Monday, September 7, 2009

Golden League comes to an end with Triple winners

IAAF Golden league

Friday's Golden League meet in Brussels marked the end of the Golden League which next year will morph into the new bigger Diamond League. This year's version had three winners: Sanya Richards, Yelena Isinbayeva, and Kenenisa Bekele.

Each punctuated their winning a share of the million dollar jackpot with sterling wins. Richards continued her domination of the women's 400 by setting another yearly best. This time in 48.83 - a world leader and her second fastest time ever. Richards had no trouble with the field as she stuck to her now familiar race plan, blasting away around the second turn and running clear and free down the finish straight to win in 1.6 seconds over Christine Ohuruogu.

The official results say that the pole vault competition was closer for Yelena Isinbayeva. But for Isinbayeva she simply came in at the winning height and cleared before attempting a new world record! She failed in the attempt, but can be forgiven since she already set a record the week before in Zurich! The single attempt clearance, however, showed that Berlin (where she failed to clear a height) was merely a blip on her career, as she's come back strong as ever in her competitions since.

Kenenisa Bekele, on the other hand, has not suffered from any blips of any kind as he simply races and wins whether it's in a major competition or a meet on the Circuit. In Brussels Bekele was pressed by a field that saw 7 men run under 13 minutes (including American Matt Tegenkamp) but his win was really never in doubt as he cranked out a 12:55.31 victory. And while Usain Bolt has garnered most of the headlines this summer, Bekele has quietly gone about showing that he just may be the greatest distance runner in history. No mean feat given that he took over from one Haile Gebrsellassie!

We did get a Usain Bolt sighting by the way, as he won the 200 meters going away in 19.57 - a mark only he and Michael Johnson have better and only Tyson Gay (19.58) has approached among his contemporaries.

Jeremy Wariner found his way to the winners circle without Lashawn Merritt in the race. But his 44.94 win suggests that there is much work ahead for he and coach Clyde Hart if he is to get back to the form that found him the master of the event in the middle of the decade.

Another who found his way to victory was Asafa Powell in the 100 meters. Minus Usain Bolt and with a clearly ailing Tyson Gay not in form, Powell ran 9.90 for the win, with Tyson Gay out of it from the beginning of the race, still finding his way to second in 10.00.

As usual in Brussels the competition was solid from beginning to end, and served as a fitting end to the Golden League. With new venues on continents other than Europe, the Diamond League promises much, but the memories of the Golden League, like those here in Brussels, will be rich and lasting.

For full results click here.

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