The fall of women’s 1500 metres world record, one of the longest standing records in the world, at the Monaco Diamond League meet shows there is a new crop of runners dreaming big and could herald an assault on other long-standing records in athletics.

Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba smashed the 25-year-old record of 3min,50.46sec set by Yunxia Qu of China on September 11, 1993. Dibaba erased the record set when she was only two years old and registered a new one time of 3:50.07.
Kenya’s Asbel Kiprop ran a blistering race in men’s 1500m to register 3:26.69, missing the 17-year-old record (3:26.00) set by Morocco’s Hicham El Guerrouj by 0.69 of a second.

Had Kiprop turned up at the St Louis II Stadium track with a world record in mind, he could have easily achieved it because all it could have taken was to sit down with his coach and pace setters to agree on a strategy.

Early in the race, Kiprop could be seen prodding the back of one of the rabbits, urging him to up the speed. But the lanky Kiprop can still break the record in future. Olympic champion over the distance, Taoufik Makhloufi of Algeria is another runner who can also smash the metric mile record.
Dibaba who also holds the World Indoor record in 1500m (3:55.17) and 3,000m (8:16.60) can also break the 3000m world record (8:06.11) held by another Chinese Junxia Wang since 1993. The two Chinese runners belonged to ‘Ma Family Army’, a group of athletes under coach Ma Junren who broke many world records in the 1990s.
But there are still records that have stood test of time. One such record is the 3,000m mark set by Kenya’s Daniel Komen in 1996. Komen’s 7:20.67 mark is often referred to as ‘Mt Everest’ because no other runner has come close to it and it seems that will not happen soon.

Komen, who has retired and is involved in education initiatives in Eldoret, knows it will not be easy to lower the record and has since offered a brand new Mercedes Benz car to anyone who will break it.

The 400m record 0f 43.18secs by American Michael Johnson since August 26, 1999 still stands but Granada’s rising star Kirani James who holds the Commonwealth and Caribbean record of 43.74 seconds over the distance appears the man to watch. The 400m hurdles world record was set in 1992 by American Kevin Young and still stands.

There is also American Florence Griffin Joiner’s record over 100m (10.49) and 200m (21.34) set in 1998, Jamila Kratochvilova’s (Czech Republic) record in women’s 800m (1:53.28 since 1983. Only Kenya’s Pamela Jelimo came close to lowering it, timing 1:54.01 in Zurich in 2008.

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