On a night when a major power cut in northern Brussels affected operations at the second International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Diamond League final of the season at the King Baudouin Stadium, world 1,500 metres champion Faith Kipyegon and Sifan Hassan of The Netherlands lit up the evening with an all-out surge around the final lap that eventually saw the Kenyan edge ahead to claim her first Diamond Trophy.
Kipyegon clocked a season's best of 3min 57.04sec, with Hassan - who leads this year's world lists with 3:56.14 - taking second place in 3:57.22, well clear of the nearest challenger, Kipyegon’s compatriot Winny Chebet, who clocked 4:00.18.
Organisers were unable to switch on the main floodlights, but managed to keep the whole show going thanks to the use of separate generators, enabling the gathered athletes to see out their season’s finale in front of a large and appreciative crowd.
Shaunae Miller-Uibo of The Bahamas added the 400m Diamond Trophy to the 200m version she had won a week earlier in the Zurich Diamond League final, clocking 49.46sec, the fastest time run this season.
The Olympic 400m champion had appeared on the brink of adding a world title in London last month before faltering and dropping out of the medals 20 metres from the line.
But she has finished her season on a high with the Diamond League final victories in Zurich and now here.
Miller-Uibo needed to concentrate all the way to the line, however, under the challenge of the 19-year-old Bahrain athlete Salwa Eid Naser, who beat both Allyson Felix and world 400m champion Phyllis Francis at last month’s Birmingham Diamond League meeting and took second place here in 49.88.
Jamaica’s Olympic 100 and 200m champion Elaine Thompson, who failed to earn a medal at last month’s IAAF World Championships in London, finished her season with a victorious flourish as she earned a second consecutive Diamond Trophy in the women’s 100m.
Thompson had admitted on the eve of this final that she had had “a funny season” so far, having gone top of the 2017 lists with 10.71 in her native Kingston before the London disappointment.
But her form since then has been encouraging - victory at the Birmingham Diamond League in 10.93 followed by second place in last week’s 200m at the Zurich Diamond League final in 22.00 – and her optimism going into this race proved well founded as she won in 10.92, holding off the challenge of the Cote d’Ivoire athlete who earned silver at 100 and 200m in London, Marie-Josee Ta Lou, who was second in 10.93 ahead of Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, who clocked 11.07.
After earning her prize, Thompson’s reaction was wonderfully direct: "I’ve just got one thing to say - I’m happy, happy, happy."
The men's 3,000m steeplechase provided huge drama in the final lap as Kenya's world and Olympic champion Conseslus Kipruto, with a huge burst of energy that would have been most welcome in the nearby blacked-out areas of the city, edged past Soufiane El Bakkali to win his third Diamond Trophy in a time of 8:04.73, with the Moroccan clocking a personal best of 8:04.83.
Kipruto and El Bakkali had been led through the bell by the Olympic silver medallist and world bronze medallist Evan Jager.
The tall and powerful American, blond hair tied back, had pushed the pace all the way through, but in the back straight of the final lap his two rivals got away from him and his weariness became evident as he fell at the final water jump and lost his placing.
But Jager found energy from somewhere over the final 30 metres to accelerate past his compatriot Stanley Kebeni to reclaim third place, finishing in 8:11.71 to Kebeni’s 8:11.93.
Another compelling middle distance spectacle saw Kenya’s world 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri prevail after a huge battle with her compatriot Caroline Kipkirui.
Obiri won in 14:25.88, with Kipkirui clocking a personal best of 14:27.55 ahead of third-placed Senbere Teferi of Ethiopia, who recorded 14:32.03.
There were victories on the night for two Russians competing under a neutral banner having been allowed back as individuals while Russia’s athletes remain ineligible for international competition in the wake of widespread doping infractions.
Sergey Shubenkov, whose defence of his world 110m hurdles title in London last month ended with a silver medal behind the new champion Omar McLeod of Jamaica, added another honour to his season as he finished powerfully to take his first Diamond League title in a time of 13.14, with Spain’s Olympic silver medallist Orlando Ortega second in 13.17 and third place going to the world record holder Aries Merritt, who clocked 13.20.
The amiable Shubenkov proved a willing advocate for the new Diamond League format that has meant that the qualifying points accrued in the first 12 meetings of the season have been left behind for the finals, where all athletes who have reached that point start off with an equal chance of winning.
“At last I managed to win in 2017,” said Shubenkov.
“I was bored of being second like in Birmingham, Stockholm and the World Championships.
"Now I’ve got my first overall Diamond League title - maybe thanks to the system of one all-or-nothing race in the final.
"But it worked for me, so I’m very happy."
As expected, Shubenkov’s fellow Russian Mariya Lasitskene, who has dominated the high jump competition all year, earned victory here in her characteristic fashion, crushing all opposition with a virtually faultless sequence of jumps from 1.84 up to 1.97, which she cleared at the second attempt, before going on to clear 2.02 at her third attempt.
Yuliya Levchenko, the Ukrainian jumper who took silver behind Lasitskene at the World Championships, was again her closest challenger, taking second place with a clearance of 1.94.
Ivana Spanovic, who missed out on a medal at the London World Championships after a trailing number attached to the back of her vest took away from what could have been a winning effort in her last round, finished her season on a high here as another final effort, this time 6.70, earned her the spoils.
Britain’s Lorraine Ugen moved up from fourth to first with her fifth round effort of 6.65, only to be eclipsed by the Serbian’s final effort.
Noah Lyles had tweeted a question before his 200m final here asking whether his last race might be his fastest of the season.
Given that he had won the Eugene Diamond League meeting in 19.90 that was some ask, and it proved beyond him.
But a time of 20.00 was enough to earn the 20-year-old from Gainesville in Florida, who didn’t qualify for the London World Championships, a narrow victory ahead of the US Trials winner, Ameer Webb, who clocked 20.01, and Turkey’s world champion Ramil Guliyev, who clocked 20.02.