FARAH GETS GREAT NORTH RUN HAT TRICK
By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2016 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved, used with permission.
SOUTH SHIELDS, ENGLAND (11-Sep) -- Four-time Olympic gold medalist Mo Farah of Great Britain became the first-ever athlete to win the Great North Run half-marathon three years in a row, defeating American Dathan Ritzenhein by eight seconds after a spirited, 21-kilometer fight from Newcastle to South Shields. On a crisp, sunny morning, the 33 year-old Farah clocked 1:00:04, the slowest of his three winning times here.
"That was brilliant; it was amazing," a smiling Farah exclaimed to the media after the race. He continued: "It was definitely amazing to have so many people cheer for me; that's what drove me to the line."
While British fans might have been expecting a coronation for Farah, the 33 year-old Ritzenhein, a three-time Olympian and world half-marathon bronze medalist, had other ideas. Moving to the lead right from the gun, Ritzenhein was determined to make it an honest race, hitting the first mile in 4:34 and taking the pack through 5 km in 14:15. Britain's Chris Thompson, Kenya's Emmanuel Bett, America's Abdi Abdirahman and Belgium's Bashir Abdi were also in the lead group, all content to tuck in behind Ritzenhein.
With such a strong pace, Thompson was the first to fall back, then Abdi, then Abdirahman, who later complained of a bad side stitch on his right side. By 8 kilometers (about 23:06) it was down to Farah, Ritzenhein and Bett.
In the downhill sixth mile, Farah and Bett accelerated, recording a sub-4:25 split. Ritzenhein fell back slightly and wasn't sure if he had just fallen out of contention.
"We were going so fast already that I thought we had accelerated a lot because it felt harder," Ritzenhein told Race Results Weekly. "And, we came through that mile and they were, like, 4:22. I was maybe 4:25, so that was why. I just tried to inch it back up the next couple of miles."
Farah had the lead through 10 km (28:31), still running with Bett. Ritzenhein could catch up soon, and then take control of the race once again. As the leaders approached the course's highest elevation point just before 15 km, Ritzenhein was beginning to wear down both Farah and Bett. He split 15-K in 42:36 (14:05), and Bett was dropped. Minutes later, Ritzenhein and Farah went through 10 miles in 45:40, well faster than Greg Meyer's 1983 USA record of 46:13.
"I led for 12 miles and I felt strong," Ritzenhein later told reporters. "I thought I might have had Mo sort of on the ropes."
But Farah had one final card to play. He knew from experience that he could attack on the short, but steep downhill which takes runners to the Coast Road about two kilometers from the finish. Farah ran through the roundabout at the top of the hill with Ritzenhein, then shot down the hill, leaving his American rival flat-footed. That's what Kenenisa Bekele had done to him three years ago when the Ethiopian defeated him by one second.
"I remembered Bekele just went, boom!" Farah told the media. "He went down so hard, opened up a gap, and I could never close that gap. So I was like, OK. That's what I did to Dathan. I went as hard as I could and just tried to make a little gap then hold that gap."
Farah's surge was too much for Ritzenhein, who is logging over 100 miles a week ahead of racing the TCS New York City Marathon on November 6. He couldn't match Farah's leg speed and had to settle for second.
"I ran out of steam the last couple of miles and couldn't keep pressing the same pace anymore," Ritzenhein lamented.
Nonetheless, Ritzenhein ran the second-fastest half-marathon time of his career, and his fifth sub-1:01:30. Bett held on for third (1:01:22), with Bashir Abdi in fourth (1:02:03), and Kenyan Duncan Maiyo fifth (1:02:06). Abdi Abdirahman, who is also racing the marathon in New York, finished sixth (1:02:46). Thompson, who appeared distressed at the finish, was seventh in 1:03:35.
Farah, who ended his season here today, seemed genuinely relieved that he had won, and gave Ritzenhein, a former training partner at the Nike Oregon Project, his full respect.
"Dathan made it so hard for me," he said, looking at the American. "We made a great race. I just had to hang for my dear life. But, it was tough today. It was tough."
