Switzerland’s Mujinga Kambundji had a night to remember in front of her own crowd at the IAAF Diamond League in Lausanne on Thursday (5).
First Kambundji broke her own national 100m record and then she was part of the 4x100m relay team which eclipsed their best-ever time. With the European Championships now so close, the Swiss sprinter is relishing what Berlin will bring having won European 100m bronze in Amsterdam in 2016.
Kambundji took a chunk out of her 100m national mark of 11.07 from last summer as she finished fifth in 11.03 in a race won by the Ivory Coast’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou. She was just 0.01 behind Dutch star Dafne Schippers in fourth and with Dina Asher-Smith having run 10.97 last weekend, the 100m in Berlin is going to be some race.
And after her fine success in the individual event, Kambundji then joined forces with teammates Ajla del Ponte, Sarah Atcho and Salome Kora, running the third leg in the same team which broke the national record at the World Championships in London last year.
Then they ran 42.50 and this time they brought the time down to 42.29 for a meeting record and to move to third on the European rankings, with Germany in second in 42.29.
Kambundji, who won world 60m bronze in Birmingham in March is now eyeing breaking 11 seconds. “I don’t think it was my best one from an execution standpoint. I felt I was fighting a bit too much with myself, not being relaxed enough. I know I can do better. And I know that from what I do in my training sessions sub-11 is definitely on the radar,” she said.
Mihambo eclipses Spanovic in the long jump
There would be some noise in the Olympic Stadium in Berlin if Germany’s Malaika Mihambo struck European long jump gold – and she is heading there with a fine win under her belt after beating the defending champion.
Mihambo won bronze in Amsterdam as Serbia’s Ivana Spanovic triumphed but this time the tables were turned on countback in a dramatic competition. Spanovic had led from the first round with 6.90m and with only two legal efforts of 6.49m and 6.70m, Mihambo never seemed a threat until her final go when she matched 6.90m, taking the win thanks to her better second-best jump being three centimetres further than Spanovic’s.
“I was conscious about not getting disqualified and then I had to give my all in the last attempt. I am happy it came together. This was a strong field and I am feeling better as the season progresses. I want to take every opportunity to compete with these top athletes and prepare myself for Berlin. That is a huge target for me, especially competing at home,” said Mihambo.
Also in the horizontal jumps, Portugal’s Pedro Pablo Pichardo went out to 17.61m in the triple jump to finish one centimetre behind Christina Taylor from the United States.
Returning to form, Stefanidi triumphs in a dramatic pole vault
The women’s pole vault moved up another gear with Berlin on the horizon as defending champion Ekaterini Stefanidi won on countback with a European lead of 4.82m.
But she is not alone on the mark as it was shared by former European champion Anzhelika Sidorova, who was back in third, with 2012 Olympic champion Jennifer Suhr in second on countback.
Stefanidi will be chasing her fourth successive outdoor title in Berlin but Sidorova showed she will not have it all her own way. Going over 4.82m on her second effort, Stefanidi had two first time efforts at 4.62m and 4.72m which proved significant.
Thank you @athletissima for this wonderful opportunity to compete in such a special place ❤️ https://t.co/AI7iNV5NKR#LausanneDL #DiamondLeague #RoadToTheFinal #nike #stoiximan #nbg #seventeen #lorvenn #toyota pic.twitter.com/2DjtwVxfss
— Katerina Stefanidi (@KatStefanidi) July 6, 2018
“I suffered a bit with injuries at the start of the season and I am grateful to my team who really helped me recover well,” said Stefanidi. "Sidorova is a major challenger in Berlin and I am looking forward to competing in the historic Olympic stadium.”
The day before, in a promotional event by the banks of the lake, France’s Renaud Lavillenie had won the men’s pole vault with 5.91m from Poland’s Pawel Wojciechowski with 5.84m.
Shubenkov clocks 12.95 in the 110m hurdles
After his 12.92 in Szekesfehervar to come within 0.01 of Colin Jackson’s European record, former European champion Sergey Shubenkov is flying on his way to Berlin.
Once more he was devastating in recording victory in 12.95, ahead of American Devon Allen, second in 13.29, and France’s Pascal Martinot-Lagarde in 13.30. “I have already run under 13 seconds three times this season, so that makes this my best season,” said Shubenkov. “I am super excited. The European record (12.91) is a realistic target let's see when I achieve that.”
There was success, too, for another Authorised Neutral Athlete as world indoor champion Danil Lysenko went over at a fine 2.37m to win the high jump in style from Australian Brandon Starc with 2.29m.
“I do not want to think too much or too far ahead,” said Lysenko. “The European Championships are a major goal but I am taking nothing for granted. I will be happy with a medal there.”
Ogrodnikova defeats a strong field in the javelin
Close to her personal best of 65.61m, Czech Republic’s Nikola Ogrodnikova won a Diamond League for the first time as she triumphed with a third round 65.02m to beat China’s Shiying Liu (64.46m) and Slovenia’s Martina Ratej (63.28m).
“I am delighted with the result today. It is turning out to be a great season,” said Ogrodnikova. “I have already competed quite a lot this season, I want to slow it down a bit to be in my best shape for the European Championships.
World champion Karsten Warholm from Norway was second in the 400m hurdles in 47.94, as Qatar’s Abderrahman Samba (47.42) had too much again and Britain’s double European indoor champion Laura Muir edged her way to Berlin with a second in the 1500m in 3:58.18 with the Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan in third in 3:58.39 as American Shelby Houlihan won in 3:57.34.