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Sarah Mitton 2nd at Suzhou Diamond League despite not feeling in top shot put form

Sarah Mitton delivered a more consistent performance in shot put while fellow Canadian Regan Yee inched closer to the Paris Olympic qualifying standard in steeplechase at Saturday’s Diamond League track and field meet in Suzhou, China.

Mitton led with a throw of 19.86 metres in Round 1 — her best outdoors this season — and it stood up for second place behind American rival Chase Jackson, who answered with a 20.03 toss in her second of six attempts, 20 centimetres off Gong Lijiao’s 2015 meet record.

The two-time reigning Diamond League champion, Jackson also topped Mitton over their final three throws. The 29-year-old was third last week 900 kilometres to the south in Xiamen, where Jackson threw 19.62.

“I have been working on new [technical things] which could have gone one way or the other [Saturday] so I’m pleased to win,” said Jackson, the world’s top-ranked women’s shot putter who won a gold medal at last year’s World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

“I’ve been away from home for six weeks, so I take a lot of confidence from today. To throw 20 metres this early in the season, and it felt nice and easy, is good leading into the Olympics.”

WATCH | Mitton ‘really happy’ with 19.86m throw in Suzhou, China:

Canada’s Sarah Mitton scores second in Diamond League shot put

8 hours ago

Duration 3:35

Sarah Mitton of Brooklyn, N.S., had her best throw of 19.86 to claim second spot at the Diamond League meet in Shanghai/Suzhou.

Mitton, coming off a 19.35, fourth-place effort in Xiamen, took charge early at Suzhou Olympic Sports Centre. After fouling on her second throw, she went 19.64 on her third — the best of her competitors — and surpassed 19 metres on two of her final three tries (19.25, 19.17).

A week ago, the 27-year-old from Brooklyn, N.S., threw 18.89 and 18.75 late in the competition.

2nd at 2023 Diamond League Final

“I’m really happy, considering I did not feel that great with the ball,” said the world No. 2. “I had never started my [outdoor] season with a Diamond League like I did last week.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time in China, the people have been so welcoming and lovely.”

Mitton was second at the 2023 Diamond League Final and won her first event on the circuit at the Bislett Games in Oslo, Norway last June 15.

Two months ago, Mitton twice broke a Canadian record on her way to women’s gold at the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow.

She’ll return to Diamond League action May 18 at the Mohammed VI International Athletics meet in Rabat, Morocco and June 2 in Stockholm. Mitton was fifth (18.56) in Rabat a year ago and second in Sweden in 2022.

Song Jiayuan thrilled the home crowd on Saturday, placing third (19.83) in a field of 10, one spot ahead of teammate Gong, who threw 19.61 after winning in Xiamen.

Jessica Schilder of the Netherlands, who holds the world lead at 20.31 on Feb. 17, was 10th on Saturday (17.81) and didn’t attempt a throw after the third round.

5 seconds faster in 1 week

Like Mitton, Yee made gains in Suzhou. More important than her ninth-place finish (she was eighth in Xiamen) was her time of nine minutes 26.12 seconds.

Running in cooler conditions, it was a 5.35-second improvement from a week ago and brought the native of South Hazelton, B.C., closer to the 9:23.00 automatic entry standard for Paris.

“Last week was a dew point of 24 C and 92 per cent humidity and I honestly was hurting after the first kilometre,” Yee told CBC Sports on Saturday. “My body was fighting me the whole time because of the humidity.

“Conditions were near perfect [in Suzhou]. I really thought I had it [going] but I collided with the athlete in front of me in the last water barrier and lost all momentum for the last 150 [metres] that historically I’m quite strong in, so that was a costly tactical error.”

Still, Yee’s performance should help further solidify her standing inside the top 36 in the world ranking quota for Olympic selection. She entered the weekend 22nd and ahead of Canadians Ceili McCabe (25th), Grace Fetherstonhaugh (27th) and Alycia Butterworth (35th). Canada can select a maximum of three athletes, per gender, from each event.

Yee, a member of the Dark Sky Mission Project team since October 2022, will return home to Flagstaff, Ariz., for a training block before racing a 1,500 at Sound Running’s Track Fest in Los Angeles on May 11. A week later, she’ll enter a 5,000 or steeplechase at the USATF L.A. Grand Prix.

