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Farah ‘smashes’ Ovett’s record; Barshim prevails Bolt sets new best time for 100m indoors

BIRMINGHAM, England, Aug 24, (Agencies): Mo Farah smashed Steve Ovett’s 36-year-old British record over two miles at the Birmingham Grand Prix on Sunday. Farah, who has endured an injury-hit season, crossed the line in 8 minutes, 7.85 seconds, easily overhauling Ovett’s mark of 8:13.51. The Olympic, world and European 5,000- and 10,000-meter champion’s time was also a European record. The 31-year-old Farah finished just shy of 15 seconds clear of his closest rival — Zane Robertson of New Zealand. Emmanuel Kipkemei of Kenya was third in the Diamond League race. Mutaz Essa Barshim and Bohdan Bondarenko staged another of the epic men’s high jump duels which have illuminated the 2014 athletics season at the Birmingham Diamond League meeting on Sunday.

Qatar’s world indoor champion Barshim eventually prevailed, winning on a countback with a height of 2.38 metres after both men failed three times at 2.41 metres. Ukrainian Bondarenko, last year’s world outdoor champion, was second with the same height. “I’m happy, I got the win which is all that matters,” Barshim said. “It’s the battle they are all talking about, Barshim versus Bondarenko. I’ve got a lot of competitions coming up so there is a lot to still compete for. Bondarenko added: “To jump 2.38 was a good result and second place was okay.”

Kenya’s David Rudisha, who produced the finest track performance of the 2012 London Olympics when he broke the world 800 metres world record in the final, failed in an attempt on the world 600 metres mark set in 1986 by American Johnny Gray. As he did in London, Rudisha led from the start to cross the line in one minute 13.71 seconds, the fourth fastest time ever in an event which rarely features on the programme. “This is my first 600 metres, so I guess it was difficult to judge the pace, it has been a bit of a struggle coming back from injury last year,” said Rudisha. Olympic champion Kirani James, of Grenada, made no contest of the men’s 400 metres, easing to victory in 44.59 seconds. Britain’s new European champion Martyn Rooney finished third.
 
“I am very pleased with that,” James said. “I’ve had a successful end to the season, it’s always good to finish on a high.” The women’s 400 provided a popular winner in Britain’s world champion Christine Ohuruogu, who ran a conservative first 200 before finishing strongly to win in 51.40. “I wasn’t expecting that,” she said. “I was running down the home straight and saw that I was winning. The time wasn’t all that great but it doesn’t really matter.
 
Jamaican Kerron Stewart won the women’s 100 in 11.22 seconds after American Tori Bowie failed to finish. Bowie, the fastest woman in the world this year, who had won her heat, limped off the track clutching her left thigh. Australian Olympic 100 metres hurdles champion Sally Pearson, who was disqualified for a false start at last week’s Stockholm Diamond League meeting, was first out of the blocks on Sunday but was then overhauled by Americans Dawn Harper-Nelson and Queen Harrison, the winner in Stockholm.
 
Harper-Nelson, the fastest woman in the world this year, edged Harrison to win in 12.66. New Zealand’s Olympic and world women’s shot put champion Valerie Adams, unbeaten since 2010, extended her winning streak to 55 with a best mark of 19.96 metres. The meeting ended on a high for the British crowd when European and Commonwealth silver medallist Lynsey Sharp outsprinted the field to win the women’s 800 metres and Mo Farah, who this year added the European 5,000 and 10,000 titles to his two Olympic gold medals, won the men’s two miles in a British record 8:07.85.
 
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ZURICH: Jamaican sprint superstar Usain Bolt has brought his abbreviated season to a close after racing just four times, organisers of the Diamond League final in Zurich announced on Sunday. Just a day after Bolt set a new best time of 9.98sec for the rarely-run 100m indoors at Warsaw’s national football stadium, Zurich meet director Patrick Magyar said the decision not to take part in Thursday’s final and any more races after that had been taken by Bolt’s coach Glen Mills.
 
“After his 9.98 seconds performance in Warsaw last night Usain Bolt has decided to end his 2014 competition season and will not compete in the 100m in the IAAF Diamond League Final in Zurich,” organisers said in a statement. Magyar added: “Usain’s body has delivered tremendous performances over the last years. “But it is a body and not a machine. If an athlete of that level and his coach feel more rest is needed, we are certainly not going to question this and fully support this decision.” The premature end to Bolt’s season means the 28-year-old Jamaican, a six-time Olympic gold medallist and world record holder in both the 100 and 200m, has competed just four times this season, the start to which was delayed because of a foot injury.
 
Bolt had only run his first 100m of the year in an exhibition race on Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana beach on Aug 17 in a time of 10.06sec before turning out in Warsaw on Saturday. His last competitive individual appearance at the 100m came in Brussels last year while at last month’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow he was part of the victorious Jamaican 4x100m relay team, racing in the heats and final. Bolt is set on competing in his final Olympics in Rio in 2016 before calling time on his career in 2017 after the world championships.

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