Mo Farah returned to competition here for the first time since doping allegations emerged about his coach Alberto Salazar, dedicating a thrilling 5,000 metres win in an outstanding International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) Diamond League meeting to the man he insists will continue to guide his career.
On a sunny but blustery night, Cuba’s Pedro Pablo Pichardo and the United States Olympic champion Christian Taylor also reproduced the triple jump heroics which illuminated their contest in Doha two months ago.
Taylor had the final say this time with successive winning jumps of 18.02 metres and 18.06m, but it was Farah re-stating his case as an athlete ready to retain his world titles in Beijing next month which formed the highlight.
“This victory is a way to answer some of the criticism regarding my coach which came out recently,” said Britain’s Olympic and world 5,000 and 10,000m champion after outsprinting the prodigious Ethiopian 17-year-old Yomif Kejecha, who had overtaken him on the back straight and led into the final straight, and finishing in 13min 11.77sec.
In recent years, Farah has greeted a succession of victories with expressions of relief and joy at the line.
Tonight he greeted his win with something approaching rage, punching his fist fiercely into the air after rousing the crowd with urgent upward motions of his arms once it was clear he had finally seen off the challenge of young Ethiopian who heads this year’s world lists with a time of 12:58.39.
Farah was due to have run at the Diamond League meeting in Birmingham on June 7, but pulled out and flew back to his Oregon training base, citing mental and physical exhaustion after the allegations made against his coach.
“It was my first time in Lausanne and I really enjoyed starting my season properly here,” he said.
“I wanted to race everybody and today offered this opportunity. I had a great finish, and overall I am happy with the way the race went today.”
But Farah was clearly not quite so happy, however, with the approach by his fellow Briton Andy Vernon - who took silver behind him in last year’s European 10,000m final and who was 15th in tonight’s race - to attempt to shake his hand afterwards.
Vernon, who was involved in a public row with Farah earlier this year when he accused him of running against “joke” fields, claimed he was told to “f--- off” when he sought to congratulate his team mate for the performance and to put any bad feeling behind them.
“I went to shake his hand and he turned his back on me and told me to f--- off,” Vernon told reporters at trackside.
“I’m glad you saw it.
"I wanted to bury the hatchet, I’m going up to Font Romeu in a few days’ time and I just wanted to end it…
“Whether we’re friends or not, I can appreciate a good performance so I’d like to congratulate him but I get that reaction.”
Asked whether there was an incident with Vernon after the race, Farah said: “I don’t know, not that I saw,” and refused to comment further.
Farah added: “As an athlete you just have to do what you best, the last couple of weeks have been hard for my family and everyone else, but what can you do?
"You just want to run and that’s what I did and I enjoyed it.”
Two months after their historic performances in Doha, Taylor and Pichardo provided a packed crowd with another stupendous night of Diamond League triple jumping, with the American reversing fortunes against his Cuban rival as he won with a meeting record that also equalled the Diamond League record Pichardo set in Qatar.
On that occasion, Taylor almost eclipsed the Cuban with his own final effort, only to fall two centimetres short.
Here, Taylor’s late flourish proved to be a winning one.
Pichardo made an electric start to the event, sprinting off excitedly into the infield after an effort of 17.85m which gave him a half-metre first round lead, and he extended that to 17.99m in the third round.
It looked over.
But Taylor, who had managed 17.76m in the second round, produced two final flourishes which the Cuban was unable to better.
It was an even better competition than the one in Doha for an event which promises to keep on giving to the sport over the next few years.
“In Beijing [at the World Championships] I am looking forward to the competition,” said Taylor.
“Pedro knows now that I am fit and ready.
“I also have my eye on the American record of 18.09, my next meet is in Monaco [on July 17] - let’s see what happens!”
Justin Gatlin, who leads the season’s 100m rankings with 9.74sec, matched the second best time he has run so far this season, 9.75, as he moved inexorably away from a field including his US compatriot Tyson Gay and Jamaica’s Asafa Powell after 30 metres of a 100m race that was not a Diamond League event here.
It was the first time these three strong contenders for World Championship medals had met this season, and it underlined how very hard it is likely to be for Usain Bolt - who had to miss this meeting and the weekend’s Diamond League in Paris - to defend his world 100 and 200m titles in Beijing next month.
Powell was second, Gay third - each clocking 9.92.
Like the triple jump, the javelin is another event that keeps on giving in the Diamond League this year.
After Julius Yego’s final flourish of 91.39m to win the Birmingham meeting last month, it was the turn of the surprise London 2012 champion, Trinidad and Tobago’s Keshorn Walcott, to surprise here with an opening effort of 90.16m that was a national and meeting record.
The chase was then on - but nobody could match it.
Vitezslav Veseley, the Czech Republic’s world champion, came closest with a third round effort of 87.97, while Tero Pitkamaki of Finland was third with 87.44.
Anna Chicherova lay flat on her back on the high jump landing pit, arms out, face full of surprise.
Above her the bar remained steadfast at 2:03m - the best achieved in the world this year by a full three centimetres, and nine centimetres better than the 32-year-old Olympic champion has managed thus far into the season.
No wonder she looked temporarily overwhelmed.
“I am delighted today!” said Chicherova.
“I felt I was ready, however I was in a bit of a panic because of the wind.
I rarely jump in such conditions - it was very perturbing, in the end I had to take a risk and it paid off."
Renaud Lavillenie suffered a second Diamond League defeat in the pole vault in the space of less than a week as, in unhelpfully blustery conditions, he gambled on clearing 5.92m and failed.
That left Poland’s Pawel Wojciechowski as the winner, having cleared 5.84m, the height the Olympic champion and world record holder skipped.
“The conditions were not good today,” Lavillenie said.
“All my jumps were in a strong headwind and so I did not get to perform to my best."
David Storl, Germany’s double world shot put champion and part-time policeman, knows how to lay down the law in the circle, and after Joe Kovacs had surpassed his opening lead of 21.64m with 21.71m, he responded in the fourth round with a personal best of 22.20 that also beat the Stadium record of 21.88 set by Jeff Whiting of the US two years ago.
Elsewhere, Kenya’s Olympic champion and world record holder in the 800m, David Rudisha, was outprinted in the home straight by the man who finished one place behind him at London 2012, Nijel Amos of Botswana, who clocked 1:43.27.
July 2015: Powell and Fraser-Pryce rule sprints on night of shocks at IAAF Diamond League in Paris
June 2015: Bolt says New York IAAF Diamond League meeting win is "one of the worst races I’ve run"
June 2015: Muir upstages Mutaz on Bislett’s 50th Anniversary night in the Diamond League
June 2015: Yego produces javelin highlight at Birmingham Diamond League after withdrawal of Farah
June 2015: Gatlin beats Bolt’s meeting record with 9.75 at IAAF Rome Diamond League