the German star cleared on her very first attempt to seal the victory, as both jumpers missed at the world record mark of 2.09m, and even there Friedrich looked impressive and could have finished with a new world mark, if it not for her calm that clipped the bar on her second try.
"This feels good. I didn’t expect this, but I am very happy," the winner said.
Richards started fast and finished quick to produced a sizzling 49.57secs to win improve her own previous world-leading mark, set a week ago in Eugene.
"I came here to run fast, I didn’t even go shopping before the race, so I saved all my energy for this race," joked the American.
"I am really looking forward to coming back in August and leaving Berlin with gold."
Bailey, Stewart win 100m
Daniel Bailey took the men’s 100m with an impressive run in the last 40m to win in 10.03secs
"I came here to win this race, so I can’t be disappointed," said Bailey after his win.
"I came here sick and I am recovering from ‘flu, so my time is alright.
"The track feels fast and I am sure I can go faster at the world championships."
In the women’s race, Jamaica’s Kerron Stewart posted 11.00 seconds even to claim victory despite a stumbling start.
"That feels so good, I didn’t expect to run that fast and I even stumbled out of the blocks, so I have no complaints," said the 25-year-old who won two gold medals in Beijing.
Bekele starts with a win
Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele, the Olympic champion and world record-holder at both the 5,000m and 10,000m, held off a strong Kenyan challenge to win the 5,000m here in a world leading time of 13 mins 00.76secs.
The double Olympic and world champion again finished well clear of the field and has few rivals with two months to go before the world championships.
World lead here
Kenya’s Augustine Choge led a Kenyan clean-sweep in the men’s 1500m when he ran the fastest time in the world since 2006 to claim victory in 3 mins 29.47 from compatriots Haron Keitany and William Biwott in third.
It was Choge’s third 1500m win in Berlin after success in 2006 and 2008.
Beijing Olympic finalist Damu Cherry opened her Golden League season in style when the United States sprinter won the women’s 100m hurdles in 12.76seconds from Jamaica’s Lacena Golding-Clarke.
Olympic silver-medallist and world indoor champion Godfrey Mokoena of South Africa won the long-jump with a leap 8.33m, while Germany’s European indoor record holder Sebastian Bayer finished back in seventh after jumping 7.95m.
Finland’s Tero Pitkamaki, the 2007 world champion, came out on top in his titanic tussel with double Olympic champion Andreas Thorkildsen of Norway who beat him in Beijing.
The Finn threw a season’s best 86.53m while his Norwegian rival threw 85.48m to finish second.
Russia’s pole-vault queen Yelena Isinbayeva started the season where she left the last one as the world’s best with a leap of 4.83m.
In the men’s 110m hurdles, the United States went 1-2-3 with Dexter Faulk winning in a time of 13.18secs from compatriots Ryan Wilson and David Payne.