Berihu Aregawi and Francine Niyonsaba win trophies in the 5000m Diamond League finals in Zurich


_AG20163 (1).JPGFrancine Niyonsaba takes the 5000m at Zurich DL, by Diamond League AG

This is Justin Lagat's piece on day one of the Zurich DL. I am a couple days behind as I took a day off for my birthday.

A unique three-lane track at the Zurich Diamond League meeting produced the first diamond league trophy winners. The 563m track that looked something in between a regular track and a tartan road was set up in the city center to stage the finals of both the men and the women 5000m races. There were trophies to be won in the field events as well, in the men and women Shot Put, the men and women Long Jump, and the women's High Jump.

The women's 5000m diamond league final also served as Hellen Obiri's last track event before she could move to the road races beginning this weekend at the Great North Run half marathon. But if she will want to come back to the track again, she will have a good excuse that her last race wasn't really on a standard track, although, one may argue that the track in Zurich was ideal for a runner moving from track to the roads. Obiri gave her best, with an aim to end her track career on a high note, but she could not match the former 800m runner when it came to the last finishing kick.

Francine Niyonsaba won the race in 14:28.98 and became the first athlete to the Diamond League trophy this year. With her strong finishing arsenal, the question now is who has what it takes to beat Niyonsaba in the women's 5000m race. Obiri finished second in 14:29.68 ahead of Ejgayehu Taye in 14:30.30.

Berihu Aregawi won the men's trophy in a new personal best time of 12:58.65 after a long sustained kick of almost the entire last 1000m. Yomif Kejelcha who had attempted to go with him ended up struggling towards the end of the race with a backward glance betraying him before being overtaken by three runners. Birhanu Balew was second in 13:01.27 ahead of Jacob Krop in 13:01.81.

Aregawi who turned 20 this year, is a relatively new and rapidly rising star from Ethiopia. His impressive performances this year include the 7:29.24 3000m indoor time he ran in Lievin and the 26:50.37 10,000m he ran in Hengelo to win the Ethiopian national trials in Hengelo.

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