In cool, dry conditions, the Norwegian capital played host to a plethora of world-class athletes inside the Bislett Stadium - with Usain Bolt’s 200m and Meseret Defar’s 5,000m stunning victories providing the highlights.
Six-time Olympic and world champion, Usain Bolt lived up to his billing as the event’s star attraction is scorching to an impressive 19.79 world lead and meeting record in winning the 200m to close the event in thrilling style.
The Jamaican sprint superstar’s headline performance will have pleased both himself and the organisers, following concerns from his shock defeat in Rome last week and having tonight eclipsed Nambia’s Frankie Fredericks’ stadium best dating back to 1996.
26-year-old Bolt spoke of his seasonal debut over the half-lap distance afterwards:“Very chilly today but I ran as fast I could and as I promised. It was good so I can’t complain. “Now back to Jamaica to prepare for the World’s (Championships, in Moscow in August). Definitely my goals are remaining the same, to be the best in the world and win three gold medals in Moscow. “I’m never worried, never focus on somebody else. And my dream is also to break 19-seconds in the 200m.”
In second place, local star and European 100m bronze medallist, Jaysuma Saidy Ndure clocked a 20.36 season’s best.
In her specialist event, Olympic 5,000m champion Meseret Defar stormed ahead in the final 250m to an emphatic 14.26.90 victory and world-lead over twelve and a half laps.
The 29-year-old Ethiopian turned the tables on her fellow countrywoman, Genzebe Dibaba who beat her in Shanghai last month as the 22-year-old relinquished in third place behind Kenya’s Viola Jelagat-Kibiwot in a 14:37.68 season’s best to the latter’s 14:33.48 lifetime best.
Improving her season’s best by 21-seconds and the world leading mark by 15-seconds, Defar exclaimed:“I felt very comfortable through the race - I knew I was in shape. Before Shanghai I was sick and was nearly cancelling the race, here I was ok. “I think I’m even in world record shape but was not confident enough to try it. This year, the main goal is the 5,000m but I think I will have a surprise for my fans, you will see in due time.”
For Jelagat-Kibiwot meanwhile, the performance was her first inside in the top-two positions, following two fourth-place finishes in Doha (over 1,500m) and in Shanghai.
Zuzana Hejenova continued her excellent run of form during her breakthrough season, storming to an impressive 53.60 season’s best in the 400m hurdles to take her third-successive Diamond League victory. The 26-year-old Czech added to her wins in both Shanghai and Eugene and thus extends her lead in the Diamond League standings.
Hejenova revealed: “This is the toughest of victories this year - of course it’s a good feeling to win all of the races so far. “It was the first race in which I had somebody ahead of me when entering the home straight. In these conditions, to run a season’s best is very special.”
Behind the Olympic bronze medallist, Britain’s European indoor 400m champion Perri Shakes-Drayton clocked a 54.03 season’s best for second place.
In the shortest event of the evening, Bulgaria’s Ivet Lalova overcame a troubled journey to Norway in speeding to a surprise and narrow 100m victory over world indoor 60m silver medallist, Murielle Ahoure with 11.04 to the Ivory Coast sprinter’s 11.05. The 29-year-old European outdoor champion explained:“My goal was to win this race and to protect my territory but before the race, everything went wrong. “Because of my flight cancellation, I arrived in the hotel only at 1:30am then I lost my measuring tape so I could not prepare my starting blocks as I wanted – but sometimes everything is wrong at the beginning and great at the end.”
Russia’s Olympic bronze medallist, Svetlana Shkolina caused a surprise in beating Olympic and world champion, Anna Chicherova into third in the high jump.
After sharing the victory with her compatriot in Rome last week, Shkolina leapt 1.97m to push European outdoor bronze medallist, Emma Green-Tregaro of Sweden (1.95m) into second place. The winner said afterwards:“I was confident today and opened at 1.90m but could not get my best rhythm due to the cold weather. But this was a good win for me and now I must qualify for the World Championships.”
