Home favourite Eilidh Child (coach: Malcolm Arnold) made the most of the Scottish sunshine on the opening night of competition at the Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix as she stormed home to win the 400m hurdles, much to the delight of the Scottish crowds.
The Pitreavie athlete has already managed three third place finishes in the IAAF Diamond League this year, and she quickly made her intentions clear on the Hampden Park track, powering to the line to clock a season’s best 54.39 ahead of American Cassandra Tate.
The 27-year-old was quick to acknowledge the roars from the crowd as she looks forward to returning to the track in less than three weeks’ time for the Commonwealth Games.
“I really wanted to execute a good performance today, and to nail my stride. I managed to do that and I think that’s why it looked such a dominant performance,” Child said.
“It was an amazing ovation from the crowd here, so I can only imagine what it will be like at the Commonwealth Games. I’m ranked number four in the Games, so I will have to fight for a medal, but with a crowd like that behind me I’m sure I will succeed.”
British 110m hurdles champion William Sharman (Jerzy Maciukiewicz) equalled his personal best as he powered over the final four hurdles to pull clear of the field and cross the line in 13.21, beating a top class field including the world leader from Jamaica, Hansle Parchment.
“I expected to perform as I performed but I thought I’d face much closer opposition,” he said. “It was two rounds in quick succession so it’s good preparation for the Commonwealth Games. I just want to try my best there.”
Multi-eventer Katrina Johnson-Thompson (Mike Holmes) showed she’s in great form ahead of the Commonwealth Games, improving on the long jump personal best she set on her way to gold at the Sainsbury’s British Championships two weeks ago.
The 21-year-old finished in second place with 6.92m, whilst there was a season’s best for Shara Proctor (Rana Reider) who leapt to 6.82m to finish third. American Tianna Bartoletta took the top spot with 6.98m.
“I will be coming back here in a couple of weeks and doing a full heptathlon, so I wanted to check out the place beforehand and I’m very pleased that I did,” said Johnson-Thompson.
Laura Weightman (Steve Cram) followed up her impressive run in Paris last week as she finished a highly credible fourth in the women’s 1,500m, clocking 4:03.98 in a race won by the Netherland’s Sifan Hassan – who was also first in the French capital.
“I was really pleased with my performance tonight,” said Weightman. “It’s good to run fourth in a race of that high quality, and great preparation for the Commonwealth Games.”
In the men’s 200m, newly crowned British champion Danny Talbot (Daniel Cossins) ran a terrific bend, but the 23-year-old couldn’t keep up with Alonso Edward and Warren Weir, the top two in the world this year, as he finished in fifth place clocking 20.44, ahead of James Ellington (Reider).
The evening got off to a flying start as Paralympic silver medallist Stef Reid (Reider) bettered her own world record in the long jump F44, leaping to 5.47m in her first attempt, and beating France’s World silver medallist Marie-Amelie Le Fur in the process.
The pair will meet again at the IPC European Championships next month, and Reid is determined to maintain her winning ways.
“I am going to enjoy this for now but get straight back to work because [Le Fur] jumped well today, and I know she’ll be ready to challenge me in Swansea,” said Reid. Her performance on the night secured her a $15,000 world record bonus, as well as the Sainsbury’s Performance of the Day award.
Multiple Paralympic gold medallist David Weir (Jenny Archer) enjoyed a convincing victory in the 1,500m T54, speeding to the front with 300m remaining and cruising over the line to lay down his marker ahead of the Commonwealth Games as well as the IPC European Championships.
“It was great to be competing in front of a home crowd again and it was great to win as well. I am really happy with how the training is going at the moment and I will be focussing now on the next two weeks of build up to the Commonwealth Games,” he said.
One hundredth of a second separated the top three athletes in a dramatic men’s 100m, with Jamaica’s Nickel Ashmeade powering through in the closing stages to steal the win in 9.97 seconds. James Dasaolu (Steve Fudge) clocked 10.03 for fourth, with Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (Reider) and Richard Kilty (Reider) in seventh and eighth. 2011 World champion Yohan Blake pulled up midway through injured.
And there was a thrilling finish to the men’s 5,000m as the two Ethiopians Hagos Gebrhiwet and Yenew Alamirew sprinted down the home straight shoulder to shoulder. Gebrhiwet upset the form book, securing his first Diamond League win ahead of the Diamond race leader. Jonathan Mellor (Steve Vernon) set a new personal best of 13:31.21 to finish in 15th place, with Ross Millington (Vernon) two places further back.
The GB & NI 4x100m women’s ‘A’ team – Asha Philip (Christine Bowmaker), Ashleigh Nelson (Michael Afilaka), Jodie Williams (Bowmaker) and Desiree Henry (Reider) – stormed home to clinch an impressive victory in 42.74, with the GB & NI ‘B’ team – Sophie Papps (Cossins), Anyika Onuora (Reider), Hayley Jones (Donald Moss) and Louise Bloor (Tony Minichiello) – second in 43.36.
It was a tough race for the three Britons in the 400m hurdles, as Puerto Rico’s Olympic bronze medallist Javier Culson – the fastest in the world this year – tore apart the field to go joint top of the Diamond League rankings alongside American Michael Tinsley. Rhys Williams (Adrian Thomas), Niall Flannery (Nick Dakin) and Tom Burton (Dakin) finished sixth, seventh and eighth respectively.
Kelly Massey also faced a stellar field in the women’s 400m, with the top six athletes in the Diamond League rankings all lining up in Glasgow. Francena McCorory pulled away in the home straight to set a new all-comers’ record of 49.93, with Massey eighth in 52.67.
Commonwealth Games bound Scot David Smith was the pick of the Brits in the men’s high jump, clearing 2.22m in a competition won by Poland’s Wojciech Theiner (2.28m), whilst in the men’s pole vault, Scottish record holder Jax Thoirs (Pat Licari) and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Max Eaves (Steve Rippon) managed 5.35m in a competition won by another Pole, Pawel Wojciechowski, who cleared 5.67m.