The women's race also featured gripping late-race drama. With a mile to go, Kenya's Vivian Cheruiyot and Priscah Jeptoo and Ethiopia's Tirunesh Dibaba were all still in contention. Cheruiyot, the 2016 Olympic 5000m champion, was running in only her first half-marathon, and she was doubting herself from the start.
"For me, at the start I was saying, will I finish my first half-marathon?" she admitted to reporters. "I was a bit scared."
Dibaba was the first to let go, leaving the two Kenyans to battle for the win. Cheruiyot knew that Jeptoo, who won this race in 2013, would be a tough opponent.
"Priscah, she's a strong lady," Cheruiyot said glancing at her opponent after the race. "She was fighting, fighting all the way!"
Cheruiyot opened a gap within the last kilometer, and Jeptoo couldn't close it. Running into a slight headwind, she got the win in 1:07:54, just one second up on Jeptoo. Dibaba, who had won here in 2012, was third in 1:08:04.
For Cheruiyot, today's victory came with an extra bonus: it is her 33rd birthday. She said she would celebrate later today and begin her regular seasonal break from training.
"This is my last race," said Cheruiyot. "I'm going to take a break, from two to three weeks."
The top British woman was Charlotte Purdue, who finished sixth in 1:12:13. She's running the BMW Berlin Marathon on September 25th.
Recently by Race Results Weekly
The CityGames is one of the finest and most innovative events on the circuit. I first visited the CityGames in 2012 in Newcastle/Gateshead. I was taken by the crowd on the course, and just how much fun people had watching the meet. The Great Run Company is smart about the athletes that they bring in: some of the most popular Americans and some of the most popular British athletes.
PHOTO: David Rudisha after running a 500m world best of 57.69 at the Great North CityGames in Gateshead, England (photo by David Monti for Race Results Weekly), used with permission.
I met Greg Rutherford there and was impressed how he had really supported the City Games. Mo Farah ran the two mile that year.
David Monti wrote this piece on the City Games. He captured the excitement of the meeting. Like the Boston adidas Boost Games and the Manchester City Games, the sport was taken to the fans, and they loved it.
This is an event series that should be part of our sport. Let us see how it transfers in 2017.
The New Balance Fifth Avenue Mile is the first time that New Balance and NYRR have come together to produce the iconic mile. They did it in stellar fashion, with Jenny Simpson winning the mile for the fifth time and Eric Jenkins, using that speed that kept him as a swift Duck, and now a member of the Nike Oregon Project, upset a field that included Olympic champion Matthew Centrowtiz.
What was important to me was the coverage. A fine streaming video, as they had done just days before, in the HOKA ONE ONE Long Island Mile, was managed and produced by USATF.TV and Runnerspace. Fine commentating, and thoughtful shots of the race, where I, the viewer, felt like I was almost on the truck, next to David Monti, listening to his pithy comments.
We are seeing the future of the sport, and the way that the sport can reach 14-22 year olds, the prize demographic for global sponsors. To do that, we must produce high quality productions like we saw this past week!
Here is Chris Lotsbom's fine coverage of the Fifth Avenue Miles for 2016!
ECCLESTON, TORRENCE RETAIN HOKA ONE ON LONG ISLAND MILE TITLES
By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2016 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved, used with permission.
HUNTINGTON STATION, N.Y., USA (31-Aug) -- With powerful homestretch runs, Amanda Eccleston and David Torrence retained their Hoka One One Long Island Mile titles here tonight at St. Anthony's High School in warm, humid, and breezy conditions. Eccleston clocked a meet record of 4:26.87, while Torrence ran 3:54.99, about two seconds slower than his the event record time of 3:53.91 he set last year. About 1500 spectators, many of them standing on the track, watched the races.
Eccleston, 26, was content to follow the early tempo set by pacemaker Stephanie Herrick who took the lead pack through the quarter mile in a just-right 67.1 seconds. Eccleston ran in the first third of the already strung-out field behind Shannon Osika, Lauren Johnson and Nicole Tully.
"I was just telling myself to be patient," Eccleston told Race Results Weekly. "I don't want to go to early and blow up at the end."
The halfway mark was reached in a still-honest 2:13.8, and there was no change in the running order. Herrick pulled aside about 100 meters later, and Johnson took up the lead with Osika and Eccleston in tow. Eccleston, who finished fourth at the 2016 USA Olympic Trials in the 1500m, felt confident and bided her time.
