Norway’s Karsten Warholm set a European record in the 400 metres hurdles for the second time in as many races as he earned victory on the first of two days of action at London Stadium as part of the International Association of Athletics Federations Diamond League meeting.
In a race that was not a Diamond League scoring event on this occasion, the world champion lowered his previous mark of 47.33sec, set in his native Oslo, to 47.12 and moved up to seventh on the all-time list.
The same position was gained 12 minutes later by the 2015 world 100m hurdles champion Danielle Williams, who lowered her best of 12.48sec to 12.32, a Jamaican record.
“It has been coming all season and it was just about when,” said Williams.
“This track is a fast track and the fact that we get two opportunities because of the heats, you can fix what you did wrong and get ready for the final.”
Hopes of another super-fast 800m from Botswana’s Nijel Amos on the track where he won Olympic silver in 2012 in a personal best of 1min 41.73sec fell to earth as he pulled up less than 200m into the race clutching his right hamstring before dropping to the track.
Kenya’s Ferguson Rotich, who followed him home in Monaco last Sunday week as he clocked 1:41.89, earned a decisive win in 1:43.14.
Britain’s European outdoor and indoor 1,500m champion Laura Muir ran a 57.3 final lap to win over her favoured distance in 3min 58.25sec.
Kenya’s Winny Chebet chased her home and in third place Gabriela Debues-Stafford set a Canadian record of 4:00.26.
African champion Akani Simbine earned his first Diamond League win of the season, holding off Britain’s European champion Zharnel Hughes to win in 9.95sec, with the latter runner recording 9.97.
Britain's James Ellington, making his comeback two and a half years after sustaining serious injuries in a motorbike accident, received huge acclaim as he competed in the second 100m heat, finishing last in 10.93.
Earlier there had been another emotional moment in the arena as home javelin thrower Goldie Sayers was officially awarded the bronze medal from the Beijing 2008 Games following the retrospective disqualification for doping of Russia's original silver medallist Mariya Abakumova.
Just 0.02 separated the next three across the line, with 2009 world champion Yohan Blake third in 9.97, ahead of Japan’s Yuki Koiek, who clocked 9.98, and Canada’s Rio 2016 bronze medallist Andre De Grasse, still making his return to full fitness following a long injury lay-off, who clocked 9.99.
In the men’s triple jump, Pedro Pablo Pichardo won the latest round in his ongoing rivalry with world and Olympic champion Christian Taylor, the Portuguese bounding 17.53m with his fourth jump.
The world and Olympic champion’s best of 17.19m came in round six.
The 400m hurdles was not the only non-Diamond League event on the day to produce excitement.
In the men’s 5,000m, Ethiopia’s Hagos Gebrhiwet, who last Wednesday clocked a 2019 best of 26min 48.95sec to win over 10,000m in Hengelo, today out-kicked Norway’s 18-year-old European 1,500m and 5,000m champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen over the last lap to win in 13:01.86.
The young Norwegian was rewarded for his persistence with a national record of 13:02.03.
In the long jump, South Africa’s world champion Luvo Manyonga improved his season's best to 8.37m, a winning effort.
Rio 2016 100 and 200m champion and 2019 listings leader at 22.00sec, Elaine Thompson, was a convincing winner in the 200m, clocking 22.13.
Marie-Josee Ta Lou was second in 22.36, a season's best.
London Stadium will witness another full day of action, including Diamond League events, tomorrow, culminating in a women’s 100m involving home European champion Dina Asher-Smith and a field of stellar opponents.
Before that, Sifan Hassan, who broke the 23-year-old women's mile record in Monaco last Friday week, will run over the distance at which she holds the European title – the 5,000m.