MANCHESTER showed its resilience and solidarity in the first major sporting event to take place in the city since Monday's terror attack.
The Arcadis Great Manchester CityGames brought international elite athletics to the streets of Manchester on pop-up arenas across the city, on a night when pole vaulter Holly Bradshaw twice broke the British record on Albert Square.
Long jumper Greg Rutherford was a winner over the long jump while Spanish Olympic medallist Orlando Ortega took victory, and Australian Olympic champion Sally Pearson raced twice in the city centre.
But it was Bradshaw's night in the pole vault over on Albert Square. The 25-year-old entered the fray at 4.50, clearing on the third attempt before nailing 4.62, 4.72 and 4.80 in quick succession. Britain's Rachel Gibbens – an employee of event sponsor Arcadis – was second after clearing 4.00 alongside Sally Peake.
In the long jump, Rutherford gave an early indication as to his form for 2017 with a straightforward victory. The 30-year-old made the best two jumps of the night, taking victory with 8.18 after recording 8.08 on his second attempt.
Emiliano Lasa was second with 7.96 while Italian Felippo Randazzo was third with 7.72.
The 250m specially-constructed track is in a new location for 2017 on Deansgate, and Asha Philip won the inaugural race – the 100m - from Pearson. The British sprinter took the win in 11.48, with Australian Pearson – running the first of her two races on the night – clocked 11.50. Desiree Henry was third in 11.50.
Both sites held minute's silences before events commenced, and Pearson, who has been training in the city all week, felt privileged to be in the city as its people rallied to support.
Pearson said: “It was a really happy atmosphere, it was upbeat. They're getting out there and the city is resilient and strong. They're standing together to show the rest of the world that they are supporting their city no matter what is going on.
“It felt nice to be out there and it was a huge honour and a privilege to support the city at this time.”
The line-up of events promised two mouthwatering para athletics 100m races, with Jonnie Peacock easing to victory in the men's race. The Paralympic champion was a comfortable winner in 10.91 from South African Arnu Fourie in 11.25 while Greece's Michail Seitis was third in 11.39.
American Johnny Dutch took the honours in the men's 200m hurdles from Britain's Seb Rodger and Jack Green. Dutch clocked 22.48 while Rodger and Green were in 22.89 and 22.97 respectively.
Lykourgos-Stefanos Tskakonis won the 150m men's race in 15.04 from British pair Harry Aikines-Aryeetey and Richard Kilty second and third in 15.22 and 15.43.
In the second of the T44 races, Sophie Kamlish pipped Paralympic champion Marlou van Rhijn to victory by two hundredths of a second, clocking 13.24 from the Dutchwoman's 13.26. Britain's Laura Sugar was third in 13.63.
Pearson showed no tiredness from her earlier exploits in the 100m hurdles, ending Tiffany Porter's domination in Manchester with victory clocking 12.81. Norway's Isabelle Persen was second in 12.94 with Porter, a multiple winner and reigning champion in Manchester, was third in 13.03, four hundredths of a second ahead of sister Cindy Ofili in fourth.
Ofili was a first-time competitor in street athletics, and said: “Being here was absolutely amazing and the crowd were awesome.
“Tiffany has told me so many great things about this event and she didn't let me down. This was one of my favourite races, honestly. I love it here and the crowd was amazing.”
Porter said: "It was an awesome situation that the meet still went on, it really shows the resilience of the city. I'm encouraged to be part of that despite what has occurred this week.”
Kim Collins was the hero on Deansgate a year ago when he took an against-all-odds victory, but there was no such luck this time as Britain's James Dasaolu took the win with 10.25, ahead of Joel Fearon in 10.30 and Andrew Robertson in 10.41.
The final race of the evening saw Ortega take centre-stage in the men's 110m hurdles. The Spanish Olympic silver medallist eased home in 13.50 ahead of France's Aurel Manga in 13.66 and David King third in 13.66.