A look back at the second half of the 2015 IAAF Diamond League in season, including the finals in Zurich and Brussels.
Paris, 4 July
Wayde van Niekerk became the first African to better 44 seconds for 400m, clocking 43.96. The 22-year-old South African also beat London 2012 Olympic Games champion Kirani James, who was second in 44.17.
Home sprinter Jimmy Vicaut equalled the European 100m record of 9.86 when finishing second behind Asafa Powell, the Jamaican winning in 9.81.
Vicaut’s area record followed those of van Niekerk and Evan Jager, who set a North American record of 8:00.45 in the men’s 3000m steeplechase despite falling at the final barrier when victory seemed and a sub-8:00 time seemed assured. Jairus Birech, of Kenya, won in 7:58.83, a 2015 world-leading time.
The track provided four more 2015 world-leading performances through Kenya’s world 800m champion Eunice Sum, with a personal best of 1:56.99, Jamaica’s world and Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who sped to 10.74, Kenya’s 1500m runner Silas Kiplagat, who won in 3:30.12, and Orlando Ortega, who ran under 13 seconds in the 110m hurdles for the first time with a win in 12.94.
France’s Olympic champion pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie failed to win here for the first time in seven years, only managing 5.71m as Konstadinos Filippidis won with a Greek record of 5.91m.
Nikoleta Kyriakopoulou broke her own Greek record in the women’s vault with a 2015 world-leading 4.83m.
World and Olympic shot put champion Valerie Adams, returning after 10 months out following shoulder and elbow surgery, lost for the first time in 57 meetings, finishing fifth with 18.79m as Christina Schwanitz won with 20.31m.
Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba and Almaz Ayana shared an attack on the 2008 world record of 14:11.15, set by Dibaba’s elder sister Tirunesh, but in vain. Dibaba set a meeting record of 14.15.41, Ayana was second in 14.21.97.
Lausanne, 9 July
Two months after the historic triple jump competition in Doha, Christian Taylor reversed his fortunes against Cuban rival Pedro Pablo Pichardo, winning with 18.06m, a meeting record which equalled the IAAF Diamond League record set by Pichardo in Qatar.
The 2012 Olympic champion produced a fifth round effort of 18.02m and then added four centimetres to it after Pichardo had managed 17.99m in the third round.
Despite blustery winds, Russia’s Olympic high jump champion Anna Chicherova won with 2.03m, which was remain the top mark in 2015.
David Storl won the shot put with 22.20m, the best outdoor mark by a European thrower since Ulf Timmerman’s Olympic win in 1988.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Olympic javelin champion Keshorn Walcott won with a national and meeting record of 90.16m.
Another 2012 Olympic champion, 800m man David Rudisha, was second in 1:43.76 behind the man who took silver in London, Botswana’s Nijel Amos, who won in 1:43.27.
Allyson Felix ran 22.09 to win the 200m from Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands, who clocked a season’s best of 22.29.
Justin Gatlin won the 100m in 9.75, 0.01 off his world-leading time in Rome.
Monaco, 17 July
Genzebe Dibaba made history with a world 1500m record of 3:50.07, surpassing Qu Yunxia’s mark of 3:50.46, set at the 1993 Chinese National Games.
After world indoor 800m champion Chanelle Price had paced her through 400m in 1:00.31 and 800m in 2:04.52 the Ethiopian still had European champion Sifan Hassan for company as she passed the bell in 2:50.3, but she kicked on for a monumental win.
Six women ran faster than four minutes. Hassan clocked a national record of 3:56.05 in second place, while Shannon Rowbury broke the North American record with 3:56.29 in third.
The men’s 1500m, though not in the Diamond Race, saw a record four men running faster than 3:29:00.
Kenya’s Asbel Kiprop became third fastest in history, missing the world record by just 0.69 when clocking 3:26.69.
Algeria’s Olympic champion Taoufik Makhloufi clocked a lifetime best of 3:28.75 in second, with Morocco’s 2012 world indoor champion Abdalaati Iguider third in 3:28.79, and Great Britain’s Mo Farah fourth in 3:28.93.
American Joe Kovacs won the shot put with 22.56m, the best throw seen since 2003, a Diamond League record and eighth best ever.
