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Barshim prevails in another high jump epic

By John Mehaffey

BIRMINGHAM. England (Reuters) - Mutaz Essa Barshim and Bohdan Bondarenko staged another of the epic men’s high jump duels which have illuminated the 2014 athletics season at the Birmingham Diamond League meeting on Sunday.

Qatar’s world indoor champion Barshim eventually prevailed, winning on a countback with a height of 2.38 meters after both men failed three times at 2.41 meters. Ukrainian Bondarenko, last year’s world outdoor champion, was second with the same height.

"I’m happy, I got the win which is all that matters," Barshim said.

"It’s the battle they are all talking about, Barshim versus Bondarenko. I’ve got a lot of competitions coming up so there is a lot to still compete for.

Bondarenko added: "To jump 2.38 was a good result and second place was okay."

Kenya’s David Rudisha, who produced the finest track performance of the 2012 London Olympics when he broke the world 800 meters world record in the final, failed in an attempt on the world 600 meters mark set in 1986 by American Johnny Gray.

As he did in London, Rudisha led from the start to cross the line in one minute 13.71 seconds, the fourth fastest time ever in an event which rarely features on the program.

"This is my first 600 meters, so I guess it was difficult to judge the pace, it has been a bit of a struggle coming back from injury last year," said Rudisha.

Olympic champion Kirani James, of Grenada, made no contest of the men’s 400 meters, easing to victory in 44.59 seconds. Britain’s new European champion Martyn Rooney finished third.

"I am very pleased with that," James said. "I’ve had a successful end to the season, it’s always good to finish on a high."

POPULAR WINNER

The women’s 400 provided a popular winner in Britain’s world champion Christine Ohuruogu, who ran a conservative first 200 before finishing strongly to win in 51.40.

"I wasn’t expecting that," she said. "I was running down the home straight and saw that I was winning. The time wasn’t all that great but it doesn’t really matter.

Jamaican Kerron Stewart won the women’s 100 in 11.22 seconds after American Tori Bowie failed to finish. Bowie, the fastest woman in the world this year, who had won her heat, limped off the track clutching her left thigh.

Australian Olympic 100 meters hurdles champion Sally Pearson, who was disqualified for a false start at last week’s Stockholm Diamond League meeting, was first out of the blocks on Sunday but was then overhauled by Americans Dawn Harper-Nelson and Queen Harrison, the winner in Stockholm.

Harper-Nelson, the fastest woman in the world this year, edged Harrison to win in 12.66.

New Zealand’s Olympic and world women’s shot put champion Valerie Adams, unbeaten since 2010, extended her winning streak to 55 with a best mark of 19.96 meters.

The meeting ended on a high for the British crowd when European and Commonwealth silver medalist Lynsey Sharp outsprinted the field to win the women’s 800 meters and Mo Farah, who this year added the European 5,000 and 10,000 titles to his two Olympic gold medals, won the men’s two miles in a British record 8:07.85.

(Editing by Josh Reich)

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