"I got a little antsy, wanting to make my move," Eccleston said. "Then when I went I wanted to make it hard enough that nobody would sneak up and kind of snag it."
Rounding the final bend, Eccleston eased away from Johnson and Osika as she entered the homestretch. Her form still crisp, she glided home with a sub-67 last lap to clinch the win and a $3000 payday. Johnson finished second (4:28.18) and Osika third (4:28.85). The 2015 USA 5000m champion, Nicole Tully, finished fourth in 4:30.74.
Eccleston races next at the New Balance Fifth Avenue Mile on Saturday. She said she definitely saved something for that event.
"I don't feel like I had to zap my legs on this one," said Eccleston with a sly laugh. "I'm ready for Fifth Ave. to fee a lot harder."
Torrence, 30, who represented Peru in the Rio Olympics in the 5000m, had to battle harder than Eccleston to retain his title. After the starter's pistol failed and the athletes were called back to the line, Torrence was left flat-footed when the gun actually went off.
"I got off the line really bad and I just tried to move up, and get up to the front, get up to the front," Torrence told Race Results Weekly.
Pacemaker Declan Murray got the field through the first quarter in about 57 seconds with Canadian Olympian Charles Philibert-Thiboutot, meet director Kyle Merber, and former football player Ford Palmer up on front. The pace softened to 59.1 seconds for the second quarter, then eased off even more in the third quarter (59.8) after Murray retired. Torrence was in fifth position waiting for something to happen, when Philibert-Thiboutot made his play for victory.
"With about 300 meters to go Charles took off," said Torrence. "I was trying to match his speed and not push. Then kind of like last year, repeat, he kind of started to fade."
At the top of the homestretch Torrence seemed to pause as he came around the Canadian, then made one final surge for home.
"I was just digging hard that last 100 to hold everyone off," Torrence said. "Maybe I was taking a deep breath sort of, and then OK, give it all you've got. And I could tell that Charles was kind of hurting a little bit."
Philibert-Thiboutot held on for second (3:55.25) while Palmer showed strong late-season form with a third place finish (3:55.60 PB). Merber, who grew up just a few miles from the track, finished seventh in 3:58.20; 2012 Olympic silver medalist Leo Manzano finished 11th (4:04.04).
RUTH JEBET SMASHES STEEPLECHASE WORLD RECORD IN PARIS
By Chris Lotsbom, @ChrisLotsbom
(c) 2016 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved, used with permission.
PARIS (27-Aug) -- The Meeting de Paris IAAF Diamond League here was a distance runner's dream, with records falling left and right. Ruth Jebet smashed an eight year-old 3000m steeplechase world record by a country mile; Laura Muir startled many by eclipsing her British record over 1500 meters in a world-leading time; Yomif Kejelcha set a world under-20 record for 3000m; and Alfred Kipketer clocked the third fastest 800m time of 2016.
"Fantastic. Just fantastic," was the way IAAF President Sebastian Coe described the evening, shortly after congratulating Jebet and Muir on their times. Fantastic, in reality, was an understatement when looking at results as a whole. They were remarkable.
It was only a matter of time before Jebet broke Gulnara Galkina's world record of 8:58.81, having twice run within two seconds of the time this season. The shy 19-year-old, born in Kenya but now representing Bahrain, said on Friday she was not going to chase the mark here, tired from her run to an Olympic gold medal earlier this month. Whether Jebet was playing mind games with her competitors or simply downplaying her fitness level, we can only guess.
"I am happy. I am happy to be a record holder and a winner," Jebet said. "I recovered the energy. You know, sometimes you can become weak and not realize you are strong."
Hitting one kilometer in 2:56.36, Jebet joined pacemaker Caroline Tuigong at the front just ahead of Hyvin Kiyeng. Jebet soon left the designated pacers, Tuigong and Aisha Praught --as well as Kiyeng-- behind, running full steam through 2000m in 5:54.16.
Jebet's form began to falter slightly over the final two and a half laps, though her 50 meter lead would never be in jeopardy. On the infield, Tuigong yelled encouragement as the crowd's roars increased with the announcement that Jebet was well under world record pace.
