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Olympic champion Ruth Beitia of Spain won the women’s High Jump event for the second time in seven days, when she cleared 1.98m to triumph at Saturday’s Meeting Areva hosted in the Stade de France, Paris.
Placing second in the antepenultimate Diamond League meeting was Saint Lucia’s Levern Spencer, who cleared a new season-best mark, matching her best effort the past five years.
Both veteran athletes, the top two competitors in the Diamond Race, had been part of a lacklustre final at Rio 2016. The 37-year-old Spaniard made her first-ever Olympic medal gold, whilst the 32-year-old Caribbean champion placed sixth, her nation’s best finish ever at the Olympic Games.
Levern had leapt to an early lead in the Diamond Race, but her Spanish rival and the defending Diamond League champion has now won for the fourth consecutive stop on the Diamond Legue, with just two more meets to go. Beitia now has 41 points, whilst Levern is on 25.
There is still mathematically hope for Levern, who is the onlty other athlete in contention for the big prize in this year’s Diamond Race. But given the form of the three-time European champion, the Saint Lucian appears likely to have to settle for second when all is said and done.
Saturday’s contest saw several of the Olympic finalists from the previous weekend going at it. But it was always going to be down to these two. Both skipped 1.75, and Levern needed two attempts at 1.80, before both cleared first time at 1.85 and 1.90.
At 1.93, Levern and Italy’s Alessia Trost took two attempts. Inika McPherson of the USA needed three tries, and Olympic silver medalist Mirela Demireva of Bulgaria passed. So six women attempted 1.96, but only Levern and Beitia made it over.
At what would have been tied for a Caribbean record and her personal-best, Levern missed twice, then passed on to 2.00, at which height she retired from the contest. Beitia cleared 1.98 the first time.
The last two stops of the 2016 Diamond League professional track and field circuit will be the Weltklasse Zürich in Switzerland on 1 September, and the Memorial Van Damme in Belgium on 9 September.
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