Half time for Team Americas, IAAF Continental Cup in Ostrava - Day 1

Four championships records, five all-comers records, one world lead - these are the statistical remarks of high quality action on Day 1 at Městský Stadium in Ostrava. But the most important numbers? Team Americas leads after Saturday's 19 events (18 remaining on Sunday) with 135 points, but their biggest rivals from Europe only 12 pts back (123). Also battle for third is tight among Asia-Pacific (89) and Africa (74).

What a men's 400m hurdles race, and especially by Abderrahman Samba! Asia-Pacific's star stunned with time of 47.37 - (equalled Edwin Moses time from Rome 1981) championships' record and (broken) all-comers record in the Czech Republic. Annsert Whyte (AME) run his season best 48.46 and surprised in beating Karsten Warholm (EUR, 48.56), close finish also with fourth Yasmani Copello (EUR, 48.65). Europe's team succeded with joker bet, Asia-Pacific took second place, Americas third.

Top three ladies pole vaulters made the competition very special. They all improved existing championships' record (previous mark by Svetlana Feofanova from Split 2010), while 4.85 is also outdoor best here in the Czech Republic. Number of fouls decided ranking (all cleared 4.85 on second attempt), Anzhelika Sidorova and Katerina Stefanidi took #1 and #2 position for Europe - that means clear win for their continent, Sandi Morris of Americas was third, and her team second.

Elimination race? No, this was more or less a "drop-out race". Pace at 3000m was as fast as girls one after another could not cope with it. And Europe's Sifan Hassan had the power for very fast last lap and winning in world leading time of 8:27.50, which is championships' record as well as best result ever on hosting country's soil. Senbere Teferi of Africa was well beaten but still improved her personal best of 8:32.49, her teammate Hellen Obiri down in third (SB 8:36.20). Europe was tied with Africa for the win while Konstanze Klosterhalfen (EUR) was fourth (also SB 8:38.04).

Very fast opener on track at 100m hurdles. Americas' sprinters dominated the race while Danielle Williams slightly surprisingly beat world record holder Kendra Harrison. Williams attacking championships & all-comers record was in the end 0.02 shy either of them but clocking second best time ever here in the Czech Republic and excellent venue record of 12.49. Harrison was only 0.03 slower with decent 12.52. Team Europe took second place, with Pamela Dutkiewicz better than European champion Elvira Herman 12.82 to 12.91. Africa was third with Tobi Amusan best of the rest (12.96).

DeAnna Price from Americas slightly surprisingly ruled the hammer with best efforts in all three rounds: qualification 75.13, semifinal 74.97, and final 75.46, which is championships record (previous mark by Kamila Skolimowska 75.29 in 2010). World record holder Anita Wlodarczyk had settle with second place, 73.20 in final round (73.45 best mark). Americas tied with Europe for team win, but latter one used joker, so they doubled points, 14 instead of 7.

Perfect ending for a perfect opening day. That was 4x100m relays. Both were dominated by Team Americas, men (Rodgers, Lyles, Blake, Tracey) clearly broke all-comers record with 38.05 effort, women (Tenorio, Miller-Uibo, Prandini, Rosa) were with 42.11 only 17 hundreds shy of it. Europe made it 2 for second place (38.96 & 42.55), as Asia-Pacific did for third position.

Strong running at women's 400m. Asia-Pacific's Salwa Eid Naser evenly run a lap and finished with solid 49.32. Caster Semenya was three tenths of a second back with improving South-African record to 49.62. Stephanie McPherson clocked 50.82 and helped with Shakima Wembley (fifth 51.59) to win of Team Americas. Asia-Pacific tied with Africa for second place.

Home star Tomáš Staněk fought very hard in shot put, but he was beaten despite solid 21.22 (sixth place in the end) by teammate Michal Haratyk (21.36) who made it to the semifinal, where he finished third. Darlan Romani of Americas was strongest today, being best in qualification - 21.89 (effort of the day), in semifinal (21.07) and most importantly in final (21.68). World leader Tomas Walsh (APA) was beaten, despite his series' best in last attempt - 21.43. Americas' team took maximum 8 points, Europe 6, Asia-Pacific 4.

Discus' big favourite Sandra Perković (EUR) did not win despite massive opening round (68.44 remained the best throw of the day), because she fouled in final round. Yiame Pérez (AME) took maximum points with her today's best in fifth - 65.30 - and lead Americas for a tight team win. Asia-Pacific was second, Europe third.

Asia-Pacific believed in male high jump - and it was right decision to put a joker! Donald Thomas from Americas won with 230, but Asia-Pacific Brandon Starc was second (230), and his teammate Majd Eddin Ghazal fourth (224). Team Americas was second in tight race, Europe third (Nedasekau 227).

There was an upset for Europe's team with their champion Andrius Gudžius failed in fourth round and finished third (although winning in qualification with 66.95). Most individual points was taken by Fedrick Dacres with best throw of the day 67.97. His Team Americas succesfully used joker, Europe took second place, Asia-Pacific third.

Americas' star Caterine Ibargüen lead her team for the win as she was best in all phases of the race: 14.31q, 14.76sf, and 14.54f. Olga Rypakova (APA) finished second, her best was in 4th round (14.26), Paraskevi Papachristou (EUR) third with 14.22. Asia-Pacific tied with Europe for second place.

"Centimeter play", that is men's long jump in brief. But winner is deserved, while Ruswahl Samaai was best in all rounds: 8.16q, 8.09sf, 8.10f. Only other jumper with effort starting with "8" is Miltiadis Tentoglu (8.00 in 4th round). Rare situation in team rank: all was even, so all teams took 5 points.

It was very tight run between world co-leaders in 100m, Dina Asher-Smith and Marie-Josée Ta Lou, with only 0.02s decided. It was Africa's Ta Lou who won with 11.14, European champion Asher-Smith second 11.16. Team Europe won with Dafne Schippers fourth (11.23), Americas were second (Jenna Prandini individually third 11.21), Africa third.

European (and world) 200m champion Ramil Guliyev looked good after the bend but was outrun by Americas' Alonso Edward, 20.19 - 20.28. Team Americas were ruling with Alex Quiňónéz individually third (20.36), Europe second, Asia-Pacific third.

Tactically lead 800m was decided in last 200 meters. Emmanuel Kipkirui Korir confirmed role of slight favourite clocking 1:46.50 for a win. Clayton Murphy (AME) beat by 0.003s only Nijel Amos (AFR), both 1:46.77, but Team Africa still clear winner over Europe and Americas.

Conseslus Kiproto of Africa took individual win in steeplechase clocking 8:22.55, but his team failed to win while his teammate El Bakkali injured himself during the race. Europe took win thanks to team Chiapinelli-Carro, Africa second and Americas with Asia-Pacific tied for third place.

It was slow tactical race at women's 1500m. Brave effort by local competitor Simona Vrzalová who tried to burst ahead with one lap to go. But there were stronger rivals, Winny Chebet from Africa was fastest in the end (4:16.01), Americas' Shelby Houlihan second, and Rababe Arafi confirmed clear win for Africa. Asia-Pacific surprisingly second, Americas third. Vrzalová finished sixth.