The winner here in 2006 and each year between 2008 and 2010, Chicherova left the competition at 1.95m – a full seven centimetres below her season’s best in third position, whilst two-time world champion, Blanca Vlasic will be disappointed with 1.85m and fifth place as she continues her return from a long-term Achilles injury.
In the pole vault, Germany’s Silke Spielgelburg enjoyed a tight battle with Greece’s Nikoleta Kryiakopoulou, with the 27-year-old 2010 European runner-up taking victory with a 4.65m season’s best to Kryiakopoulou’s 4.60m season’s best in her first competition outside of her home nation this summer.
Spielgelburg explained: “I was not competing in the last eight months due to my studies, I’m coming back step by step and this is an important win at a big event and I should go higher and higher.
Meanwhile, Brazil’s world champion, Fabiana Murer endured an off-day in failing to progress at her opening 4.50m height. Saudi Arabia’s Youssef Ahmed-Masrahi went one better than in the Rome Diamond League a week ago in taking the plaudits in the 400m, with a 45.33 clocking and captured his nation’s first ever victory in a Diamond League running event in the process.
The 25-year-old finished clear of runner-up and Olympic 4x400m gold medallist, Ramon Miller of the Bahamas, who registered a 45.58 season’s best.
In the women’s two-lap event, Russia’s Olympic bronze medallist, Yekaterina Poistogova sped to a 1:59.39 season’s best, winning ahead of European indoor champion, Nataliya Lupu of the Ukraine (1:59.59).
Kenya’s two-time Olympic and world 3,000m steeplechase champion, Ezekiel Kemboi again suffered defeat to the man who caused his disqualification in Eugene - world junior champion, Conseslus Kipruto.
The 18-year-old registered 8:04.48 to Kemboi’s 8:07.00 as he strode ahead for his third-successive Diamond League victory.
In the triple jump, Colombia’s Caterine Ibarguen continued made it three out of three victories on the Diamond League circuit over her Ukrainian rival Olha Saladukha, leaping a best of 14.81m to Saladukha’s 14.56m.
The 29-year-old Olympic runner-up of course leads the Diamond League race after additional wins in Shanghai and Eugene, and was only 4cm adrift off the season’s world-lead held by her contemporary.
European champion Vitezslav Vesely took his second Diamond League victory after Doha in May in claiming the javelin with a 85.96m throw.
The 27-year-old Czech finished over a metre clear of his nearest challenger, Finland’s Tero Pitkamaki – the 2007 world champion registered a best of 84.74m.
Local star Andreas Thorkildsen finished in sixth place with a lacklustre 80.99m effort, whilst Olympic champion also had a tough day at the office, finishing tenth and last with 77.03m.
In the long jump, Britain’s 24-year-old Shara Proctor followed up her second-place finish in New York and third in Rome by taking victory with a 6.89m leap from France’s European champion, Eloyse Lesueur (6.68m).
Further adrift with a 6.65m best effort for third place, was Russia’s Olympic silver Yelena Sokolova.
Estonia’s 2008 Olympic champion, Gerd Kanter caused a surprise in taking top points in the discus with a 65.53m best effort ahead of Olympic runner-up Ehsan Hadadi of Iran (64.63m).
The 34-year-old additionally took the impressive scalp of current world-leader, Piotr Malachowski with the Polish athlete dramatically failing to register a valid throw in his three attempts.
Germany’s European indoor champion Christina Schwanitz took the shot put honours by almost two-metres with a 20.10m throw, over her countrywoman and continental outdoor champion, Nadine Kleinert (18.17m).
Britain’s world indoor silver medallist, Tiffany Porter claimed an easy victory in the 100m hurdles, clocking 12.76 to Belgium’s Sara Aerts (12.95).
Finally, Djibouti’s Ayanleh Souleiman improved from fourth place in Eugene to first in the Dream Mile, clocking 3:50.53 ahead of Kenya’s Nixon Kiplimo-Chepseba who registered a 3:50.95 lifetime best.