Some interesting actions at the last non-final IAAF Diamond League meeting in Birmingham

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Hassan_SifanLeds-WC17.JPGSifan Hassan, photo by PhotoRun.net

RunBlogRun opines: One week after the end of the London World Championships, I was concerned on how the Birmingham meeting would go. Would athletes be tired? Some were, but also, some behaved like the new champions that they were.

In this piece, Justin Lagat writes about the fine distance runners racing in Alexander Stadium on Sunday, 20 August.

Some interesting actions at the last non-final IAAF Diamond League meeting in Birmingham.

Despite having gotten used to the packed Olympic stadium in London during the IAAF world championships last week, even though not as packed, the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham still offered one of the most interesting athletic action this year with great cheering crowds.

One of the most important highlights of the Birmingham Diamond League meeting was watching Mo Farah running one more track race in Britain. It was an exciting 3000m race with Kenya's Vincent Bett taking the field through the first 1000m in 2:33.11 before Bethwell Birgen took over and led the field through the 2000m mark in 5:10.75. A pack of four remained at the front with 1000m to go; Mechaal Adel of Spain, Mo Farah, Andrew Butchart of Great Britain and Kenya's Davis Kiplangat. Interestingly, Kiplangat had been over-lapped in one of the 5000m heats at the world championships in London and looked as though he was here to amend that. With about 2 laps to go, Farah was at the front, in the inside lane. Mechaal made attempts to overtake him from outside and in the process boxing in Kiplangat who had been following Farah closely.

In the last 200m, Farah kicked harder and was able to open up a gap at the front that continued to stretch till he crossed the finish line in 7:38.64. Mechaal followed to take second in 7:40.34 closely edging Kiplagat who finished in 7:40.63.

In the women 3000m race, the battle for the gold medal against Almaz Ayana in the 5000m final in London seemed to have taken a toll on Hellen Obiri, as she was overtaken in the home straight by Sifan Hassan of Netherlands who went ahead to win the race in a new meeting and national record of 8:28.90. Konstanze Klosterhalfen of Germany also overtook Obiri on her way to finishing second also in her new national record time of 8:29.89 before Margaret Chelimo finally edged her at the finish line in a personal best time of 8:30.11. Obiri finished fourth in 8:30.21.

After a disappointing finish at the world championships in London, Amos Nijel of Botswana in his usual front running style took a convincing lead in the men's 800m event winning the race in 1:44.50 ahead of Kszczot Adam in 1:45.28 and Marcin Lewandowski in 1:45.33, both from Poland. The other big name, Asbel Kiprop finished 7th in 1:46.05, probably strengthening his resolve to move up to the 5000m event.

The women's 1500m race, Tsegay Gudaf of Ethiopia followed the pace setter, Jennifer Meadows, closely and the two of them soon separated from the rest of the field. Tsegay was soon alone about fifty meters ahead of the rest and as they came to the bell, it was as though the winner was already known. However, Dawit Seyaum began to close the gap rapidly in the last 400m overtaking Tsegay with about 150m to go. The fading Tsegay also got overtaken by Winny Chebet and Arafi Rababe. Seyaum won the race in 4:01.36. Chebet took second in 4:02.24 while Arafi took third in 4:02.95. Just like in the women's 3000m race, where the fourth place went to the early leader at the bell, Tsegay also finished fourth.

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