The clock stopped at 8:52.78 as Jebet raised her hands and jumped into the outstretched arms of Tuigong. She'd slashed more than six seconds from Galkina's world record and bettered her lifetime best by nearly seven seconds.
"I tried many times to beat the world record and today we decided to push each other to go for a good time. The pacemaker was very strong," she said. "I was not expecting such a big difference with the record."
Jebet was expected to try and run under 8:58 at the Herculis Meeting on September 1, in Zurich, the IAAF Diamond League final for the women's steeplechase, but now she does not plan to race there.
"I am not planning to run. Me, I am tired. I tried my best," she said. "I am happy to close my season with a world record."
Kiyeng was second in 9:01.96 followed by American Emma Coburn in 9:10.19. The top three places were an exact match from the Olympic final in Rio de Janeiro.
"I'm happy for [Jebet] and I hope that over the next few years I can close the gap to her because she's setting new barriers for herself, so I hope to join her there," said Coburn. "I'm pleased with my race. I ran 9:10, which other than Rio would have been an American record. I'm really happy with it."
American steeplechasers had a strong breakthrough in this race. Coburn led the chase pack for the better part of two kilometers, finishing within three seconds of her American record time (9:07.63). She helped lead Stephanie Garcia and Colleen Quigley to new personal bests (9:19.48 and 9:20.00, respectively), making them the fourth and fifth fastest Americans ever at the distance.
Australia's Genevieve LaCaze set an Oceania Area Record with her 9:14.28 sixth place time.
If Jebet's world record wasn't enough, the women's 1500m that followed 20 minutes later was filled with nearly as much excitement. Britain's Laura Muir and Olympic gold medalist Faith Kipyegon stuck close to pacers Tamara Tverdostup and Judy Kiyeng through 800m (2:09.24), setting up a quick run for home while Americans Jenny Simpson and Shannon Rowbury sat back in the pack.
Racing aggressively in the Rio 1500m Olympic final, Muir wound up fading to seventh and missed a medal because she couldn't kick hard in the final 400. Tonight she'd duplicate her aggressive style early, while at the same time, conserve enough energy to kick at the end. Kipyegon and Sifan Hassan both were charging hard in the final lap.
With 200m to go Muir maintained form and shut the door on any thoughts she'd tie-up in the homestretch. On the strength of a sub-60-second last lap, she'd take home her second Diamond League victory of the year in 3:55.22, break her own British national record, record a world-leading time, and break the meet record.
"I really didn't know what to expect today. I would have been happy to run four minutes, but to run 3:55, I'm so shocked there," Muir said. IAAF President Coe would come over to Muir and personally congratulate her on the run, saying that he was happy it turned out better than the disappointment in Rio. "It's a bit bittersweet I guess cause it's great to be in such phenomenal shape while at the same time I wish it was a week ago!"
Kipyegon was second (3:56.72); Hassan third (3:57.13); Rowbury fourth (3:58.00) and Dawit Seyaum fifth (3:58.09). Simpson (sixth, 3:58.19) and Besu Sado (seventh, 3:59.96) rounded out those who'd dip under four minutes.
"Nothing lights a fire like the Olympic Games, both before and after," Simpson said. "[Muir] is a tough runner. She was great before and I'm not surprised she was great today."
"I think in a way it was probably fun for Laura to be able to go out and show how fast she was, and same for me, to get a season's best," said Rowbury. "I know I'm in shape for [an American record]. In retrospect I think today probably would have been a good day to try and get it but I didn't anticipate it being that quick."
The men's 3000m was fast from the gun, with an opening kilometer of 2:29.7. Morocco's Abdelaati Iguider would be all alone out front once the two rabbits stepped off, in no man's land some five seconds up on the field.
Yet surprisingly, Iguider kept the lead strong through the second kilometer and found himself five seconds ahead at the bell.
That bell spurred on Ethiopian teenager Yomif Kejelcha to begin tracking down Iguider little by little. Iguider glared at the stadium's video boards and seemed to know his demise was coming.
Kejelcha made the winning move with 110 meters left, opening a nearly two second gap to win 7:28.19 to 7:30.09. Kejelcha's time is a new world U20 record, taking down Augustine Choge's 7:28.78 time by half a second. It is also a world leader for 2016. In his euphoria, Kejelcha ran through the mixed zone not stopping long enough for a comment.
