Sensing she was on track for her first-ever Diamond League victory, Alysha Newman turned up the heat on a warm Saturday evening in Paris.
The 25-year-old broke her Canadian record for a third time this season with a personal-best 4.82-metre clearance on her third and final attempt at the Meeting de Paris to defeat Olympic and world champion Katerina Stefanidi of Greece.
WATCH | Alysha Newman jumps personal-best 4.82m in Paris:
Alysha Newman wins pole vault in Paris by clearing 4.82m, sets new Canadian record. 0:52
“I’m doing everything I can to win my first Diamond League meet and that’s where my head is at,” Newman told CBC Sports earlier this week from Germany before clearing 4.50 for the win at the Festungsspringen International Pole Vault Meet.
Newman will battle for the Diamond Trophy and $ 50,000 US first price on Sept. 6 in Brussels after finishing third behind Stefanidi (4.85) — the three-time defending Diamond League champion — and Morris (4.75) at the 2017 Diamond League final in Belgium.
“I think what I’ve learned the most about Katerina is how consistent she is,” said Newman, who won her third Canadian title in the past four years last month in Montreal. “Any day she competes, she knows she could jump between 4.60 and 4.75 and Diamond League meets are being won this season at 4.75, 4.80.”
The Diamond League mark of 5.00 belongs to world No. 2 Morris of the United States, who like Stefanidi cleared 4.75 on Saturday but had five missed attempts to her opponent’s four to finish third.
3-time Canadian champion
Saturday’s victory was the first for Newman in five meetings on the Diamond League circuit this season against Stefanidi. The Canadian entered Saturday’s competition brimming with confidence after placing second to the Greek athlete at the Müller Grand Prix last Sunday in Birmingham, U.K.
WATCH | Newman jumps 4.65m to finish 2nd in Birmingham:
Alysha Newman finishes second in the women’s pole vault event in Birmingham with clearance of 4.65 metres. 0:41
Newman achieved her goal of clearing every bar on the first attempt last weekend, jumping 4.65 before calling it a day as swirling winds at Alexander Stadium made it too dangerous for her and others to continue. Stefanidi managed to get a tailwind on her third and final attempt at 4.75 and won the event.
“I was ready to jump higher, was in a good spot [mentally] and thought I was going to have an attempt at 4.82,” said Newman. “It’s very hard to win in Diamond League. For me to be one step closer, I’m excited and feel this is my year to win one.”
Newman cleared 4.77 on her third attempt on July 17 to finish on top of the podium at the Stabhochsprung Jockgrim meet in Germany, less than six weeks after jumping 4.76 at the Speed River Inferno track and field meet in Guelph, Ont.
McBride in top form for Diamond League final
Brandon McBride prepared for his first Diamond League final on Aug. 29 in Zurich, Switzerland, with a season-best performance on Saturday.
The native of Windsor, Ont., went out quickly in the men’s 800 metres and stayed behind pacesetter Harun Adba throughout before a visibly exhausted McBride held off Wesley Vazquez of Puerto Rico over the final 100 metres to post a winning time of one minute 43.78 seconds.
The race wasn’t a points-scoring Diamond League event, but McBride had already secured his spot in next week’s season finale, having entered Saturday’s competition fifth in the standings.
McBride’s previous fastest 800 this season was 1:43.83, set at a Diamond League meet in Monaco on July 12.
The 25-year-old was coming off his third Canadian title in four years and fourth overall after clocking 1:44.63 on July 27 in Montreal.
Vazquez’s time of 1:43.83 is a Puerto Rican record, while Michael Saruni of Kenya was third in 1:44.41.
Lyles breaks Bolt’s meet record in 200m
Aaron Brown, who repeated as Canadian champion in the 200 metres on July 28, finished third on Saturday in 20.13 seconds.
The 27-year-old began the day having already secured a berth in the Diamond League final on Sept. 6 in Brussels.
Noah Lyles of the United States eclipsed eight-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt’s meet record of 19.73, beating his closest competitor, Ramil Guliyev of Turkey, by three metres with a winning time of 19.65. His season- and personal-best is 19.50, set on July 5 in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Guliyev, the reigning world champion, clocked 20.01 but hasn’t dipped under 20 seconds since his season-opening victory in 19.99 on May 3 in Doha, Qatar.
Diamond League on CBC Sports
CBC Sports is providing live streaming coverage of all 14 Diamond League meets this season at CBCSports.ca and via the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices. TV coverage will be featured as part of the network’s Road To The Olympic Games weekend broadcasts throughout the season.
The following is a list of upcoming Diamond League meets, all times ET:
- Diamond League final, Zurich (Aug. 29, 2–4 p.m.)
- Diamond League final, Brussels (Sept. 6, 2–4 p.m.)
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