Olympic champions Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Greg Rutherford laid down impressive markers here tonight in the last International Association of Athletics Federations’ Diamond League meeting before next month’s World Championships in Beijing.
Mutaz Essa Barshim, the second best high jumper in history, however, still has work to do if he is to succeed in China after suffering his fourth successive Diamond League defeat.
Persistent and sometimes heavy rain made life difficult for competitors in the historic setting of the 1912 Olympic Stadium - and indeed the 10,625 spectators who came to watch the first Stockholm meeting under the new sponsorship of Bauhaus - but Fraser-Pryce, Jamaica’s effervescent female sprinter lightened the gloom in the final event as she won her 100 metres in what was, given the conditions, a highly impressive time of 10.93sec.
Rutherford, who also has the European and Commonwealth titles to his name, produced three jumps beyond the reach of any of his competitors – 8.34 metres, 8.32m and 8.13m - before calling it a day with two rounds remaining and setting his sights on becoming only the fifth Briton to have the complete set of titles by winning gold in Beijing.
Barshim, however, still cannot get his mojo working - although he feels he is getting there.
Qatar’s world indoor high jump champion, who became the second best ever with a clearance of 2.43m last year and sailed over 2.41 in Eugene last month, only managed 2.29 here as he lost to JaCorian Duffield.
The 22-year-old from Wichita, Kansas, whose personal best is 2.34, went close to the limits of his ability on a chilly evening to win with a third-time clearance of 2.32.
The amiable Qatari athlete, who had prepared for this meeting by training in Malmo with his Swedish-based coach, Stan Szczyrba, looked as if he had sorted out some of his problems as he produced first time clearances at 2.20, 2.25 and 2.29.
But that was as far as it went.
Barshim, though, was inclined to look on the bright side afterwards: “I’m really happy, better than last week.
"There were a couple of jumps that were really good, pretty close to the win.
"It’s two points so they are really important for me - I’m still leading the Diamond Race.
"Now my focus is on my main goal of winning at the World Championships – but I need to improve technically.”
Fraser-Pryce’s performance offered further convincing evidence of how hard it will be for anyone to deprive her of her world 100m title next month – or indeed this year’s Diamond Race, in which she now has a four-point lead as she proceeds towards the final in Zurich on September 3.
But her world 200m title could be up for grabs as, having said before this meeting that her coach Steven Francis had ruled it back into the plans for Beijing, she announced after this race: “I’m not running the 200m - I’m telling my coach he has to change his mind.
"The 200m is too far so I’m set for the 100m."
Watch this space…
Orlando Ortega, fastest man in the world this year over the 110m hurdles, produced a highly significant victory.
The winning time of 13.18 was well adrift of his season’s best of 12.94, but on a chilly evening that was of no consequence.
What did matter was that the 24-year-old former Cuban - whose decision to switch representation to Spain means he will not be eligible for next month’s World Championships in Beijing - left behind him all his main rivals the Diamond Race and reduced the margin of leader David Oliver, the United States world champion, to just two points.
The 33-year-old from Denver, Colorado, got out well here and was at least level with his younger opponent at the halfway point, but Ortega finished remorselessly despite knocking down the ninth hurdle as Oliver drifted back to third in 13.24 behind Russia’s European champion Sergey Shubenkov, who clocked 13.22.
Zuzana Hejnova is heading back to full form and fitness in ideal time to defend her world 400m hurdles title.
Having won in London the Czech Republic athlete, second in this year’s world lists with 53.76, secured her second Diamond League win in six days as she won in 54.37 on an evening that was already cooling as the sun slipped down behind the rim of the stadium.
The Czech athlete thus moves two points ahead of Kaliese Spencer of Jamaica, who has been unable to compete in the last week because of injury, although she was far from complacent afterwards.
Caterine Ibarguen, newly established as the Pan American Games triple jump champion, extended her winning run to 28 meetings with another demoralising performance – that is, if you were one of her opponents.
In the opening Diamond League event of the night, three-and-a-half hours before the main action got underway, the 31-year-old Colombian world champion produced five jumps – the best of them 14.69m - that were superior to anything anyone else could manage.
Ibarguen now has a 13-point lead ahead of the Zurich final – all she needs to do is turn up fit to compete to claim a hat-trick of Diamond Race trophies.
“The weather was not what I expected,” said Ibarguen.
“It was not nice, but I did the job. I feel great.
"Now I have 28 victories in a row.
"I’m working hard for Beijing and the gold medal is what I expect.”
Cuba’s Olympic silver medallist Yarisley Silva finished triumphant with a clearance of 4.81m in a women’s pole vault that turned into an intriguing tactical battle between herself and her two main rivals, Greece’s Diamond Race leader Niki Kiriakopoulou and Brazil’s 2011 world champion Fabiana Murer.