Olympic 5000m bronze medalist Hagos Gebrhiwet was third in 7:30.45. American Ryan Hill took fourth (7:30.93) after moving up well in the final two laps. Paul Chelimo, sporting the U.S. Army kit in his first race since securing Olympic silver, faded to eighth (7:37.98).
Hill was within two seconds of Bernard Lagat's American record 7:29.00, a mark he wants badly.
"I probably just needed a little more of an exceptional performance to get to that American record level," he said. "It's one of those [races] where I'll be happy with the way I ran it. If it was just a different race... I maybe could have had a 28 in me the last 200.
Alfred Kipketer, 19, broke 1:43 for the first time with a 1:42.97 winning performance in the 800m. The race came down to a sprint in the last 20 meters, with both Jonathan Kitilit and Ayanleh Souleiman fading. That opened the door for hard charging Kipketer and Taoufik Makhloufi to run for the top spot.
It would be Kipketer's by a tenth of a second, 1:42.87 to 1:42.98. Kitilit (1:43.05), Ferguson Rotich (1:43.43) and Souleiman (1:43.52) finished out the top five.
"This is my first time running 1:42 and I can say this is a good place where I can run a fast time," said Kipketer. "My hopes were to improve my time. The weather was so nice and I really enjoyed it. That was so nice for me."
American Boris Berian stepped off the track just over 400 meters in after a nagging Achilles injury flared up. Berian said that the injury has been bothering him since March, yet he's been able to run through it for a long while.
"I've been kind of having issues with it, nothing where it's affected me race wise or too much in training. But today I felt it for the first time in a while. It's not bad but it worried me a little bit," he said. "I maybe should shut it down. I've had a good year. I'm happy with it."
A total of 24,421 spectators attended the Meeting de Paris, filling the Stade de France to roughly 30-percent of its capacity.
PHOTO: Ruth Jebet of Bahrain after breaking the world record in the women's steeplechase at the 2016 Meeting de Paris (photo by Chris Lotsbom for Race Results Weekly)
PHOTO: French steeplechaser Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad in advance of the 2016 Meeting de Paris (photo by Chris Lotsbom for Race Results Weekly), used with permission.
Part of the irony of Rio 2016 was the plethora of disqualifications. The Men's 5000 meters was an absolute joke. But, the travesty, in my mind was the disqualification of Ezekiel Kemboi in the steeplechase. I have reviewed the race nearly a dozen times and can not see how Kemboi's actions interfered with Mekhissi-Benabbad, the bad boy steeplechaser of French athletics. "Common sense", as Mark Twain noted 120 years ago, "is just not that common anymore." It is a travesty that Ezekiel Kemboi did not get the bronze medal he deserved.
I like Mekhissi-Benabbad. He is as French as they come. I think he is a tremendously talented athlete, and love his fearless racing. I am not trying to disparage Mekhissi-Benabbad, I just did not like the DQ in the steeplechase. Our sport is not ballet, as a old Soviet era coach noted back in the 1956 Olympics over the steeplechase, and things happen at the end of a race. Not all of them should be dealt with in a punative manner.
This is Chris Lotsbom's column on Mekhissi-Benabbad at the Paris DL press conferences. These pressers are some of my favorites on the circuit. In French and English, the pressers give you a dozen athletes in about four hours. Your head is spinning afterwards. But with some espresso (they have a machine in the media room), and the conviviality of the French media (Agence France and the L'equipe team), I always found time to get in a half dozen or more interviews the day before the meeting in Stade de France.
Special thanks to our friends, Chris Lotsbom and his coverage of Lausanne DL and Paris DL!
PHOTO: Jenny Simpson and Emma Coburn in advance of the Meeting De Paris, part of the 2016 IAAF Diamond League (photo by Chris Lotsbom for Race Results Weekly), used with permission.
Chris Lotsbom writes for Race Results Weekly and the Boston Athletic Association. This is part of a series by Chris on his travels to the end of the season athletic meetings in Europe. Here is his piece on Emma Coburn and Jenny Simpson, two of the most popular athletes on the American side of the sport. Emma is new bronze medalist at steeplechase (AR at steeple too) and Jenny is the new bronze medalist in the 1,500 meters.
