The meeting started with a minute’s applause in honour of Robert Waseige, who passed away in Liège at the age of 79 last Wednesday. The international programme got off to a flying start when one of the meeting records was broken. This was no surprise as the women’s 400 metres was the first event on the programme in Liège. Tia-Adana Bell from Barbados did not just stand out for her blue hair but also for her fast time: 53.85. That was enough for her to beat American Asha Ruth and Lenora Guion Firmin from France. The men’s 400 metres was cut out for Femi Ogunode from Qatar, and formerly from Nigeria, with 46.33, his best time this season.
In pole-vaulting, we were looking forward to a duel between the Belgians, but it was the Dutch who took the top two places. German Malte Mohr did not manage to convince at all with 5m11 – his personal record is considerably higher: 5m91.
Our compatriot Frederick Ausloos came sixth by matching his personal record that he jumped in Cologne at the end of June: 5.31. Arnaud Art, who was good for a Belgian record with 5.72 in Liège last year, did not manage to surpass 5.51 this time. Ben Broeders on the other hand did, at his first attempt no less. However, the new Belgian record holder with 5.76 did not go any higher than 5.61 after that.
‘I am fairly satisfied, but I also have to catch up on some sleep’, said the athlete who recently won bronze in Naples at the Universiade. ‘I am going to rest for a week now, recharge my batteries in readiness for the second half of the season. After that, I will be starting to build up to the Doha World Championship (27/9 to 6/10)’, added Broeders. The victory went to Rutger Koppelaar from the Netherlands who vaulted over 5.71, beating his fellow countryman Menno Vloon (5.61).
Selamawit Dagnachew narrowly won the women’s 1500 metres with 4.11.37 finishing just in front of Sarah Inglis with 4.11.51. Both athletes broke their personal records. Kazuto Iizawa from Japan won the same distance in the men’s competition even though Israeli Necho Tayachew was in the lead until just before the finish line in that race. In the end, he had to console himself with third place.
The women’s 100-metres victory went to Michelle Lee Ahye with 11.25. Imke Vervaet came third with 11.75. In the men’s race, pocket sprinter (1m74, 68 kilo) Cejhae Greene from Antigua won (10.26). He surprised the favourite, Hyman Khemar, who came second with 10.36.
The highlight of the evening without a doubt was the 300-metres competition, in which South Africa’s rising star Clarence Munyai raced at a top speed of 32.45, this year’s best performance. He was unable to beat the meeting record, which remains in the hands of Jonathan Borlée with 31.87 (set in 2012). Janis Leitis (32.93) and Tobias Lange (32.94) completed the line-up. Camille Snyders came fifth with 33.63.
The women’s high jump competition (won by Levern Spencer with 1.86) and long jump were disappointing. Hungary’s Anasztazia Nguyen beat the rest by jumping 6.36. Hanne Maudens did not end the evening with a feeling of satisfaction. The heptathlete finished sixth with a jump of 5.41.
In the 100 metres hurdles, Anne Zagré was victorious with 13.23 because she ? in her own words – ‘made a couple of mistakes at the start of the race’. Petra McDonald’s false start undoubtedly disturbed the athletes’ concentration. Zagré beat Beate Schrott (13.27) and Eline Berings (13.36), a satisfying result after her return to the competition.
Our compatriot Elise Vanderelst’s performance in the 800 metres was another boost. She specialises in the 1500m, but achieved a good result coming third with a personal record of 2.03.66. Victory went to Kenya’s Emily Tuei Jerotich with 2.02.30.
There was another meeting record broken in the 3000 metres steeplechase to end the evening in style. Canadian Geneviève Lalonde finished with a time of 9.32.90.