Amel Tuka, a 24-year-old from Bosnia and Herzegovina, marked his Diamond League debut with a surprise 800m win in a national record of 1:42.51, which was to be the fastest time of the season.
London, 24-25 July
Despite a chilly headwind, Usain Bolt improved his placing from 62nd to eighth on the 2015 100m world list on the rain swept opening day, when winning in 9.87.
The two-day meeting concluded in warmer conditions as Dafne Schippers took 0.02 off her Dutch 100m record, winning in 10.92.
Britain’s 19-year-old Dina Asher-Smith – a kit carrier in this stadium during the London 2012 Games – was fourth in 11.06, but had become the first British woman to break 11 seconds in her heat when clocking 10.99.
Her British record was followed by another in the long jump from Shara Procter, who won with 6.98m.
Like Bolt, Britain’s Mo Farah made a winning return to the scene of his 2012 Olympic victory as he took the 3000m in 7:34.66.
But neither of Farah’s fellow home gold medallists of 2012 experienced the winning feeling.
Heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill was fifth in the 100m hurdles, clocking 12.79 in a race won by USA’s Jasmin Stowers in 12.47 while Greg Rutherford – the third winner on ‘Super Saturday’ – had to settle for 8.18m and third place in a long jump competition won by USA’s Marquis Dendy with 8.38m.
After instigating a postponement of the men’s pole vault during the opening night’s rain, Renaud Lavillenie returned to win with a stadium and meeting record of 6.03m.
Stockholm, 30 July
On a chilly evening at Stockholm’s 1912 Olympic stadium, Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce re-stated her 100m credentials as she won in 10.93.
Greg Rutherford produced three long jumps beyond the reach of any of his competitors, including home European indoor champion Michel Torneus, the Briton’s best being 8.34m.
Caterine Ibarguen extended her winning run to 28 competitions as she produced five efforts superior to her triple jump rivals, with a best of 14.69m.
Zuzana Hejnova, fit again and seeking to defend her women’s 400m world title, followed up a win in London with victory in 54.37.
Christina Schwanitz effectively secured her first Diamond Race title as she won the shot put with a best effort of 20.13m, with world and Olympic champion Valerie Adams, struggling following her comeback from surgery, finishing a gloomy fourth with 18.69m.
Cuba’s Olympic silver medallist Yarisley Silva won the women’s pole vault with 4.81m after a tactical battle with Greece’s Diamond Race leader Nikoleta Kyriakopoulou and Brazil’s 2011 world champion Fabiana Murer.
Zurich, 3 September
The first of the two Diamond League finals saw 16 of the 32 Diamond Race champions confirmed – with the accompanying perk of a cheque for US $40,000, a Diamond Trophy and a wild card entry for the next IAAF World Championships.
With double points on offer, 10 athletes cut through the calculations to claim the spoils with concluding victories, while six others found that second place did the trick overall.
One of the highlights was the women’s 3000m clash between Ethiopia’s world 1500m record holder and world champion Genzebe Dibaba and her compatriot Almaz Ayana, who had beaten her to the world 5000m title.
Ayana won in 8:22.34 but second place in 8:26.54 was enough to earn Dibaba the Diamond Race for the 3000m/5000m category.
Three other world gold medallists maintained their pre-eminence in the Diamond Trophy just four days after the end of the IAAF World Championships.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce earned the 100m spoils in 10.93, Greg Rutherford won the long jump with 8.32m and Zuzana Hejnova showed her supremacy in the 400m hurdles with a win in 54.57.
Three-time world 1500m champion Asbel Kiprop and Panama’s 200m specialist Alonso Edward arrived in Zurich lagging behind in their respective Diamond Races, but victories in the Swiss city sufficed for them to come out on top.
Kiprop, tenth at the bell, surged to win in 3:35.79 while Edward clocked 20.03.
Ivana Spanovic won the women’s long jump, adding a centimetre to her Serbian record with a final effort of 7.02m, but the overall win went to USA’s second-placed Tianna Bartoletta, who jumped 6.97m.
Grenada’s 2012 Olympic 400m champion Kirani James also won the war despite losing the battle as although he finished second in 44.28 behind USA’s LaShawn Merritt of the United States, who won in 44.18, that was enough to defend his Diamond Race title.
