Tag Archive: Lawrence Okoye


Lawrence Okoye and Shara Proctor staged spirited late comebacks to come away impressive winners in the discus and the long jump respectively at the Hanzekovic Memorial in Zagreb, applying a gloss finish to the close of their summer campaigns.

Both athletes seem to be treading on parallel trails in recent weeks as they made their respective finals in style but could not quite follow through to slip outside the top eight places in London so maybe it shouldn’t come as casual they earned their spurs on an identical pattern.

Okoye was enjoying a solid outing lying in third place on a second-round 64.51m, Dutchman Erik Cadee narrowly leading from Piotr Malachowski (POL) through a 65.67m in his fifth, but hardly anything in the build-up had suggested what was about to come as the giant 20-year-old Brit stepped into the ring for a final time.

This time round his throwing came all together to let fly the implement way beyond to a powerful 67.25m, his third farthest mark ever, and stun his rivals at the death as they were barely left with any chance or time to respond in a manner reminiscent of Manchester United’s renowned late winners.

A ‘continent’ best and meeting record on his part, the Croydon thrower marked a return to winning ways for the first time since July and he will be brimming with confidence heading to his last major fixture in Brussels, the formal curtain drawer of the Diamond League series and the Olympic season.

Cadee, closing out the competition with only 63.43m, had to do with second in the end and Malachowski remained third on a fourth-attempt 65.64m while Indian Vikas Gowda came fourth at 64.06 further behind.

Likewise, UK record holder Proctor was stranded down in the 6.50m region and fourth place up to her fifth attempt, a best of 6.58 (-0.2) in round four, as the main action was played out between Natassia Mironchik-Ivanova and season find Chelsea Hayes (USA) at 6.68 (-0.3) and 6.64 (0.0) up front in the long jump pit.

Yet, the Briton somehow drew inspiration to grind out a last-ditch 6.79 (0.3), a meeting record at that, and steal an unlikely victory out of the hands of a shell-shocked Belarusian, who could reach no further than 6.49 in her last effort, to bow out of the term on a winning note and smile – as ever, nothing is over until is over!

Funmi Jimoh was fourth at 6.59 and a very quiet Darya Klishina, a major absentee from London, faltered well below in sixth at just 6.39m.

Martyn Rooney had added a third British win in between in the men’s 400m as he controlled the race through in lane five and never left the final outcome in doubt. Building up nicely round the top bend, he carved out plenty of distance on the field to ease down the home straight to 45.78 secs on top with 1:42 800m man Duane Solomon back in third in a decent 46.39 secs.

Jeneba Tarmoh, a member of the world record-breaking US sprint relay in the Olympics, put up some decent fight over the first 60m or thereabouts but world champion Carmelita Jeter had too much in the final third of the women’s 100m to draw away to a clear victory in 11.06 to 11.30 secs into a slight headwind (-0.6).

Anyika Onuora just managed to dodge last spot by a hundredth of a second from Hayes, before taking up her long jump duties, in 11.59 but fared much better over the 200m to take fourth in 23.17 as sprint superstar Allyson Felix dominated with ease in a professional 22.35 (-0.2), another meeting landmark in the process.

Aileen Bailey and Charonda Williams battled stride for stride down the home straight and it was the Jamaican to sneak the runner-up spot in 22.95 to 22.96 on the line.

In the men’s dash, Ryan Bailey returned to winning ways as he weathered evergreen Kim Collins’s trademark blast as far as around 70m fabulously to power through to a convincing victory in 10.02 secs against the former world champion’s 10.14 at the end, while Mario Forsythe got third in 10.25 ahead of Darvis Patton and Michael Frater who were tied in 10.31.

Nickel Ashmeade, sadly, pulled up around 60m into the race apparently due to a hamstring injury and that could signify a slightly early end to a sound season of his.

Jason Richardson didn’t get off to the best of starts but his neat hurdling saw him swiftly restore order to storm through to a commanding 13.08 secs (-0.4) and well ahead of US record holder David Oliver in the 110m hurdles, the latter leaving a trail of disaster in his wake as he clattered no less than six hurdles with his trail leg on the way – and still managed a very respectable 13.22 secs!

