Sydney high jumper Brandon Starc has won $50,000 USD ($69,492 AUD) by winning the IAAF Diamond League Final in Brussels.
The 24-year-old, cleared 2.33m on his second attempt which was enough to score him the Diamond League Trophy and big cash bonus. He is only the fourth Australian to win a Diamond League Trophy. With Mitchell Watt (2011), Fabrice Lapierre (2016) and Sally Pearson (2017) the other Australians to achieve the honour since the Diamond League Series began in 2010.
This fantastic performance continues his outstanding European season where he equalled the Australian Record of 2.36m last weekend in Germany.
“I jumped 2.36 a few days ago, so I semi expected the win,” an elated Starc said.
“But it was really tough out there and I fought hard and I'm so happy to come out on top and come away with it.”
The Commonwealth Games Champion will finish off his best-ever international season by competing in the Asia/Pacific Team at the Continental Cup in Ostrava next weekend (September 8,9).
“I’m going to keep on this form and capitalise on that and hopefully come out with another victory.”
Read a recent feature on Starc and his equal Australian record here>>>
McSweyn now 2nd fastest Aussie over 5000m
With a stumble over the line and a 10th place finish, the 2018 juggernaut of middle-distance sensation Stewart McSweyn continued. The Tasmanian obliterated his old personal best by 14 seconds with his 13:05.23. He moves past the likes of Ben St Lawrence and Collis Birmingham to sit second behind Craig Mottram (12:55.76).
When McSweyn ran his 7:34 in the 3000m earlier in the season, he also moved behind Mottram on the Australian All-Time list.
“Just because there was a lot of money on the line tonight, I thought it unlikely a lot of people would get on the pace,” McSweyn said. ‘But when I went through that first lap in about 11th doing high 59s I knew it was going to be quick.”
And quick it was. Coming into this 5000m, the world lead was 13:01. No one had broken 13min, a feat not seen since 1993 (none of the current top 10 before tonight’s race were even born then). Low and behold, it was something special.
Ethiopian Samuel Barega finished in 12:43.02, with the 18-year-old setting a new world junior record and be number four on the all-time list. No other 5000m race has ever produced more than one time under 12:47, and yet the 2018 finale had three. The first eight athletes dipping under the magic barrier.
“It’s crazy to be involved in it. To be in a race with a guy going 12:43 is unreal,” but there was more drama to come for McSweyn.
“As I came to the line I tripped up and landed on my shoulder, so my shoulder was popped out, and I had to go to the medical room and get it put back, which was pretty painful but I’ve got through it at least now, so it’s feeling a bit better.”
Stratton fifth in long jump final
Book ending her competition with 6.55 metres, and a best leap of 6.57m in the fifth-round saw Brooke Stratton finish fifth overall in the Diamond League final here in Brussels.
Stratton was hoping to jump further than her season best of 6.88m. The Diamond League Trophy was won with a leap of 6.80m from Columbian Caterine Ibarguen.
“I didn’t quite have it in my legs tonight, I just felt a little bit flat out there, but I gave it my best and that’s all I could do,” Stratton said.
“It’s definitely been a long season, I’ve felt a bit tired since Comm Games. I’m doing Berlin on Sunday (ISTAF Berlin) so hopefully I can turn things around and then the Continental Cup as well.”
Marschall sustains injury with first attempt mishap
Kurtis Marschall, still riding the high from his six-centimetre personal best in Zurich Main Station to days ago was struck down by an unfortunate mishap on his very first attempt in Brussels.
Fully committing to the jump, he was unaware of his sideways trajectory, and, as he pulled out of the attempt, he found himself above the ground, but not over the safety of the mats.
Coming down from that height with nothing but your feet and the ground to soften the landing, he fell to the ground and was immediately surrounded by his fellow competitors. They stayed around him for several minutes until American Sam Kendricks and Poland’s Piotr Lisek carried him back down the runaway.
Moments passed and later Marschall was taken from the field in a wheelchair. We have since seen him posted up in bed with both heels strapped and iced. We will continue to update his condition via the AA social media channels. He is due to represent Asia/Pacific at the Continental Cup in Ostrava, Czech Republic, next weekend.
Three other Australians featured in non-Diamond League events, as they too prepare for the Continental Cup.
Nicola McDermott was second in the high jump event with a clearance of 1.87m. It has been a breakthrough season for the 21-year-old, highlighted by her Commonwealth Games bronze medal in April with a personal best of 1.91m.
Steven Solomon was in a strong position for the win at the top of the final straight in the non-Diamond League 400m but faded to finish fourth in 46.62s. Belgian Jonathon Sacoor took the win in 45.59s.
Brittany McGowan was never quite on the pace in the women’s 800m and trailed off to finish seventh in 2:07.42. The run was well down on her personal best (2:00.24) and not indicative of her recent form, where she broke the Australian 1000m record a few weeks ago in Birmingham.
Diamond League Finals winners from Brussels
The 16 Diamond League titles and $50,000 USD went to the following athletes in Brussels (in order of events): W Shot Put - Lijiao Gong (CHN) 19.83m, W Discus – Yaime Perez 65.00m, W Long Jump – Caterine Ibarguen (COL) 6.80m, M Pole Vault – Timur Morgunov (ANA) 5.93m, M Discus – Fedrick Dacres (JAM) 68.67m, M High Jump – Brandon Starc (AUS) 2.33m, W 400m – Salwa Eid Naser (BRN) 49.33s, W 3000m SC – Beatrice Chepkoech (KEN) 8:55.10, M 110mH – Sergey Shubenkov (ANA) 12.97s, W 1500m – Laura Muir (GBR) 3:58.49, M Triple Jump – Pedro Pichardo (POR) 17.49m, M 100m – Christian Coleman (USA) 9.79s, M 800m – Emmanuel Korir (KEN) 1:44.72, W 100m Hurdles – Brianna McNeal (USA) 12.61s, M 5000m – Selemon Barega (ETH) 12:43.02, W 200m – Shaunae Miller-Uibo (BAH) 22.12s
Diamond League Finals winners from Zurich
W Triple Jump – Caterine Ibarguen (COL) 14.56m, W High Jump – Mariya Lasitskene (ANA) 1.97m, W Pole Vault – Katerina Stefanidi (GRE) 4.87m (SB), W Javelin – Tatsiana Khaladovich (BLR) 66.99m, M Shot Put – Tomas Walsh (NZL) 22.60m, M 400m – Fred Kerley (USA) 44.80, W 800m – Caster Semenya (RSA) 1:55.27, M 3000m SC – Conseslus Kipruto (KEN) 8:10.15, W 100m – Murielle Ahoure (CIV) 11.01, M Long Jump – Luvo Manyonga (RSA) 8.36m, M 1500m – Timothy Cheruiyot (KEN) 3:30.27, M Javelin – Andreas Hofmann (GER) 91.44m, W 400mH – Dalilah Muhammad (USA) 53.88, M 200m – Noah Lyles (USA) 19.67, W 5000m – Hellen Obiri (KEN) 14:38.39, M 400mH Kyron McMaster (IVB) 48.08.
Australian athletes dominate the Asia/Pacific Team for the Continental Cup which takes place 8/9 September. See full team here>>>
Matt Lynch and Andrew Reid for Athletics Australia