Similarly, newly-crowned world discus champion Piotr Malachowski was beaten by fellow Pole Robert Urbanek, 65.78m to 65.04, but took the big prize.
Second place in the men’s 3000m steeplechase in 8:15.64 behind fellow Kenyan Paul Kipsiele Koech (8:10.24) earned Jairus Kipchoge Birech his Diamond Trophy.
Despite being beaten by Russia’s newly established world 110m hurdles champion Sergey Shubenkov, who won in 13.15, USA’s David Oliver of the United States – second in 13.30 – also proved triumphant overall.
A shot put of 19.91m earned Christina Schwanitz of Germany registered a fifth Diamond League win in 2015, and her first Diamond Trophy.
Kenya’s Eunice Sum also won her fifth Diamond League race of the season, clocking 1:59.14 to earn her third consecutive 800m Diamond Race.
A winning effort of 64.31m earned world javelin record holder Barbora Spotakova her fourth Diamond Trophy. Mutaz Essa Barshim – like Spotakova, he left Beijing without a world championships medal, won the high jump Diamond Race with a clearance of 2.32m.
Victory with a clearance of 4.77m earned Greece’s Nikoleta Kyriakopoulou overall honours in the pole vault.
Brussels, 11 September
Renaud Lavillenie maintained his status as the only athlete in the world to have won every Diamond Race since the series began in 2010.
Only world indoor champion Konstadinos Filippidis had a chance of denying the Frenchman his perfect six pole vault titles, but Lavillenie cleared 5.95m to earn victory.
Habiba Ghribi of Tunisia won the women’s 3000m steeplechase in 9:05.36, the fastest time since Russia’s Gulnara Galkina set the world record of 8:58.81 at the 2008 Olympic Games.
It was a Diamond League and African record, but the Diamond Race went to Kenya’s sixth-placed Virginia Nyambura, who began the season as a pacemaker.
Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon also ran an African record in the mile, 4:16.71, the fastest time for 19 years. Sifan Hassan, second in a Dutch record of 4:18.20, won the 1500m/mile Diamond Race.
In the men’s 5000m Diamond Race, whoever won would also take the Diamond Race, and that winner was Ethiopia’s 17-year-old Yomif Kejelcha, who produced the best time of 2015, 12:53.98.
The season-long and attention-grabbing Diamond League triple jump rivalry between 2012 Olympic champion Christian Taylor and Cuba’s Pedro Pablo Pichardo finally went in favour of the American as he earned the decisive victory with 17.59m.
USA’s Joe Kovacs and the man whose world title he took in Beijing, Germany’s David Storl were level on points coming into the final, but an effort of 21.35m proved enough to give Kovacs his first Diamond Trophy as he finished third behind New Zealand winner Tom Walsh, who won with 21.39m, but crucially one place ahead of Storl.
Third place was also enough to secure Spain’s 36-year-old Ruth Beitia a first Diamond Race win as she cleared 1.93m, with Russia’s world champion Maria Kuchina wining when she equalled her personal best of 2.01m#
In Brussels, Sandra Perkovic and Caterine Ibarguen became the only athletes to claim six Diamond League wins in 2015.
Despite losing her world discus title to Cuba’s Denia Caballero, Perkovic – who only needed to compete in Brussels to confirm her fourth Diamond Race win – earned revenge with a winning throw of 67.50m.
Ibarguen was also out of reach in terms of Diamond Race points, but went from third to first with a final effort of 14.60m for her 30th successive win.
World 200m champion Dafne Schippers ran 22.12 to win the 200m by 0.10 from 400m world champion Allyson Felix, but the latter earned the Diamond Trophy.
Second place also meant a Diamond Trophy for Felix’s compatriots Francena McCorory in the 400m and Bershawn Jackson in the 400m hurdle, and also for Botswana’s Nijel Amos in the 800m.
Three US 100m hurdlers arrived level on Diamond Race points but Dawn Harper-Nelson won in 12.63 to finish the race in Brussels and also the season-long Diamond Race ahead of compatriots Sharika Nelvis and Jasmin Stowers.
Justin Gatlin earned his third consecutive Diamond Trophy in the 100m and javelin throw of 87.37m meant Tero Pitkamaki became the first Finnish athlete to win a Diamond Race.