The Olympic silver medallist, as well as the reigning world champion, has been enjoying a fabulous season, having posted 12.98 secs three times, save that he cannot find a way past an imperious Aries Merritt who looks invincible these days.

South African Lehann Fourie was third marginally off his PB in 13.28 followed by Ryan Wilson in fourth in 13.43, Jeff Porter and Beijing silver medallist David Payne tied in 13.55 secs.

Kellie Wells was first out of the blocks but slipped over hurdle two never to recover thereon, Kristi Castlin enduring a nightmare of a race in the adjacent right lane, which opened the way to the in-late-form duo of Ginnie Crawford and Queen Harrison to notch up the top two slots in 12.68 and 12.74 respectively in the women’s equivalent of the 100m hurdles, with Canadian Priscilla Lopez-Schliep third in 12.86 secs.

Reese Hoffa has taken the bit between his teeth since his defeat in London to dominate over double Olympic champion Thomasz Majewski (POL) nonchalantly once more as he pounded the 21m region of the sector relentlessly through the six rounds of the shot put; 21.34. 21.76, 21.56, 21.80, x and 21.70m to tell the tale as any of his valid five efforts would have claimed the spoils comfortably.

“What if” must be turning through the American’s mind, unbeaten since the Olympics, as the Pole could not mount any sort of response at any point to come a distant second over a metre down at 20.70 with world indoor champion Ryan Whiting in third at 20.52m.

Local heroine Sandra Perkovic had no trouble whatsoever to boss the women’s discus on a second-attempt 65.79m, plus two more throws in that province, while in-late-peak Jamaican Rosemarie Whyte was a runaway winner over the women’s quarter-mile in a meeting record and SB of 50.08 secs.

Denisa Rosolova was second in 52.07 and Marilyn Okoro came through strongly in the late stages to grab third in 52.67 secs in another solid performance.

Elsewhere, Olympic champion Taoufik Makhloufi comfortably put away a quality men’s 1500m in 3:32.58 with a familiar surge over the last 300m, Jairus Birech saw off Abel Mutai in 8:11.80 (MR) to 8:12.47 over the men’s ‘chase and Maggie Vessey shadowed the women’s 800m in 1:59.61 although her let-up at the end almost cost her the win to fast-finishing compatriot Brenda Martinez, who shattered her PB into 1:59.63.

Full Results

http://www.zagreb-meeting.com/en/results/

Costas Goulas

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As the curtain has gone down and the dust is still settling in the arena of the Alexander stadium following the UK Trials in Birmingham it is time to make to have a close look at and assess how the potential British team to contest the World Championships in Daegu is shaping up, with a week to spare on the qualification deadline.

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100m Dwain Chambers and Harry Aikines-Ayreety have sealed their places on the squad as they occupied the first two places at the Trials while Marlon Devonish has made a strong case to get the nod over the remaining third spot, missing out on an automatic place by a fraction and performing well when it mattered. Further, he looks as though he could go faster still.

Mark Lewis-Francis, disqualified in Saturday’s final, finds himself once again with his back to the wall, a situation he seems to love, and although he has worked miraculous escapes over the last year he will need something really special to pull it off again. He will definitely need to better Devonish in a likely run-off at Crystal Palace and that will probably require to run his fastest since 2002 (10.04 secs) to this effect.

Marlon Devonish may have done enough to claim the third spot in the 100m

Craig Pickering didn’t contest the final, I hope there is nothing wrong with him, but I think he’s done enough to get selected for the short relay – I don’t think he can get into the fray for that third spot though. On the other hand, James Dasaolu is done for the season with injury and Simeon Williamson is a long way from full fitness yet.

200m Christian Malcolm and James Ellington have likewise secured their own places as top two but third place is anyone’s guess following the results of the final at the Brum yesterday, where surprise third-place Luke Fagan hasn’t got a single B standard yet.

There are six more Brits holding A standards this season to pick from though Aikines-Ayreety may withdraw his interest after an injury in the heats and European U23 silver medalist James Alaka didn’t run over the weekend, a rather unexpected turn given his run of 20.60 secs into a -1.4m/sec in that final in Ostrava would recommend him as a strong contender.

Therefore, that probably leaves Leon Baptiste, Devonish, Danny Talbot and Richard Kilty in the frame still. I might go for Devonish again, who’s recently set 20.60 into a -0.9m/sec wind, in case he would like to bid to double up unless Talbot rediscovers that cutting edge he showed early season.

