Highlights of the distance events at the 2016 Shanghai Diamond League meetings, A view from Kenya

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Kipyegon_Faith-Brussels15.jpgFaith Kipyegon, photo by PhotoRun.net

The Shanghai DL had some fine races, some amazing performances, and an amazing miscue in the 800 meters. While it is in the nature of our events that some things happen, the 800 meters seemed to be a miscommunication from the start.

Here is the view from Kenya on the Shanghai DL distances, from our own Justin Lagat.

Highlights of distance events at the 2016 Shanghai Diamond League meeting:
With about three months remaining to the Rio Olympics, the Shanghai diamond league meeting provided us with another great opportunity to speculate on what to expect in August.
Faith Kipyegon ran a great race in the women's 1500m event and showed that she is clearly the athlete to watch this season ahead of the Rio Games. From the start, Kipyegon stayed at the right place, just behind the pace makers. It was a fast pace. The field disintegrated quickly and soon, only five athletes were remaining in the leading pack as they came to the bell. Hellen Obiri appeared to lose ground on the leaders as the three Ethiopians, Gudaf Tsegay, Dawit Seyaum and Besu Sado, attempted to overtake Kipyegon on the back straight. With about 150m to go, Kipyegon showed that she still had enough strength left in her legs and began to open a big gap crossing the finish line in a world leading time, meeting record, Kenya's national record and personal best time of 3:56.82. Obiri overtook the Ethiopians on the home straight to take second position.
In many of David Rudisha's races after he set the 800m world record at the 2012 London Olympics, Nijel Amos of Botswana had developed a strategy of running behind and sprinting past him as they came towards the finish line. David Rudisha adjusted his running strategy to counter that and won a gold medal at the Beijing world championships last year, but then his countryman, Ferguson Rotich is now the one forcing him to rethink about his running style again if he is to remain as the King of the 800m event. But, apparently, Rudisha and the pace maker had a problem after the starting gun went off in today's race and Rudisha had to pace the rest of the field for almost the entire race until the last 50m when Ferguson Rotich charged past him followed by Robert Biwot, Alfred Kipketer and Thijmen Kupers. Rudisha finished in a disappointing 5th position.
The men's 5000m race was won by Muktar Edris after he executed a strong finishing kick in the last 100m to win the race in a world leading time of 12:59.96. I can imagine that whoever is interested in winning the Olympic title in this event should now be concerned with the finishing kick of Edris. Uganda's youngstar, Jushua Cheptigei took second in 13:00.60 while Kenya's Thomas Logosiwa came third in 13:01.69.
Hyvin Kiyeng ran a calculated race in the women 3000m steeplechase as she let Ruth Jebet of Bahrain lead the race, but not letting her open a big gap on her. After the bell, she slowly began to close the gap and the two were shoulder to shoulder with one barrier to the last water jump. Kiyeng accelerated to the finish line in a world leading and personal best time of 9:07.42 followed by Jebet in 9:15.98. Ethiopia's Sofia Assefa came third in 9:21.07.
The Shanghai diamond league was an exciting event that whets the appetite for other upcoming races. Obviously, one will now be longing to watch Faith Kipyegon run against Genzebe Dibaba in the women 1500m; how David Rudisha will run when everything goes well at the start of the race?, whether Hyvin Kiyeng will remain unbeaten throughout the season in the women 3000m steeplechase?, and who is going to counter Muktar Edris's finishing kick in the men's 5000m event?, among others.

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