On a glorious evening in Oslo at the Bislett Games on Thursday night, Dina Asher-Smith set herself up for something spectacular at this summer’s Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships by smashing her own British 100m record.
At this fifth IAAF Diamond League meeting of the season, Asher-Smith was left bubbling with delight after a sensational run. She was second in 10.92 to Ivory’s Coast world indoor 60m champion Murielle Ahoure who won in 10.91 with Trinidad’s Michelle-Lee Ahye in third (11.06).
“I am really, happy,” said Asher-Smith. “It has been one of those things that my coach and I - and all of my team - having been working on for so long.
“I felt good and I knew that if I put my race together right I could possibly be in PB territory and I did. There were still bits of my race where I wasn’t happy but it is a process and hopefully I am looking to go quicker as the season goes on.”
Running from lane three, with Ahoure in lane four, Asher-Smith ran a brilliant second half to the race to lower her national record from 2015 by 0.07.
Ahoure had the better start – her indoor prowess would always give her that – but Asher-Smith was never far away.
As the defending European 200m champion, and along with the 4x100m relay, the Brit can now have hopes of triple medal success in August when Berlin co-hosts the first multi-sports European Championships with Glasgow.
Khaladovich reaches out to 67.47m in the javelin
With temperatures around 24 degrees and with hardly a spare seat in the house, it was truly an evening to remember at one of the great athletics arena in the world.
The women’s javelin was the first Diamond League event of the night and just like Asher-Smith, history was made by another defending European champion.
When Tatiana Khaladovich from Belarus took to the runway for the final round of the competition, she was in third with a best throw of 61.33m as China’s Liu Huihui led from her opener of 65.11m with Czech Republic’s Nikola Ogrodnikova second with 61.56m.
But then the Bislett Stadium was treated to something truly special as Khaladovich launched the spear to an amazing 67.47m.
Not only did she secure victory in dramatic style but she also broke her national record of 66.34m, a distance she had reached in winning European gold in Amsterdam in 2016.
“Today I was not really expecting such a great result,” said Khaladovich.“I knew I am ready but not for that. My main goal is to succeed at the European Championships and the battle will be tough.
“Before that I also want to throw well at the Diamond Leagues and also, we have opening of the stadium in Minsk where I want to throw well later in June.”
19.90 for Guliyev over 200m
There was good European success throughout with Turkey’s world 200m champion Ramil Guliyev showing brilliant form as he broke the 20-second barrier for the first time this season in 19.90 from Canada’s Aaron Brown (19.98) and Trinidad and Tobago’s Jereem Richards (20.19).
Guliyev was already Europe’s fastest man this year with his 20.11 from Doha but he showed just why he will be the man to beat in Berlin.
The same can be said for another world champion in Lithuania’s discus star Andrius Gudzius who won with a superb 69.04m
He leads the European lists with 69.13m and Oslo was another example of his consistency. He produced two throw over 69 metres, winning from Iran’s Ehsan Hadadi (67.55m) and Sweden’s Daniel Stahl (67.04).
Warholm second to Samba in the 400m hurdles
There was little doubt about the athletes the home crowd had come to see and although they did not win, Karsten Warholm and the Ingebrigtsen brothers all produced memorable runs.
Warholm had an amazing 2017, climaxed by his gold in London, but he was second again in 48.22 behind Qatar’s Abderrahman Samba who won in a meeting record of 47.60. Turkey’s European champion Yasmani Copello was third in 48.54.
Warholm did not seem too disappointed as he heads to a re-match with Samba at the Diamond League in Stockholm on Sunday having also finished second to him in Rome last week.
It was in Rome that Warholm ran a national record and European U23 record of 47.82, so all is looking good for Berlin when the German city co-hosts the first multi-sports European Championships with Glasgow in August.
Warholm said: “This is my second best race of my career (he also ran 48.22 in Zurich last year) and I am happy with my race today. It´s fantastic to run here. I did not run as fast as I did in Rome, so I am excited to sit down with my coach and see where I can improve before Stockholm.”
Jakob Ingebrigtsen’s progression goes on as he once more sensationally broke his 1500m PB in finishing third in 3:36.06 to move to second on the European U20 all-time lists in a non-Diamond League race won by Chris O’Hare in 3:35.96 from American Robby Andrews in 3:36.05.
The Brit said: “I felt good and the pressure was off because I got the European Championships standard in Rome last week, but that's still a long way off.”
Jakob’s older brother Filip, the reigning European 1500m champion, was part of the showpiece race of the night - the Dream Mile - where he finished fourth in a tactical race in 3:57.97 won by Kenya’s Elijah Manangoi in 3:56.95.