PHOTO: Djibouti's Ayanleh Souleiman winning the 1000m at the 2016 Athletissima meeting in Lausanne in 2:13.49 (photo by Chris Lotsbom for Race Results Weekly), used with permission.
SOULEIMAN STRIKES OVER 1000M IN LAUSANNE
By Chris Lotsbom, @ChrisLotsbom
(c) 2016 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved, used with permission.
LAUSANNE, SUI (25-Aug) -- In the rarely contested one kilometer, Djibouti's Ayanleh Souleiman ran away with a commanding win here at the Athletissima Lausanne IAAF Diamond League meeting, defeating both Olympic 1500m champion Matthew Centrowitz and 2008 Olympic gold medalist Asbel Kiprop. Souleiman didn't just beat Centrowitz and Kiprop; he sped away with fury to win in 2:13.49, a world lead, Diamond League record, meet record, and the #7 performance of all time. Fair to say the 23-year-old had a memorable day at the track.
"I'm good today," said Souleiman. "The Olympics I under-performed because of the tactics and slow race... This is different. This is a hard race with a pacemaker. That's why I am happy today."
Though the 1000m may be more in Souleiman's wheelhouse than for 1500m specialists Centrowitz and Kiprop, Souleiman's command and decision-making was by far supreme today. Hitting 400 meters (52.80) behind the pacers, Souleiman extended his stride among the top three while Centrowitz sat mid-pack around sixth and Kiprop two steps farther behind.
At the bell, Centrowitz and Kiprop still had a lot of work to do if they wanted to catch Souleiman, some ten meters ahead.
Souleiman would split 800m leading in 1:45.95 after a 54.15 second lap and wouldn't slow down. He'd face a slight challenge from Kenyan Robert Biwott, though the final 27.54 200m took care of him with relative ease to win 2:13.49 to 2:13.89. Souleiman had enough in the tank to celebrate the last 20 meters. Jonathan Kiprotich Kitilit was third in 2:13.95.
"I win. That's why I know I'm ready. The Olympics, no," said Souleiman, telling Race Results Weekly that last week's Olympic 1500m final was both on his mind and in his legs (he finished fourth in the Olympic 1500m and failed to advance to the Olympic 800m final. Souleiman absolutely did not want the pace to linger in the slightest. He knew doing such would allow Centrowitz and company back in the mix.
"After Olympics I shake my head and decide to close the season [fast], that's why today I check myself. I say 'how do you run without tactics, in different strong races.' That's why I am happy. I am going to Paris in 800m. I am good now."
Kiprop wound up fourth in 2:14.23, while Centrowitz clocked 2:16.67 for sixth; both times are personal bests.
Centrowitz was OK with the result considering what the last week has been like. He said he's barely slept and the travel from Rio de Janeiro had taken its toll. He still thinks he can run a fast 1500m this season.
"I wanted to come in and get after it a little bit. I felt I did, at least the first 200 I got out well. It's tough, from an emotional high at the Olympics and not getting much sleep, had to travel and I don't do good with time zones," he began. "Honestly, I'm alright with it. It wasn't about time today... Hopefully this will help get my legs back under me for my next two races."
"I think I could really pop a good [1000m] when things are going well. Right now I'm not firing on all cylinders because of all those things I said," he added.
A surprising result to come from the 1000m was Kenyan Silas Kiplagat placing 12th and last in 2:19.80.
PAIR OF SILVER MEDALISTS IN DIBABA, NIYONSABA REBOUND WITH WINS
Genzebe Dibaba and Francine Niyonsaba looked smooth in their bounce-back efforts after claiming silver medals in the Olympic 1500m and 800m, respectively. Dibaba faced off against 5000m Olympic silver medalist Hellen Obiri and fourth placer Mercy Cherono, though was too much for the Kenyans to handle.
Sitting back through 1000m in 2:55.06 and 2000m in 5:52.31, Dibaba clearly had a specific race plan in mind: take it easy and don't press too early. She'd share the lead with Obiri for the penultimate lap before going to a whole other gear at the bell. Dibaba took off, Obiri chased, and the top two spots were settled in an instant: Dibaba won going away in a meet record 8:31.84 off of a 57.47-second last lap, to Obiri's 8:33.96. Cherono was third in 8:34.49.