Last, I would keep an eye on a lively again Ricky Fifton, who might stage a dramatic late rally and surprise people.

400m There is still a blurry situation hanging over the event but there have also been encouraging performances over the last couple of days that offer hope that things could work out nicely in the end. Martyn Rooney has gained an effective grip on the qualification battle as he won the Trials in a big SB of 45.45 secs, a third B, in windy conditions so I’m feeling confident he is going to land the A standard at Crystal Palace to wrap his place up on the strength of that display.

Chris Clarke staged an astonishing return to form to get second in 45.61 secs carving out two Bs out of as many races, setting also a 45.65 secs in the heats, on only a month’s training and should come in line for a place if Rooney gets the A, although he might be coming in with a shout for that benchmark himself and take his fate in his own hands at this rate. What a talent!

Things may look bleak for Michael Bingham but he can take heart from his rally to win the B final in a well-improved 45.91 secs and hold still some hopes that he could bring off a dramatic turnround of the situation – a week is enough for much to happen and I wouldn’t write him off! An alternative, he has definitely got to be named in the relay and be named into the individual later if he runs inside 45.25 secs past the deadline.

I regard Richard Strachan has shown enough to be selected in the relay, where Dai Greene could figure as well, and from there on the remaining one or two places will be up for grabs between Nigel Levine, Richard Buck, Luke Lennon-Ford, Andrew Steele and Rob Tobin – he pulled up in the final, though, and seems to have withdrawn from the all-British B race at Crystal Palace.

800m Mike Rimmer needed a solid display to show he is firmly on his way back to form and got that, so I think he has ensured of his place holding an A of 1:45.12, while Andie Osagie ought to get at least that second B to book his place and to me he looks capable of a lot more than thattherefore I should expect both to be on the plane to Korea.

For the rest there is going to be a mountain to climb as none has got a single B yet though that fall in the heats could turn a blessing in disguise for Muchtar Mohammed, who is fresh and will be racing in Sweden tomorrow against a field that could draw him inside the targeted 1:46.30. Whereas the others will need until around Thursday to recover from three races back-to-back, with Joe Thomas and Gareth Warburton the other ones that look within calling distance of such a time on current form.

1500m James Shane, who totally destroyed the field in the final yesterday, needs one more B to qualify but has got to run the A standard on this sort of awesome form and seal his place in my view, even if it comes in a (Emsley Car) mile. Andy Baddeley is the only one that fulfils any criteria at the moment holding a B and being a top eight finalist in Beijing so should scrape in one way or another, where Nick McCormick has got an awful lot to do in the following days to stand a fair chance.

James Brewer has got plenty of ground to make in such a short space, Niall Brooks is still looking for some decent form and Colin McCourt looks totally off colour.

5000m Mo Farah has come out earlier today to clarify that he will be running both long distances in Daegu, contrary to the original misinterpreting report on BBC, as he only meant that he needs to take one event at a time. In particular, seeing off Bernard Lagat in a sprint finish equated to passing his ultimate test, with flying colours at that, and must have made up his mind on the double-up.

Chris Thompson has missed plenty of racing over the last couple of month and has got to go out and grab the A qualifier straight away although at the moment he is entered in the 3000m race at Crystal Palace. But it seems that there is a late 5000m lined up on the schedule so he could eventually switch there.

U23 Tom Farrell has got a B qualifier of 13:26.59 but hasn’t raced since the NCAA Champs and surprisingly requested not to be considered for the European U23 Champs where he would be favourite for gold, so a serious doubt, and Andy Vernon is probably the only other who could grind out a time inside 13:27.

10000m World No1 and unbeaten outdoors over any distance Mo Farah will be the only British entry as Chris Thompson wishes to focus on the 5000m instead this season.

Marathon There will be no individual but only team competitors for Britain in this event, namely Lee Merrien, Andrew Lemoncello, Thomas Abyu, Ben Whitby and Dave Webb.

Lawrence Clarke and Gianni Frankis top two finish in the 110m hurdles could blow the qualification battle open to many eventualities

110mh Andy Turner has long ensured of his own place on the team in effect but William Sharman‘s game could be on the line if either Lawrence Clarke or Gianni Frankis gets the A standard within the next few days. They both beat him convincingly as they fought neck and neck to the line in 13.58 and 13.59 secs, gaining a third and second B standard apiece, and that -0.8m/sec wind in the final suggests that they can make the higher grade.

