Let’s make a swift round to pick up some very interesting performances from British athletes competing on the European circuit and elsewhere around.

ISTAF Berlin, Berlin, Germany

Jemma Simpson has staged a sound rally and a welcome return to form on the end of a shaky injury-dogged season to notch an Olympic A qualifying standard of 1:59.59 (SB) as she occupied a solid fifth place in a high quality 800m tussle in Berlin, claimed by back-in-top-form former world champion Janeth Kipkosgei Busienei (KEN) in 1:58.26 in style.

The Briton felt admittedly surprisingly good and finished strong from the inside down the home straight, having taken a guarded approach through the early to mid stages, so will be eyeing to knock a further chunk off her season’s marker when she turns up in Zabreb into the week and hopefully even inside 1:59.

A most unpredictable Semenya Caster (RSA) was beaten again into second in 1:58.74 and world finalist Maggie Vessey (USA) followed in 1:59.33 to build on her best season ever.

Jemma Simpson finishes strongly from the inside to her first sub 2 mins clocking of the season

Yohan Blake (JAM) further enhanced his top tier pedigree as he stormed to an equal PB of 9.82 secs in virtually still conditions (0.1m/sec), the original set just three days ago in Zurich, to thoroughly dominate the men’s dash as evergreen Kim Collins (SKN) came runner-up narrowly outside 10 secs in a SB of 10.01 secs, with Daegu’s disappointment Richard Thompson (TRI) back to solid form in 10.08 secs for third.

World record holder Betty Heidler gained revenge and some consolation as she comprehensively saw off surprise new global champion Tatyana Lysenko (RUS), her first title since winning the Europeans in 2006, in the women’s hammer with 77.30 to 74.67m but that uncharacteristic drop of form at the crunch in Daegu for the German cost her dearly and takes a great deal off the gloss of holding the six best marks in the world now this season.

Augustine Kiprono Choge (KEN) pulled away to an impressive victory in a very competitive men’s 1500m in a SB of 3:31.14, third fastest worldwide, Robert Harting stretched further his undefeated streak on a 67.22m winning effort in the discus and teenage sensation Kirani James (GRN) comfortably added to his own tally over 400m, even in a considerably slower 45.33 secs.



Rieti 2011, Rieti, Italy, September 10

Daegu semifinalist Andie Osagie bolstered up his newly obtained footing on the senior international scene as he demolished the field of the men’s 800m B race to claim victory by over a second in 1:45.65, his third fastest time ever, with Cuban Mauro Castillo the closest marker behind in 1:46.70. European U23 bronze medalist Muchtar Mohammed was also in the race but faded towards the rear of the race in 1:49.25 apparently on the downward end of the season’s graph.

It was a shame, however, that Osagie couldn’t get a starting slot in the main race towards the end of the program that could have likely set him up nicely to dip inside 1:45 for a first ever time but hopefully he will next summer all things equal. An A race that actually turned, equal to its pre-event billing, the highlight of the meeting as mighty David Rudisha (KEN) tore round the track to a searing 1:41.33, a massive world-leading mark and fifth fastest time ever, and spared nearly two seconds on breakthrough runner-up Adam Kczszot. The young Pole set a huge PB of 1:43.30 for a European header but agonizingly missing out on a national record by a mere 0.08 secs.

David Rudisha storms to a sublime 1:41.33 timing over 800m in Rieti

Something that third-placed Mohammed Aman, pipped on the line, didn’t fail to attain for his part as he established a new Ethiopian milestone of 1:43.37  followed by former world champion Alfred Kirwa Yego (KEN) in a SB of 1:44.07. That said, Rudisha could have gone even closer to his own world record had pacemaker Sammi Tangui (KEN) gone through the first 400m in a more reasonable pace than 48.30 secs!

Christine Ohuruogu‘s mission to gain redemption after a disastrous campaign in Daegu wasn’t quite met with success as she languished well behind in fourth in 51.80 secs over the women’s 400m and now sees her chances slipping away a little before the season is over. She is racing again in Zagreb on Tuesday and she will be hoping that things will click for her this once. Jamaica’s Shericka Williams was the victor in 50.81 secs leading runner-up Tatiana Firova (RUS) home, the latter grabbing a SB of 50.97 secs.

