Laswhawn Merritt (400m), Eunice Sum (800m), Caterine Ibarguen (triple jump) and Valerie Adams (shot put) all won their events, meaning that after two rounds, they have 100% records to defend heading into their next appearances.
Kaliese Spencer had already accrued six points in the 400m hurdles, having placed 2nd in Doha and won in Eugene, so her victory in the Italian capital moved her to ten points overall, giving her a commanding lead as she seeks to reclaim the crown that she won in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Piotr Malachowski (discus) and Martina Ratej (javelin) could only pick up two points each at the Golden Gala, but retained their Diamond Race leads, courtesy of the fact that the victors, Robert Harting and Barbora Spotakova, were making their first appearances in this year’s IAAF Diamond League.
Both will know, however, that when it comes to the crunch at the end of the season, the one and two points picked up for second and third placed finishes can make all the difference as the diamonds are handed out.
So, while seven events saw their leaders retain their advantage, four others saw athletes add sufficient points in Rome to move ahead of their rivals.
The men’s triple jump was another event, like the women’s 400m hurdles, appearing for the third time in 2014 and Will Claye made it eight points from the two that meetings that he had contested. The American showed no sign of jet-lag, having been victorious in Eugene only a few days previously. Claye has eight points to previous leader Lyukman Adams’s five, as the Russian, World Indoor champion who won in Doha and was third in Eugene, didn’t make the journey to Italy.
In contrast, the 100m hurdlers were making their seasonal debuts, meaning that whoever picked up the four points on offer would be sure to top the standings. That athlete was Brianna Rollins on her IAAF Diamond League debut, although multiple Diamond Race winner Dawn Harper-Nelson was a close second and will still carry strong hopes of retaining her title.
Cuba’s Yarisley Silva (pole vault) and Kenya’s Silas Kiplagat also picked up maximum points to add to runners up finishes in Doha to relegate Nikoleta Kyriakopoulu and Asbel Kiprop.in the standings While Kyriakopoulou was absent from Rome due to injury, Kiprop picked up a point for his third place, meaning the gap between himself and his Kenyan teammate is as narrow as it is possible to be at this early stage of the season.
In five further events co-leaders of the Diamond Races were established. With Ivan Ukhov (high jump), Ezekiel Kemboi (3000m steeplechase) and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (100m) leaving Rome empty handed after finishing outside of their respective top threes, Mutaz Barshim, Jairus Birech and Tori Bowie, who picked up a surprise four points in the 200m in Eugene, were able to take advantage. Their first points of the season came from victories in Rome.
Alonso Edward and Genzebe Dibaba also made the most of the fact that Nickel Ashmeade (200m) and Hellen Obiri (5000m) elected not to compete on Thursday, by securing four points.
With meetings in both Oslo and New York in the coming eight days, athletes across all 32 events in the Diamond Race will have the opportunity to move up the standings on the journey to Zurich and Brussels.
Dean Hardman for the IAAF Diamond League