Kenya’s Beatrice Chepkoech topped the field for a second consecutive week, clocking 9.07.36 to beat Peruth Chemutai of Uganda by over eight seconds (9:15.46) and Germany’s Gesa Krause (season-best 9:16.24).

WATCH | Ailing Chepkoech collects 2nd victory in a week:

Kenya’s Beatrice Chepkoech wins second straight Diamond League steeplechase

7 hours ago

Duration 2:36

The Kenyan distance runner cruised to victory by more than eight seconds, while Regan Yee, of South Hazelton, B.C., finished ninth at 9:26.12.

Chepkoech, who boasts a world-leading 8:55.40 from last week’s race in Xiamen, fell 2:43 shy of her 9:04.53 meet record from May 18, 2019 in Shanghai, where Saturday’s meet was originally scheduled to be held but was moved as Shanghai Stadium is being refurbished.

No world record but Duplantis soars

Armand Duplantis missed out on another pole vault world record but made a strong statement ahead of this year’s Olympics by easing to victory.

The 24-year-old Olympic champion had broken his own world record with a stellar effort of 6.24 metres in Xiamen and wrapped up another victory in China with his best of 6.00.

With the bar raised to 6.25, Duplantis was primed to break the mark for a ninth time but he was unable to clear the height in his three attempts, coming agonizingly close in his final chance to leave some fans disappointed.

“I felt a little bit flat today, but still really good,” he said. “I just feel conditions have to be perfect for me to jump a world record and I wasn’t quite feeling it off the runway tonight.”

Ben Broeders of Belgium and Sam Kendricks of the United States managed vaults of 5.82 behind the winner.

Simbine, Neitta prevail in sprint showdowns

Akani Simbine surged late to win the men’s 100 metres in 10.01 seconds, upstaging American former world champions Christian Coleman and Fred Kerley.

Coleman was fastest out of the blocks — he’s the world record holder in the 60 — and was leading most of the way but had to settle for second place in his season-best 10.04, holding off Kerley who was third in 10.11. Simbine overhauled them over the last 20 metres.

WATCH | Simbine sizzles in Suzhou, beating Americans Coleman, Kerley:

South Africa’s Akani Simbine upsets Americans Fred Kerley and Christian Coleman in 100m

8 hours ago

Duration 1:58

The former African record holder sprinted to a time of 10.01 to pick up the win at Diamond League Shanghai/Suzhou.

There was another upset in the women’s 200, with Briton Daryll Neita stunning pre-race favourite Sha’Carri Richardson in a time of 22.62.

Richardson faded toward the end for the second time in her two-week trip to China. The 2023 world bronze medallist was third (23.11) behind fellow American Anavia Battle (22.99) after placing second to Australian teenager Torrie Lewis last week.

“I feel amazing. It was such a strong field and to run that time at this stage of the season is amazing,” Neita said. “My main focus for the rest of the season is to stay healthy and in one piece. I hope to really win a medal at the Olympics.”

WATCH | Neita rules women’s 200m, Richardson 3rd:

Great Britain’s Daryll Neita wins Diamond League 200m over five Americans

8 hours ago

Duration 1:55

A field loaded with sprinters from the U.S. could not beat Neita’s time of 22.62 in Shanghai/Suzhou.

In other events:

  • World champion Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic backed up her gold from Xiamen by cruising to women’s 400 gold in 50.89, comfortably ahead of American Talitha Diggs and Barbadian Sada Williams.
  • In the dramatic women’s 100 hurdles, world-record holder Tobi Amusan was disqualified following a false start before the Nigerian ran under protest and finished first ahead of Jasmine Camacho-Quinn. Barring a successful appeal from Amusan, Olympic champion Camacho-Quinn will earn a second victory of the season with her effort of 12.63.
  • Selemon Barega, Ethiopia’s Olympic 10,000 champion, won the men’s 5,000 in 12:55.68.

The Diamond League returns May 10 in Doha, Qatar, where Canadian sprinter Aaron Brown is scheduled to race after he competes at the Bermuda Grand Prix on Sunday and the May 4-5 World Relays in Nassau, Bahamas.

WATCH | Full event replay — Suzhou Diamond League:

2024 World Athletics Diamond League Shanghai/Suzhou

9 hours ago

Duration 1:58:44

Watch some of the best track and field athletes in the world compete in Week 2 of the Diamond League season from China.

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