400mh Jack Green found himself in no-man’s-land when forced to withdraw from the Trials through illness on Friday but late the following day was back in the driving seat for the third remaining place as European silver medalist Rhys Williams failed to place among the top two, getting off to a very poor start that let him terribly down.  On top of that, having got a lane for a third Diamond League appearance to cement his place so everything looks well back on track for the new European U23 champion.

A little clumsy at the end maybe bug Nathan Woodward holds on to his first senior UK title and an automatic place for Daegu

Dai Greene was always the owner of a place and Nathan Woodward secured his by winning the UK Trials so save some dramatic late twist owed to Williams, or lively-looking again Richard Davenport or Rick Yates, these three should be representing Britain in Daegu at the turn of the month.

3000mSC Luke Gunn and Rob Mullett line up at Crystal Palace and hopefully one of them could edge under the B standard of 8:32.00, but would that be enough? U23 James Wilkinson and, maybe, Mark Draper could also hold hope of getting there too.

20 & 50km Race Walking Britain will not be represented in both walking events.

Decathlon Daniel Awde needs 111 pts to reach the B standard of 8000pts and Sunday saw him run a huge PB of 46.04 secs over 400m, the fastest ever by a British decathlete, so will be hopefully having a last-ditch crack at it.

Long Jump Chris Tomlinson and Greg Rutherford are certain to be named on the team next week following a superb season so far but new British champion Julian Reid needs desperately two Bs to qualify, lying an agonizing 2cm short (8.08m). He is jumping at Crystal Palace and hopefully can line up another competition to clinch that third place in dramatic fashion – or could JJ Jegede bounce on his PB of 8.04m on Saturday and complete the turn-up?

Triple Jump Phillips Idowu has clinched his place from the moment he took off the board to that winning jump of 17.73m in Berlin two years ago but Nathan Douglas is missing the entire season through injury.

Two-time Olympic finalist Larry Achike landed a mere 2cm short of the B standard at his very first attempt yesterday but pulled up after a foul in the second – hopefully there is nothing serious with him as I’ve picked up that he was stretchered off. Julian Reid isn’t lying far off the B standard either at 16.77m.

High Jump Tom Parsons won on countback to confirm his berth for Daegu while European bronze medalist Martyn Bernard and Rob Grabarz both rose over a B standard of 2.28m. The latter two need both a second B to be considered but if one of them betters the A on top of that all three could line up in Korea.

Pole Vault Steve Lewis hasn’t really got going this season but has done enough to secure his place. Neither Max Eaves nor Luke Cutts look like they could provide an upset as concerns qualification.

Shot Put On the face of it, none looks capable of landing the 20m mark twice, not even Carl Myerscough who has shifted his focus on the discus this season.

Discus Everything very much turned upside down as Abdul Buhari and Myerscough clinched the two automatic places and it is going to come down to an effective throw-off between new European U23 champion Lawrence Okoye and Brett Morse at Crystal Palace for that coveted third spot.

My view? I would have loved to see both there but if I had to pick one that would be rather Lawrence at the moment. He is technically erratic, but mentally very competitive, and while he could plunge below 60m he could also pull out something in the 66-67m anytime and snatch a medal at the same time. He is very unpredictable but that could go both ways and since there is a ‘banker’ like a very consistent Buhari to make a solid bid for the final I would gamble on him.

Brett is a more rounded and complete article but has yet to prove himself when it matters and needs work in that department. But he will come good eventually. I don’t think he could range lower than 61-62m in Daegu but at the same time I don’t think he could go over 64m – but I hope I’m wrong in that.

Hammer Alex Smith drew closer to the B standard courtesy of his new PB of 73.26m but sounded desperately short of competitions to achieve his aim – hopefully, something will come his way.

Javelin James Campbell doesn’t seem like getting back his early season form that saw him hurl a 80.18m and bound to miss out. On the other hand, could Lee Doran provide a last-gasp double strike and save the day for the event? He improved to 78.63m at the Trials to come within calling distance of the B standard and he should hope.