After racing into world championships medal contention with an impressive victory in Athens on Monday, Rawlinson was unable to collect her fourth consecutive win, producing a scrappy race at the Stade de France – the scene of her dramatic 2003 world championship win.
Holding a three metre lead into the straight, Rawlinson experienced problems with her stride pattern at two of the final three barriers, allowing the fast finishing Yevgeniya Isakova of Russia to storm to victory in a season’s best time of 54.93. Rawlinson was second in 54.93 with Jamaica’s Melanie Walker third in 55.32
Husband and coach Chris Rawlinson described the race as “awful”.
“Jana has done a lot of hard work, she’s fit, but her race plan isn’t yet bedded down. Her stride pattern tonight was awful; she made her strides to the third hurdle, then had problems at four, eight and the tenth (and final) hurdle.”
“So that’s a bit frustrating, however the big positive is that she ran such an awful race and still finished second against a quality field and still beat the Americans.”
“Tonight wasn’t exactly the race we were looking for, but she has another chance in Rome next Friday,” he said.
After finishing third in Athens, Isakova’s victory came despite her own issues over the barriers. The 28-year-old European champion hit the first hurdle, causing her to lose her stride pattern down the back straight. She maintained her composure to reel in the field around the turn before scooting away to her best win of the year.
Rawlinson’s winning time in Athens of 54.25 remains the fifth fastest in the world this year. United States national champion, Tiffany Ross-Williams, who has the world leading time at 53.28, finished fifth in 55.35.
World no.5 Sarah Jamieson continued her improvement as she builds towards the world championships in August, finishing fifth in the 1500m. The placing was the same has her season opener in Oslo; however she improved on her time by almost a second to record 4:03.71, her fastest time in 2007.
Yelena Soboleva of Russia took the event in 3:59.91 ahead of Ethiopian Gelete Burika (4:00.68) and Iryna Lishchynska (UKR) in 4:02.17.
In a solidly run race where the pace maker had the entire field strung out early, Jamieson was mid-field throughout and ran a strong last 300m to improve her position at the finish.
“I was probably 7th or 8th at the bell and had a solid last 300m,” Jamieson explained. “I felt a millions times better than Oslo and picked up a few scalps in the last lap so I’m pleased with that. Of course you always like to run faster and place higher. I’m certainly gathering more information with every race.”
Those “scalps” included reigning world champion Tatyana Tomashova of Russia (6th), world number one Yulia Chizhenko-Fomenko, also of Russia (7th) and Oslo winner Maryam Yusuf Jamal of Bahrain (13th).
Australian champion Lisa Corrigan was just behind Jamieson at half-way but tired to finish 14th in 4:09.32. After being tripped in Athens on Monday, it has been a torrid introduction to European athletics for the 22-year-old.
After producing her best ever outdoor clearance last weekend (4.65m), Commonwealth Games pole vault champion Kym Howe had a disappointing night, clearing 4.21m to finish 10th in an event won by world record holder and reigning world and Olympic champion Yelena Isinbayeva. The Russian cleared a world leading 4.91m and had three unsuccessful attempts at a new world record height of 5.02m.
Jamieson will return to action in Lausanne on Tuesday
Rawlinson and Howe will be joined by Tamsyn Lewis at the Golden League in Rome on Friday.
Full results and further information on the Paris Golden League can be found at www.iaaf.org
photos Janos Schmidt