London Stadium, scene of some thrilling athletics during the 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championships, hosted the opening session of the inaugural Athletics World Cup on Saturday night.
The event, a competition between the top 8 athletics nations, namely USA, France, Jamaica, Germany, China, Britain, South Africa and Poland, sees them challenge for the Platinum Trophy, the most expensive sporting trophy ever made, costing over $250,000.
Each nation is only allowed one athlete in every event, with the winner gaining 8 points, the silver medal winner 7 points and 6 points are won by the bronze medal winner. The points continue in descending order down to 1 point for the eight place finisher in each of the 34 events, 17 of which are held each of the two nights.
Poland began the opening night well when three-time world champion Anita Wlodarczyk threw a season’s best of 78.74m to win the Women’s Hammer. Michal Haratyk added to Poland’s early success when his third-round effort of 21.95m won the Men’s Shot Putt.
Karol Hoffman jumped a season’s best 16.74m in the Men’s Triple Jump to give the Poles their third field event win. His more fancied rivals Donald Scott of the USA and 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Godfrey Mokoena were second and third respectively.
Sofia Ennaoui of Poland claimed Women’s 1,500m glory, clocking 4:07.66, while her compatriot Adam Kszczot had to settle for the silver medal behind American Clayton Murphy in the Men’s 800m.
Britain’s captain Lorraine Ugen took victory in the Women’s Long jump with a 6.86m jump, while her compatriot Holly Bradshaw won the Women’s Pole Vault with 4.75m.
Jamaican Janieve Russell claimed the maximum eight points with her Women’s 400m Hurdles gold, winning comfortably in a time of 55.10. Stephanie Ann McPherson added to the team’s points total when winning the Women’s 400m in 50.98, and Fedrick Dacres secured further success for the Jamaicans in the Men’s Discus when winning with a big throw of 65.32m.
Chinese national record holder Zhenye Xie stormed to victory in the Men’s 200m, crossing the line in 20.25 to fend off newly-crowned South African national champion Luxolo Adams.
Pascal Martinot-Lagarde of France set a season’s best time of 13.22 in winning the Men’s 110m Hurdles, while South African Sunette Viljoen won the Women’s Javelin with her final round throw of 61.69m.
American Ashley Henderson held off reigning Olympic champion Elaine Thompson of Jamaica in a thrilling Women’s 100m in 11.07.
Courtney Okolo gave the USA victory in the Women’s 4x400m relay when, as the anchor runner, she prevented the individual 400m champion Stephanie Ann McPherson of Jamaica from overtaking her in the home straight, with the Americans winning by one hundredth of a second.
USA beat Jamaica in the Men’s 4x100m in a time of 38.42, while the Americans extended their opening night lead thanks to Jeron Robinson’s 2.30m High Jump clearance when he won the final event of the 17 on Saturday night.
At the half way stage of the two-night inaugural Athletics World Cup, USA leads with 109 points, ahead of France on 85. Poland and Jamaica are next on 77 points each, with Britain on 74. South Africa’s total is 73, Germany is on 58, while China brings up the rear on 46 points.