Merritt wins as world champions triumph in Stockholm
Stockholm: American LaShawn Merritt eased to victory in the 400 metres as one of several newly-crowned world champions to shine at the Stockholm Diamond League meeting on Thursday.
Fresh from his success in Moscow earlier this month, Merritt (44.69 seconds) was slower by nearly a second than his time at the world championships but still won by more than half a second from Dominican Republic`s Luguelin Santos.
Compatriot David Oliver, the 110 metres hurdles world champion, also triumphed in his event, while women`s 800 metres runner Eunice Sum, women`s 400 hurdler Zuzana Hejnova and shot putter Valerie Adams were other successful world champions.
Ethiopian women`s 5,000m world and Olympic champion Meseret Defar stormed to victory in the 3,000m to win in 8:30.29, the world`s fastest time this year.
"To be able to come and win just a few days after the world championships is good," Defar said on the website of the sport`s governing body, the IAAF (www.iaaf.org).
"I am so happy for this victory. I ran 14.50 (for the 5,000m) at the world championships, which is not fast for me, so I was able to run well tonight. I`m in good shape."
The women`s high jump event featured eight of the top nine finalists from Moscow and once again Russia`s Svetlana Shkolina came out on top to remain unbeaten this season.
Another world champion Russian, men`s long jumper Aleksandr Menkov, leapt to victory on a chilly night in Stockholm.
Three women earned one-carat diamonds after setting Olympic Stadium records with Czech Republic`s Hejnova running the 400 hurdles in 53.70 seconds, New Zealand`s Adams throwing 20.30 metres in the shot put and Russia`s Mariya Abakumova setting a mark of 68.59 metres in the javelin.
There was an upset in the men`s 1,500m where Kenyan world champion Asbel Kiprop could only finish sixth as Djibouti`s Ayanleh Souleiman took the victory in 3:33.59 in a race that was much faster than in Moscow.