Qatar's Mutaz Barshim won the high jump event at the Monaco Diamond League on Wednesday. The 31-year-old, whose gold at the Eugene World Championships last month was his third global title, famously shared Olympic gold in Tokyo with Gianmarco Tamberi, but the Italian bailed out after just one successful jump, at the opening height of 2.20m, to finish eighth.
It looked for a moment like Barshim might have to share first place with South Korea's Woo Sang-hyeok after both cleared 2.30m but failed at 2.32m with the same jump countback. Barshim promptly won a golden jump-off at 2.30 for victory.
"I feel good about the winning, however, I think I feel a bit tired because of the last couple of weeks with a lot of travels and fast-moving, I think I need to rest and to have a good recovery," he said later.
"Today was like a marathon with too many jumps. I'm tired. I need to recover well now but it's fun, it's always fun to fight among the best. It's really hard to stay focus all the time it's a challenge but it is part of the sport and you need to take that challenge. For this competition, my goal was to win and I did it," Barshim added.
The Qatari superstar said he will return home to train and improve his shortcomings. "Now we will look at the videos with my coach and see what are the technical aspects to improve for the next competition. This season was a bit special because it was rhythmed with ups and downs so it was not easy but you know the most difficult the season is, the win tastes better. My goal until the end of the season is to keep winning," Barshim added.
Meanwhile, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Noah Lyles underlined their dominant sprint seasons with victories at the Monaco Diamond League, as Faith Kipyegon narrowly missed a sensational world record in the 1500m. Jamaica's Fraser-Pryce, fresh from a fifth world 100m title in Eugene last month, clocked a world-leading 10.62 seconds for the win.
The Jamaican's victory in Monaco was her third sub-10.70 run within a week and saw her become the first woman in history to break 10.70 six times in the same season. Her time also smashed the previous meet-best of 10.72sec set by disgraced American Marion Jones in 1998. "I did what I needed to do and we had fun and let the clock do the talking," said Fraser-Pryce.
Lyles, who won the world 200m title last month, also set a meet record, clocking 19.46sec to improve on his previous mark of 19.65 set back in 2018. The American ran a powerful bend in a US clean sweep, getting the better of teenager Erriyon Knighton and world 400m champion Michael Norman.
World and Olympic 1500m champion Kipyegon arguably produced the stand-out performance of an amazing night of track and field. The Kenyan ran the second fastest ever time over the distance as she won in 3:50.37, falling just half a second short of Ethiopian Genezebe Dibaba's world record set in 2015, also in Monaco.
"I have been chasing the time for quite some time but I am happy with the personal best," said Kipyegon, who was left to bolt home alone after both pacesetters had done their jobs. "I knew this was the best place to get the world record but I am so disappointed I lost it in the last metres."
The first world champions' duel of the night saw Briton Jake Wightman obliterate the meet record for a comfortable victory in the 1000m in 2:13.88. Wightman, a shock winner of the world 1500m title in Eugene, kicked with 150 metres to go to reel in Canada's world 800m bronze medallist Marco Arop.
The world 800m champion, Kenya's Emmanuel Korir, ran out of steam and eased up to cross the line in the last position. "I did not really know I was in shape to do this today," said Wightman. "It was just very, very hard," he added. "I had to stay strong to be able to catch him. This is a really nice step towards the European championships in Munich where I will run the 800m."
The other five world gold medallists on show all produced the goods. Two-time Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas won the women's 400m in 49.28sec while American Grant Holloway claimed victory in 12.99sec in the men's 110m hurdles despite arriving in Monaco with no luggage, lost en route from a meet in Hungary.
Australian Kelsey-Lee Barber threw a best of 64.50m to win the women's javelin, but Venezuela's Yulimar Rojas made hard work for the triumph in the women's triple jump, eventually producing a winning effort of 15.01m after unusually opening with three no-marks.