"The competition is not that easy and I wanted to only winning," Dibaba told RRW. Interestingly, only two media outlets opted to talk with the 1500m world record holder: Race Results Weekly and a local publication. "I am confidence. I don't care about two, three, or anything. I said go easy and win."
Dibaba was questioned about the ongoing investigation into her coach Jama Aden, and was upfront with her answer.
"I don't know anything or comment on my coach. I go for job, I don't go for nothing. I don't have training. I go there because I train for championships. I don't think of what's happening," she said. Dibaba was set to meet members of the media yesterday at a press conference, though canceled at the last minute.
In the women's 800m, Niyonsaba took the track wearing bright green arm sleeves on a seasonably warm night (29C) to match her Nike Oregon Project top. With Caster Semenya and Margaret Wambui both out of the meet, Niyonsaba seized the opportunity to go with the rabbit through 400m (57.95) then press on. She'd hit 600m in 1:28.65 after pacer Nelly Jepkosgei stepped away in dramatic fashion.
Jepkosgei began slowing in lane one, and got in the way of both Melissa Bishop and Lynsey Sharp. The latter two had to dodge away from Jepkosgei, losing a step that would prove valuable in the end.
Niyonsaba was the only woman to crack 1:58, finishing first in 1:57.71 in front of Eunice Sum (1:58.41) and Sharp (1:58.52). Bishop was fourth in 1:58.71. Hometown favorite Selina Büchel ran a season best for fifth in 1:58.77.
"I'm very happy," said Niyonsaba. "I'm happy knowing at the end I was so fantastic. Everyone is so fast, I did my best to win and I feel happy. I'm happy to win here in my first time to come here."
Laughing about the pacing incident, both Sharp and Bishop said they simply couldn't catch another gear in the end. After three rounds in Rio de Janeiro, both had dead legs down the stretch.
"That was interesting. She was thinking about stopping and then..." Sharp said, her voice tailing off. "I just didn't have it in the end though."
KENYAN ABRAHAM KIBIWOTT WINS STEEPLE SPRINT WITH NICHOLAS BETT
With none of the Olympic steeplechase medalists entered, the men's race was up for grabs with pre-race favorites Jairus Birech and Paul Kipsiele Koech sitting second and fourth on the world list. Neither, however, would be involved in the sprint for victory.
Abraham Kibiwott and Nicholas Bett would be the two leading with 400 meters left, having survived the hot pace from the gun and held on as one by one competitors dropped. When the pacers stepped off late, both were far ahead of the field.
Bett hit the bell five meters up on Kibiwott, though the 19-year-old would not give in. Down the stretch and into the final water jump Kibiwott drew even, then surged approaching the last obstacle. Kibiwott would win 8:09.58 to 8:10.07 in a race that could indicate two young stars on the rise in the discipline (Bett is 19; Kibiwott's 20).
"[I'm] happy with the finish. It was not difficult today. I was taking my time as I knew I can win it in the last lap," said Kibiwott. "I want to continue winning in Brussels, which will be my last race of the season."
Americans Donn Cabral and Andy Bayer were sixth and eighth in 8:20.77 and 8:23.88.
"I felt pretty good. I was pretty happy with the race the whole time. It got pretty heavy at the end," said Cabral. "This kind of rubbed the really bad taste off the Olympic final."
The next stop of the IAAF Diamond League tour is in Paris on Saturday.
RunBlogRun: Courtney Frerichs showed amazing talent in the NCAA, here is how RRW sees her in the Olympic Trials!
RunBlogRun: Molly Huddle dominated the 10,000 meters as a series of challengers gave it their shot. Emily Infeld kept her cool, and stayed out of the fray, taking second. Murielle Hall, in her finest race over this distance, matched the challenges and held on until the last two laps, in a race heavy with pressure and humidity. Here is the view from RRW, used with permission, on Molly's superb race.
PHOTO: Marielle Hall, Emily Infeld and Molly Huddle on their way to the podium at the 2016 USA Olympic Trials 10,000m (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)