THE ATHLETICS WORLD CUP: A RE-CAP OF LONDON’S SHOWCASE
The inaugural Athletics World Cup, presented by Müller, certainly delivered two nights of thrilling action under the floodlights of the London Stadium, as the USA became the first nation to lift the Platinum Trophy.
Highlights of the weekend included Poland’s Anita Wlodarczyk’s world lead in the women’s hammer, and popular home victories for Holly Bradshaw in the pole vault, Lorraine Ugen in the long jump, and the Great Britain and Northern Ireland quartet in the women’s 4x100m relay.
But it was the USA who came out on top, claiming 219 out of a possible 272 points across 34 events and two nights of exhilarating action.
The USA led by 24 points after Saturday’s action, but they had to wait until the final few track events on day one to secure their first win of the competition as Clayton Murphy secured victory in the men’s 800m. Ashley Henderson ensured the USA didn’t have to wait long to celebrate another win, taking the women’s 100m title.
More success quickly followed for the USA with their women’s 4x400m and men’s 4x100m relay teams both victorious in the final events on the track. The last field event signalled another victory for the eventual winners as Jeron Robinson claimed the win in the men’s high jump.
Both days began with a succession of field events and the spectators inside the London Stadium were treated to a thrilling women’s hammer competition on Saturday. Poland’s Anita Wlodarczyk’s produced one of the performances of the weekend, throwing a world leading distance of 78.74m to claim the win by more than five metres.
Other notable performances from the opening day saw Great Britain and Northern Ireland captain Lorraine Ugen lead by example, winning the women’s long jump by a considerable margin. Ugen was one of two British winners on the opening day with Holly Bradshaw claiming the other home victory in the women’s pole vault.
There was plenty of drama across the weekend with South Africa’s Sunette Viljoen clinching the victory in the women’s javelin with her final round throw. Viljoen was one of three South African victors across the two days, with Luvo Manyonga winning the men’s long jump and Rikenette Steenkamp victorious in the women’s 100m Hurdles.
After a multitude of second and third place finishes, Pascal Martinot-Lagarde secured maximum points for France in the men’s 110m Hurdles to claim France’s first win. The Frenchman’s victory came moments after Chinese national record holder Zhenye Xie stormed to victory in the men’s 200m; one of only two Chinese victories at the Athletics World Cup.
Onto Sunday and the USA held a 24-point lead heading into day two; a lead they quickly extended at the beginning of Sunday’s session with world pole vault champion Sam Kendricks securing maximum points in the men’s pole vault.
Victory for Wojciech Nowicki in the men’s hammer throw ensured Poland kept the pressure on the leaders, as did Marcin Lewandowski’s triumph in a tactical men’s 1500m race.
Jamaica’s Shanieka Ricketts denied the USA victory in the women’s triple jump, as did her compatriot Shericka Jackson in a close women’s 200m race. But Paul Dedewo and Kenny Selmon ensured the USA returned to winning ways in the men’s 400m and 400m Hurdles respectively.
Germany had to wait the longest out of all the nations to claim their first victory, but Claudine Vita’s win in the women’s discus was quickly followed by Julian Weber in the men’s javelin. Gold in the men’s 100m went to Jamaica’s Tyquendo Tracey in a personal best time of 10.03.
The USA’s Vashti Cunningham won a thrilling battle against Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s Morgan Lake in the women’s high jump to add another eight points to the USA’s total.
The biggest cheers of the weekend came when Great Britain and Northern Ireland women’s 4x100m quartet crossed the line first in the penultimate track event of the Athletics World Cup, while the men’s 4x400m relay provided a fitting conclusion to the event with the USA running out comfortable winners in the final event.
The USA’s dominance across the weekend was reflected in the overall standings, with their points total exceeding second-place Poland’s mark of 162 by 57 points.
Great Britain and Northern Ireland finished third with 155 points, while Jamaica were two points behind in fourth and France a further seven points behind in fifth.
There were just two points separating sixth and seventh as Germany edged South Africa in the overall points standing, while China finished on 81 points.