Great Britain’s Reece Prescod produced the biggest victory of his career thus far from lane nine in the 100m at the Shanghai Diamond League on Saturday (13).
The sodden track for the meeting’s showstopper which featured world champions Justin Gatlin and Ramil Guliyev might not have been to the liking of his rivals who are more accustomed to training in warmer and sunnier climes but the inclement conditions did not bother the Brit in the slightest.
"When I saw the rain tonight I thought, 'yes', I train in these conditions all the time in the East Midlands. It suits me,” said Prescod. “My expectations going in was I knew I had it in me [to win] as long as I executed my race. It is definitely the happiest moment in my time on the Diamond League circuit.”
Prescod was drawn away from the action but this seems to suit the emerging British sprinter. It was from lane nine where Prescod produced a late charge to reach the IAAF World Championships final in London last year and the 22-year-old, who looked out of contention after 50 metres, did so again in Shanghai.
Almost unnoticed from lane nine, the long-striding Prescod stormed through the field over the second half to win in 10.04 by 0.01 from China’s fast starting Su Bingtian who was prematurely given the verdict - and the adulation - before the result was corrected.
Prescod was also just 0.02 shy of his lifetime best set in the heats of the World Championships in London and he took some very notable scalps in the process. Diamond League winner and teammate Chijindu Ujah was fourth in 10.18 with Guliyev and Gatlin sixth and seventh respectively, both timed at 10.20.
Lavillenie and Lasitskene open Diamond League accounts on a winning note
Renaud Lavillenie relinquished his European title in Amsterdam two years ago when he couldn’t clear a height in the final but the world record-holder will be difficult to beat this summer in Berlin where a fourth title is up for grabs.
After an injury-plagued 2017 season, Lavillenie was back on top of the podium at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham where he had the beating of arguably the strongest field across the programme, and the Frenchman has started his outdoor campaign in excellent shape.
Lavillenie cleared a world lead of 5.95m in Austin, Texas last month and he started his Diamond League account with victory on countback at 5.81m ahead of European indoor champion Piotr Lisek from Poland.
"It was not an easy day today,” commented Lavillenie. “The conditions were very hard. It was nice to get the win. There is definitely more room for improvement. I only jumped off 16 steps today and my full run up is 20. The most important thing for me is I am injury-free, and I wasn't last season.”
Mariya Lasitskene had a more clear-cut victory in the high jump ahead of Olympic and European medallist Mirela Demireva from Bulgaria.
In her first competition since winning the World Indoor Championships, Lasitskene cleared a world-leading mark of 1.97m to win by one clear height from Demireva.
“Everything is fine,” said Lasitskene. “I am really pleased with the preparation and the way the competition went. I do not count how many victories, I leave that for the journalists. My aim now is to continue in the Diamond League and target the European Championships."