Justin Lagat provided us with his view from Kenya on the amazing races on Friday night in Monaco. I am still in awe of such an exciting evening!
Asbel Kiprop’s race was something to behold. 53 seconds, then 1:50 for the 800 meters, and Asbel kept going! And he pushed away! Taoufik Makhloufi ran a PB taking second, with Iguider in a PB and Mo Farah in fourth, in a near PB.
What a night!
Asbel Kiprop, photo by PhotoRun.net
World leading times registered in all middle distance events in Monaco, by Justin Lagat
The main highlight of the Monaco Diamond League meeting was the women’s 1500m event. If anyone was to be given only the times that were registered in this race without names, they would have easily concluded that it was a men’s race.
The new world record of 3:50.07 set by Genzebe Dibaba was just amazing, and it was a time that is often registered by men in some major 1500m races.
For example, the men’s 1500m winning time at last year’s major race, the continental cup in Marrakech, was 3:48.91, in which Ayanleh Souleiman had won and Asbel Kiprop had finished second.
If Dibaba’s time was to be taken and fixed in that race, she would have been placed 7th overall closely behind Nick Willis of New Zealand (3:50.00) and ahead of US’s Leonel Monzano (3:50.35).
The top six women in this race all ran under four minutes, Sifan Hassan setting a new Netherlands record of 3:56.05 and Rowbury Shannon setting a new American record of 3:56.29. And, except for Jenny Simpson in fourth place, all the top nine women in this race registered their personal best times.
After this race, Genzebe Dibaba who now plans to double in the 1500m and 5000m at the world championships in Beijing is proving to be the athlete to rule the track this year. Having broken two world records so far at the middle of the year and the likelihood of her winning two medals at the world championships in Beijing again, I don’t see a better candidate to win the IAAF’s athlete of the year award this year.
In the same style, Asbel Kiprop also ran a fantastic race in the men’s 1500m race winning it in an historic, world leading and Diamond League record time of 3:26.69; the third fastest time in history. After winning the Kenyan 800m national championships last week, Kiprop had said that he was not going to attempt a world record in Monaco, but to just try and beat his opponents.
A few days later, in an interview with a local station in Kenya, he had been asked how he intended to make sure that he doesn’t let Mo Farah win the race in Monaco and his answer explained the fast times.
“I know that Mo Farah has a strong finishing kick. I will try to run a fast race from the start and stay clear ahead of the field and prevent any surprises on the last lap,” he had explained. True to his plan, the race was fast and it saw many athletes in it registering their personal best times.
This run boosted Kiprop’s confidence as he prepares himself to win his third consecutive 1500m title at the world championships in Beijing next month. For now, he will be running in London next week before returning to run again at the Kenyan national trials at the end of the month in Nairobi. He already has a wild card as a defending world champion and will only be running at the trials as part of his preparations.
Caleb Ndiku, after posting pictures of his injured leg on Facebook, to the relief of many Kenyan fans was able to appear at the starting line of the 3000m race in Monaco. He ran a conservative race, only moving to the front with one lap to go and staying ahead of his competitors till he finished in a world leading time of 7:35.13. It would have been interesting to see how he would have finished the 5000m race in Lausanne, had he not fell.
There was a big surprise in the men’s 800m race when Amel Tuka surged forward on the homestretch to win the race in a world leading time of 1:42.51, beating a very competitive field that included Amos Nijel, Ayanleh Souleiman and Mohammed Aman.
The 3000m steeplechase race for women served to caution the Kenyan women on being confident of winning the medals in this event at the world championships. Ghribi Habiba of Tunisia, despite not having featured in any meeting for a while, ran strongly in the last stages of the race to win in another world leading time of 9:11.28 and leading others to register their personal best times too.
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