World record holder Duplantis also shines as Lyles competes in Florida
In one of the highest quality weekends of the 2020 outdoor season so far, several world and Olympic medallists were in action across Europe, North America and Asia.
Kenya’s Ronald Kwemoi was in action in Japan and won the men’s 1,500m race in a world-leading time of 3:38.33 in the Hokuren Distance Classic meeting on Saturday.
Kwemoi was too fast for fellow Kenyan Justus Soget who finished second in 3:39.23.
The women race was won by World U20 3000m champion Nozomi Tanaka who sped to a PB of 4:08.68 holding off Kenya’s Helen Lobun (4:10.00).
The are a number Kenyan runners who are based in Japan and unlike their counterparts in the country, they are able to compete as Japan already opened the country for sports competitions.
In Europe, following an unbeaten indoor campaign and a 5.86m victory in Oslo last month, world record-holder Mondo Duplantis maintained his winning streak in the pole vault.
The 20-year-old Swede, competing at the Bauhaus Jump Challenge in Gothenburg on Saturday, sailed over his opening heights of 5.35m, 5.50m and 5.60m on his first attempts.
He then needed two tries at 5.70m, the height at which he effectively won the competition as Norway’s European U20 champion Pal Haugen Lillefosse topped out at 5.60m.
Duplantis then got over 5.85m on his first try and scaled a world-leading 5.94m on his third. That proved his best mark of the day as he ended his series with three unsuccessful attempts at 6.00m.
Compatriot Michaela Meijer won the women’s contest with a first-time clearance of 4.60m and went on to have three attempts at 4.82m. Opponents Angelica Bengtsson and Lisa Gunnarsson failed to get over their opening heights.
European indoor silver medallist Thobias Montler won the men’s long jump with a wind-assisted 8.13m, also landing a wind-legal 8.07m (1.5m/s). Khaddi Sagnia enjoyed a similarly comfortable victory in the women’s long jump, leaping 6.64m (0.0m/s).
Shaunae Miller-Uibo and Noah Lyles were among the top sprinters who opened their outdoor campaigns in Florida at the ‘Showdown in Otown’ meeting in Montverde.
Miller-Uibo kick-started her afternoon with a 50.52 win over 400m, beating 2014 world U20 200m champion Kaylin Whitney, who clocked a PB of 51.99.
Five hours later, the Olympic 400m champion was back on track, this time for the 200m, which she duly won in 22.61 (-1.1m/s). 2018 NCAA 400m champion Lynna Irby was second in 23.06.
Lyles, contesting his first race since anchoring the USA to victory in the 4x100m at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, sped to a 9.93 win in his 100m heat, helped by a following wind of 4.0m/s.
2017 world champion Justin Gatlin was second in that heat in 9.99 and neither man went on to contest the final.
USA’s 2016 world indoor 60m champion Trayvon Bromell also impressed in the heats. The 2015 world 100m bronze medallist, who has been hampered by injury for the best part of three years, won his heat in 10.04 (1.6m/s), his fastest time since the 2016 Olympic final.
Kenny Bednarek, who won his heat in a PB of 10.23, went on to improve that by winning the final in 10.14. Less than two hours later, he won the 200m in a world-leading 20.06 (1.0m/s), finishing ahead of Josephus Lyles (20.41).
Double NCAA sprint champion Sha’Carri Richardson also impressed in the 100m. After a wind-assisted 10.94 (2.8m/s) in the heats, she won the final in a world-leading 11.05 (0.5m/s), beating Hannah Cunliffe (11.14).
Pole vaulter Tina Sutej topped 4.75m at the two-day Slovenia Cup competition in Ljubljana on Sunday, another world lead.
Competing for the first time this season, the 31-year-old 2016 Olympic finalist topped 4.25m, 4.45m, 4.65m and 4.75m to improve her own national record by two centimetres. She then bowed out with three tries at 4.80m.
Rising discus throw star Kristjan Ceh won his specialty with a 65.27m effort and Neja Filipic captured the horizontal jump double with leaps of 6.49m in the long jump and 14.32 m(+2.2) in the triple jump.
The ‘Test Wedstrijd’ meeting in Arnhem was held in poor conditions on Saturday, but it didn’t seem to affect European U20 champion Femke Bol.
The 20-year-old took almost a second from her PB in the 400m hurdles, clocking a Dutch record of 54.47. Nadine Visser won the 100m hurdles.