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Anniversary Games round-up: Muir eases to 1500m victory

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Laura Muir

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ByBen Grounds
20/07/2019 at 17:14 | Updated 20/07/2019 at 17:15

Home favourite Laura Muir destroyed the field in the 1500m to claim victory at the Anniversary Games in London on Saturday.

Muir finished in a time of three minutes 58.25 seconds as she saw off the challenge of Kenya's Winny Chebet during a breath-taking last lap.

The Scot was too fast for the German Konstanze Klosterhalfen in the final 150 metres, and has already turned her attentions to medalling in the World Championships in Doha later this year.

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European champion Laura Muir eased to victory in the women's 1500m

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"There's huge strength in depth of the fields here, so you can run a world lead at one event and then someone else will do it at the next," said Muir.

It really helps keep pushing you on. It's great to have so much competition. My goal now is to win a medal in Doha.

Meanwhile, the biggest cheer on the opening day of the two-day meeting at the London Stadium was reserved for James Ellington, who took part in his first 100m race following a motorbike accident in 2017.

Ellington finished in last place in his heat (10.93 seconds), but the 33-year-old hadn't even attempted the full distance in training due to pain issues.

James Ellington received one of the biggest cheers at London Stadium

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"In the warm-up area, I could feel my pelvis," said Ellington. "I had a massive backflip two or three days ago where I couldn't walk.

But with everything I've been through so far, there was no way on the planet I was not going to make that start line. You'd have had to chop off my legs.

Zharnel Hughes won the heat involving Ellington, but South African Akani Simbine pulled off something of a surprise in the 100m final, holding off Hughes and former world champion Yohan Blake to come home in 9.93 seconds.

Hughes had clocked an impressive 9.96 in the heats, despite easing up and running into a slight headwind but after an early stumble he was always trailing in the final, posting 9.95.

Akani Simbine of South Africa celebrates victory in the Men's 100m Final

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Blake, the joint-second fastest man of all time with his 9.69 set in 2012, is getting back towards his best and continued his good season with third in 9.97 as the top five all broke 10 seconds.

Simbini has been knocking at the door for a few years, with fifth places in the Olympics and world championships and gold at the Commonwealth Games and African championships and now looks equipped to challenge the best of the United States at this year's worlds in Doha in September. He said:

I'm really happy with the time. I came here to make sure I got the win to build confidence and I came away with a season's best.

"It's about getting through the races and winning them so by the time I get to world champs and I'm facing the rest of the world I'll be ready and the confidence will be there and I'll be able to believe in the work I've done."

Olympic champion Elaine Thompson was a convincing winner of the women’s 200m in 22.13, holding off fast-finishing Marie-Josee Ta Lou (22.36) and Britain’s Beth Dobbin, who was delighted with a personal best of 22.50 having had to miss the race a year ago to work.

Elaine Thompson of Jamaica celebrates victory in the Women's 200m

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There was more to cheer for home fans as Laura Muir delivered a dominant front-running display and a blistering last lap to win the 1500m in 3:58.25. “That's probably close to my 400m PB," the Scot said of the 57.54 burn up.

Jamaica’s Danielle Williams fired out the fastest time of the year in winning the 100m hurdles in 12.32 – a shade behind the world record set by American Kendra Harrision in the same meeting three years ago.

The second day of the event takes place on Sunday, with the women's 5,000 metres, featuring new mile world record holder Sifan Hassan, and the women's 100m, where local favourite Dina Asher-Smith goes against double Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, top of the bill.

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