Watt wins, Birmingham brave at London Grand Prix

Mitchell Watt has consolidated his position as the world’s top long jumper, while Collis Birmingham was rewarded with a new personal best in the 5000m after brave running on the first day of the London Grand Prix.

Watt extended his season’s best by seven centimetres by leaping to 8.28m (+1.0 m/s), defeating local favourite Chris Tomlinson (8.26m) and South Africa’s Godfrey Mokoena (8.24m). While the mark is only the sixth longest jump in the world this year, head-to-head the world championships silver medallist is undefeated in his three international outings so far this season.

“Obviously the Olympics is a massive goal but I want to win the Diamond League as well,” said Watt.

“I think in round three I went down to third or maybe even fourth so it was really good to hit back straight away. Literally the jump after I lost the lead I got it again.

“That sort of head-to-head stuff is what I’ve been focusing on, as well as getting a good jump out early. I think I ticked all the boxes today.”

The men’s 5000m saw a dominant display from 10000m world champion Mo Farah, who dragged second placed Collis Birmingham to a new personal best of 13:09.57. The performance moves him to second on the Australian all-time list.

Farah hit the lead with two laps remaining and produced a 1:53.5 final 800m at the end of the 5000m to take 30 metres out of the Birmingham, who held on to the Briton until the final lap.

“I was really pleased obviously, it’s funny I knew I was in good shape and actually had a bit of a head-cold, flu-type thing. I think you know you’re in good shape when you don’t let that sort of stuff bother you and come out and run your own race. It was a slow race so to run a PB off a slow race is good,” Birmingham said.

“For me it’s about coming top five and making it to that Olympic final. I know there’s going to be a few different people in there, like Paris (Diamond league) the other week was stacked but I think if I can come out and think about finishing top five and setting that as my mark, then hopefully come the heats I’ll be in the top five and make it through to the final.

“It’s my goal and I’ll be happy to reassess it once I make the final and set another goal.”

Craig Mottram was seventh in 13:23.85 and Ben St Lawrence ninth in 13:37.35.

Steve Hooker’s international form slump continued, with the Beijing gold medallist no heighting in his second consecutive competition. Difficult conditions saw favourite for London, Renaud Lavenille bow out after only clearing 5.40m for fifth place, with Germany’s Born Otto winning with a jump of 5.74m.

Other athletes to compete included Kaila McKnight and Zoe Buckman, who were eighth and ninth respectively in the women’s 1500m in times of 4:10.49 and 4:12.82; Eloise Wellings, tenth in the 5000m in 15:47.81; Henry Frayne, ninth in the long jump with 7.78m; and discus throwers Benn Harradine and Scott Martin, who threw 57.34m and 55.13m respectively.

The second day of the London Grand Prix will feature Sally Pearson in the 100m hurdles; Ryan Gregson and Jeff Riseley in the Emsley Carr mile; and javelin throwers Kim Mickle and Kathryn Mitchell.

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