The British male sprinters failed to take advantage of the renowned fast Italian turf as Harry Aikines-Ayreety came fourth in the dash in 10.25 secs (0.1m/sec) despite getting the fastest reaction among the finalists (0.131) and Marlon Devonish trailed back in seventh in 10.39 secs, having set a brisker 10.30 secs in the heats (-0.3m/sec). Daegu runner-up Walter Dix (USA) edged out Jamaican Lerone Clarke and compatriot Justin Gatlin to prevail in a fast 10.02 secs, the latter two clocking 10.06 and 10.08 secs respectively. Craig Pickering, by the way, did not show up but he is down for the meeting in Zagreb next.

Leon Baptiste faired relatively better to take fourth in the furlong in 20.71 secs (0.2m/sec) from the outside lane, his second best this term, after a gruelling 12-hour travel to the venue as Lashawn Merritt dominated in an awesome 20.13 secs hinting at something special at the end of the track season.

Laura Weightman could not emulate her midweek run at Stretford to finish fifth in the women’s B 1500m race in 4:15.51, clinched by Kenyan Helen Obiri in a PB of 4:04.10, where William Sharman came last but one in the 110m hurdles in 13.79 (-0.1m/sec) well behind surprise home winner Emanuele Abate who set a PB of 13.54 secs.

In other events, Asbek Kiprop demonstrated his racing prowess in full as he demolished a quality opposition in the men’s 1500m in a world-leading time of 3:30.46 sparing huge daylight on Kiwi runner-up Nick Willis (3:35.56), Amine Laalu (MAR) slipping in fourth in 3:36.41, and great Bernard Lagat (USA) edged the men’s 3000m in a fast 7:32.13 from Kenyan Vincent Chepkok (7:32.38).



Arena Games, Hilversum, the Netherlands, September 11

Luke Fagan carries his form nicely late into the season as he edged a new PB of 10.34 secs into a slight headwind (-0.5m/sec) to comfortably take the 100m at the Arena Games in Holland, scratching his nearly month old best of 10.36 secs at Sportscity which came on an excellent tailwind of 1.7m/sec at that. The former European U20 bronze medalist was a surprise third-placer at the UK Trials despite running from the outside lane but missed out on selection for Daegu since he obtained the A qualifying standard (20.60) a week too late. But credit to him that he hasn’t relinguished his efforts and he could take his times further down on this evidence.

With an eye to the Olympic season, Helen Pryer continued her slick transition into the 400m to slash another chunk off her PB into a new marker of 53.45 secs, her third in a row, while UK 100m record holder Montell Douglas got the women’s dash in 11.69 secs (-0.2m/sec).



UK National 10km Race Walking Championships, Victoria Park, London

Commonwealth champion Jo Jackson won the women’s title in a time of 44:59, a SB, and sounded pleased with her outing afterwards having had her world championships efforts affected by a knee complaint. Tom Bosworth, still in the U23 group, notched up the honours on the men’s side as he finished first Brit and fourth overall in a PB of 42:44, cutting nearly a minute off his previous best, as Canadian Evan Dunfee edged the win by five secs in 42:17 at Victoria Park.

Dominic King was sixth in a SB of 43:57 and a name to keep in mind for the future is 17-year-old Jamie Higgins who shattered his PB to a new figure of 46:41, down from 47:30 in Portugal last May, for an overall eighth in the race.

Jackson, Bosworth and Higgins are all athletes coached by former British international Andy Drake.



National Junior League National Final, Derby, September 11

Adam Gemili, who took up sprinting seriously only a year ago, emerged as top performer in Derby but rather surprisingly over the odd 200m where he stormed to the top of the UK U20 rankings in a massive PB of 20.98 secs (-0.2m/sec), his previous mark at 21.65 secs from last April. The 17-year-old was silver medalist at the European U20 Championships this summer and complemented a successful weekend with an earlier win of a windy 10.53 secs (3.3m/sec) over the short dash.



Stadionfest Konigs Wusterhausen, Wusterhausen, Germany

Former World U20 silver medalist Ashleigh Nelson was runner-up in the women’s 100m in 11.73 secs (0.0m/sec) to narrowly claim the scalp of former European champion Christine Arron (FRA) by two hundredths of a second while UK runner-up JJ Jegede came seventh at only 7.34m (-0.2m/sec) apparently on his wind-down of the season at this low-key meeting in Germany on Friday.