David Rudisha’s world best attempt in 600m and Mercy Cherono’s African best in the women’s two miles were the highlight shows at the Birmingham Grand Prix at the Alexander Stadium in a series of ‘non-standard’ distance bests at the IAAF Diamond League meeting on Sunday evening.
Africa 3,000m steeplechase champion Jairus Birech and two-time world champion Asbel Kiprop produced meet records in the 3,000m steeplechase and one mile respectively.
Rudisha’s run will actually go down as one of the meeting’s three world leads (the others coming in the two miles races), and the Kenyan indeed showed something of his old front-running form to win in 1:13.71 — the fourth fastest time and a second shy his target.
The target was Johnny Gray’s world record of 1:12.81 and Rudisha certainly attacked. Eschewing pacemakers, he went through 200m in 23.25 before hitting the 400m mark between 46 and 47, bang on his predicted schedule.
The task from there, Rudisha had said, was to push over the last 200m and that is what he did, striding ever further away from the field around the bend to raise everyone’s expectations before he tired over the final 50m.
“Today wasn’t so bad,” was Rudisha’s verdict. “This is my first 600m, so I guess it was difficult to judge the pace. I think I tried my best,” said Rudisha, the 800m world record holder and second behind Botswana’s Amos Nigel at the Commonwealth Games last month in Scotland.
Although there was no record for Rudisha, world 5,000m silver medalist Mercy Cherono led a one-two-three sweep for Kenya in the women’s two miles.
Cherono, who struggled at the African championships after her Commonwealth games glory, tracked Genzebe Dibaba in the leading group of seven over the last four laps, then burst past the Ethiopian and Viola Jelegat at the top of the finishing straight to cross the line in a world leading 9:11.49. Interestingly, Cherono, Kibiwott and Dibaba are the only two-time world cross-country junior champions.
Kibiwot chased her to the line to record a personal best of 9:12.59 while Dibaba slipped back to fourth. Kiprop also redeemed himself after a bungled race in Marrakech, Morocco, where he finished second behind Djibouti’s Ayanleh Souleiman in the 1500m final.
Kiprop’s finish was impressive too as he took the mile in 3:51.89, following a litany of famous names into the historic book where the event’s winners sign their names.
Souleiman prevented a Kenyan sweep by hanging on for second place ahead of Vincent Kibet and James Magut as 14 men ran below four minutes.
Birech, who only needed a point to win the IAAF Diamond Trophy, continued his brilliant form this season with a solo run in the steeplechase that brought him home in 8:07.78.
It didn’t make much difference to the result, however, as he had a 70me lead and strolled across the line to break the meeting record by almost 12 seconds. Brimin Kipruto followed him home in 8:16.61 as Kenyans filled the first seven places.
Scotland’s Lynsey Sharp avenged on world champion Eunice Sum in 800m, beating her with a late run in 1:59.14.-Additional Reporting by iaaf.org
Courtesy of Standard Digital News