A fabulous personal best by Collis Birmingham in the 3000m was the Australian highlight of the DN Galan meet in Stockholm as the Diamond League continued.
The Victorian shattered his personal best by over three seconds placing eighth in 7.35.45 behind Kenyan Isiah Koech (7.30.43) providing some consolation for a disappointing Olympic campaign where he placed 17th in his heat and failed to qualify for the final of the 5000m.
“The big race was in London last week but I wasn’t there for it. My body was there but I wasn’t feeling that good.” said Birmingham whose preparation for the Games was disrupted through injury.
“I had a bit of bad luck going into it about 10 days out. I hurt my calf but I don’t want to use that as an excuse. The fact is, it was the Olympics and you have to be ready on the day and I wasn’t.”
“I know it’s too late but today I wanted to run as good as I thought I was going. That’s not too bad. I still made some mistakes tactically.”
Birmingham moved into fourth at the bell behind a trio of Kenyans. At 200 to go, Koech who was fifth in the Olympic 5000m sailed for home with compatriots Caleb Ndiku and John Kipkoech in tow. The Australian was caught by four others in the run to the line as seven of the first 12 recorded personal bests.
The 27-year old consolidated his status as the second-fastest Australian ever in the non-Olympic event behind Craig Mottrams 7.32.19 from 2006.
Elsewhere, New Zealand’s Valerie Adams was one of six Olympic champions to win on a night which celebrated the 100 year anniversary of the stadium which was constructed for the 1912 Olympic Games.
Adams dominated the shot put with a new stadium record of 20.26m and a further three throws over 20m. The Kiwi pocketed a 1-carat diamond valued at $USD10,000 for breaking the previous mark that had stood for 32 years.
It was an emotional roller-coaster of a week for the towering Adams (1.96m) who first lost, then won her title in London, regaining it after Belarussian Nadezda Ostapchuk was stripped of the gold medal for doping.
“I think I have endured every emotion any athlete could possibly go through from disappointment to happiness to mixed emotions to a lot of emotions.”
Adams was a colossal 1.18m in front of Olympic bronze medallist Yevgeniya Kolodko (19.08m) from Russia with German Christina Schwanitz (18.72) in third.
“Tonight it was good to come and blow the cobwebs out a little. Get into comp. Smile. Be happy out there and win.”
“My job now is to enjoy the moment. Enjoy being Olympic champion. It’s really time consuming and energy zapping. I don’t need that. I am in really good shape. The best shape of my life. Better than last year. I have something big in me somewhere. I just need to find the rhythm and everything to come out.” said Adams who leads the women’s shot put Diamond Race that decides the events $40,000 winner at seasons end.
In other events, Australian Henry Frayne was a disappointed 7th in the triple jump with his best a lacklustre 16.07m in round one.
The event was won by Olympic champion Christian Taylor USA with a 3rd round leap of 17.11m. Ukraine’s Sheryf El Sheryf jumped a seasons best 17.04m to finish second ahead of Lyukman Adams (Russia) 16.93m.
“My body is tired. Mentally I just didn’t have it. I just didn’t have the next gear.” said Frayne who failed to qualify for the final of the triple jump in London after placing ninth in the long jump.
“That’s the result of a long season and the injury before the Games with my right ankle. It cost me three weeks of full training and then another week getting the body used to training again. I’ve had enough.”
The Brisbane-based jumper will now end his season to prepare for the Australian domestic season.
“I love to jump when I am in shape. And the simple truth is I am not in good shape. I’m really keen to compete again but when I get in shape when i hope to push out to around 17 and a half metres. I feel like I can.”
Queenslander Alana Boyd finished eighth in the pole vault with 4.31m. London silver medallist Yarisley Silva of Cuba won with a leap of 4.70m to defeat Olympic champion Jenny Suhr who failed to clear her opening height of 4.55m.
The Diamond League continues next week in Lausanne.