Dominant Montsho, Assefa and Kaki lift Africans spirits in Birmingham - Aviva Diamond League report

Submitted by Yomi Omogbeja on 11 July 2011 - 1:56pm

A dominant performance once again by 2011 Diamond race leader Amantle Montsho of Botswana in the women’s 400m was one of the highlights of the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix/Samsung Diamond League meeting at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham, UK last night.

The 28-year-old, two-time African champion, clocked 50.20 seconds ahead of two Jamaicans, Rosemarie Whyte and Novlene Williams-Mills, who settled for second and third place in 50.82 seconds and 50.85 seconds respectively.

American reigning World Champion Sanya Richards-Ross could not cope with the pace in the final straight and faded out of contention to fourth place in 51.11 seconds.

After the race, Montsho said: "I really enjoy these Diamond League events and to get the win here is what I wanted. 

"I am enjoying racing against the best athletes in the world as it really helps my motivation with the Worlds coming up. I just want to get to the Final's and then see how I get on there."

In the men's 800 metres, the double World Indoor champion from Sudan, Abubaker Kaki, blasted through in  1:44.54, with Poland’s European champion Marcin Lewandowski second in 1:45.47 and Morocco’s  Armine Laalou third in 1:45.77.

"It was a very fast first lap then it slowed, but it was fine, I'm happy because it all helps to get me ready for the [World] Championship," said Kaki. 

"My next race is [in] Monaco and I need testing before the Championships, but today was fine because I had a slight injury after New York and I'm happy because I didn't feel any pain," he added.

The Somali-born British runner Mukhtar Mohammed, 20, was fourth in 1:46.66.

Ethiopia’s Sofia Assefa won the 3000m Steeplechase in a meeting record of 9:25.87.

The 22-year-old, who ranks second in this year’s world lists, broke clear of her compatriot Almaz Ayana as she approached the final bend to win with Ayana recording a season’s best of 9:30.27 and Fionnuala Britton of Ireland finishing third with 9:37.93. 

In other results, Ethiopia’s Kalkidan Gezehagne finished second in 4:05.96 in the women's 1500 metres behind American Morgan Uceny (4:05.64) and African champion Blessing Okagbare from Nigeria was 6th in the Women's Long Jump with a distance of 6.42 metres.

Complete Results