Canada’s Sarah Mitton opened her Diamond League season with an 18.56-metre throw but couldn’t build off the solid effort, placing fifth in women’s shot put on Sunday in Rabat, Morocco.
After taking the Tucson Elite Classic with a 19.58 performance last weekend in Arizona, she dipped to 18.12 on her second try in Rabat, 18.04 on her fifth and didn’t qualify among the top three for a sixth and final attempt.
Ranked second in the world, Mitton threw 18.98 in Oslo, Norway, 19.90 in Stockholm and 19.44 in Poland last year on the Diamond League professional track and field circuit before a second-place finish at the season finale.
Her coach, Rich Parkinson, said the Brooklyn, NS, athlete spent the indoor season tweaking technique and getting faster and stronger.
“I expect to see her compete and throw well [in the outdoor campaign],” he told CBC Sports recently. “I know she has sights on winning the Diamond League. She isn’t working this hard for a second.”
Athletics Canada’s 2022 field athlete of the year placed in the top three at three of four Diamond League competitions last season and went on to win gold medals at the Commonwealth Games and NACAC Championships in August.
Mitton, who lives in Toronto, opened the indoor season in January setting a national mark of 19.80 and the following month exacted revenge on 2022 Diamond League champion Chase Ealey of the United States, defeating the reigning world champion in Madrid at the World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold series meet.
Mitton, who raised her Canadian record to 20.33 last June at the national championships, will compete at the Meeting de Paris Diamond League event on June 9 and six days later at the Bislett Games in Oslo.
Cameroon-born Portuguese athlete Auriol Dongmo and Jessica Schilder of the Netherlands finished 1-2 in Saturday’s event with respective season bests of 19.28 and 18.85. American Jessica Woodard was third (18.65).
Arop clocks 1:46.34
Elsewhere, Edmonton native Marco Arop ran his first 800-metre race of 2023 and finished fifth in one minute 46.34 seconds at Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium.
The 24-year-old was scheduled to race a 600 at the Atlanta City Games on May 6 but withdrew due to personal reasons, according to coach Chris Woods.
WATCH | Arop 2 seconds behind 800m winner in Rabat:
Emmanuel Wanyonyi (1:44.36) prevailed by 37-100ths of second over Wyclife Kinyamal in a 1-2 Kenyan finish on Sunday. Frenchman Benjamin Robert was third in 1:45.04.
Like Mitton, Arop entered the Diamond League campaign ranked second in the world in his event. He had a trio of top-three Diamond League finishes, including a May 21 victory in Birmingham.
At the Diamond League Final, world No. 1 Emmanuel Korir of Kenya reeled in Arop down the homestretch and passed him just before the finish line to prevail in a season world-leading 1:43.26. Arop crossed in a 1:43.38 SB.
Seven weeks earlier, he was the second Canadian man in history to win a medal in the event at the world championships and was recently named the recipient of the Phil A. Edwards Trophy as 2022 athlete of the year by Athletics Canada.
Kerley holds off Simbine, Omanyala
American Fred Kerley powered past Akani Simbine and Ferdinand Omanyala as he won the men’s 100 in 9.94 seconds.
Kerley, who won silver in the event at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, stormed to victory with a meeting record, using his long strides in the final few meters and giving Simbine (9.99) and Omanyala (10.05) no chance of catching him.
WATCH | Kerley was not surprised by the win, sub-10 second run:
“I can’t describe my happiness for winning this race and hitting the meeting record today,” Kerley said. “This is the result that I was expecting, and I will keep up to achieve and reach the world Championship in the best shape ever.”
Olympic gold medallist Marcell Jacobs did not compete due to a back issue.
In the final event of the night, home hero Soufiane El Bakkali won the 3,000 steeplechase to the delight of the home crowd.
Olympic champion El Bakkali ran a 7:56.68 PB – the fastest time this year – to finish well ahead of Getnet Wale (8:05.15) and Abraham Kibiwot (8:05.51).
“My aim was to break the world record, but I got tired in the last lap. Now I will rest to get ready for the upcoming competitions and especially for the world championships [in August] where my aim is to keep my title,” El Bakkali said.
Ingebrigtsen wins at less than full speed
Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen continued his domination of the men’s 1,500, taking Sunday’s race in 3:32.59, while Gudaf Tsegay won the women’s event.
“I could run faster but it was a bit difficult in the last turn because of the wind. I won the race as I was feeling good and thanks to the training I had,” Ingebrigtsen said.
The Diamond League action shifts to the Golden Gala on June 2 in Florence, Italy.
WATCH | Full coverage of Sunday’s track and field meet in Morocco:
Diamond League calendar
- Florence, Italy — June 2
- Paris — June 9
- Oslo, Norway — June 15
- Lausanne, Switzerland — June 30
- Stockholm — July 2
- Silesia, Poland — July 16
- Monaco — July 21
- London — July 23
- Shanghai — July 29
- Shenzhen, China — Aug. 3
- Zurich — Aug. 31
- Brussels — Sept. 8