This is Justin Lagat’s piece on the Paris Diamond League, where 3 world records in the distance races at one meet in one night.
It was an evening to remember as Faith Kipyegon, Lamecha Girma, and Jacob Ingebrigtsen produced some incredible performances in Paris.
A week after setting a new world record for the 1500m event, Kenya’s double World and Olympic Champion, Kipyegon, produced another sensational performance at the Paris Diamond League meeting to set a new world record of 14:05.20 for the women’s 5000m event. Letesenbet Gidey, the holder of the previous record, followed for second in 14:07.94. World record holder for the 5K distance on the roads, Ejgayehu Taye, was third in 14:13.31.
“I did not think about the WR; I do not know how I made it. I just focused on the green light and tried to stay relaxed and enjoy the race. I just did the race and wanted to see what happened; I was so surprised when I saw that it was a WR. It was all about giving my best. I just wanted to improve on my PB; the WR was not my plan,” Kipyegon said after the epic race.
The pacemakers had been tasked to go out on a 14:10 projected finish pace. The first lap was crossed in 1:10.25 before it began to heat up with a second lap of 1:08.90. It was already a single file as they crossed the first 1000m in 2:52.31.
As they approached the 2000m mark, Beatrice Chepkoech took to the front, followed by Gidey in second and Kipyegon in third places. The three would break away from the rest of the field until Chepkoech stepped out of her pacing duties.
The wave lights caught up with Gidey and Kipyegon, with about two laps to go. Kipyegon then overtook with 600m to go, and a great battle for victory followed. With 200m to go, Kipyegon engaged another gear, and Gidey watched helplessly as her precious previous world record of 14:06.62 got smashed in front of her.
A third world record performance of the evening happened in the penultimate event when Ethiopia’s Lamecha Girma ran a dominant 7:52.11 to win the men’s 3000m steeplechase race, breaking the previous world record of 7:53.63 set by Saif Saeed Shaheen in 2004.
After the first 1000m was crossed in 2:36.65, Girma appeared a little impatient with the pacesetters and moved to the front, rendering the second pacesetter useless. The remaining 2000m was a race between him and the wave lights.
After being ahead of the lights by almost 30m, the lights appeared to be closing the gap on him as he reached the bell. But he was able to dig deeper in the last 200m to get back ahead of the world record schedule. Ryuji Miura of Japan followed him in a new national record and personal best time of 8:09.91. Daniel Arce of Spain was third in 8:10.63, also in a personal best time.
“I’m feeling so happy. Happy and very proud. I felt so fast during the race, so confident. The world record is not a surprise, I planned to beat it tonight in Paris. It’s a result of a full determination. Now, I’m gonna run in Ostrava, but not on 3 000 m steeple. I will run on 1 500 m,” Girma said after the race.
Before the coverage of the Diamond League event could go live, Jacob Ingebrigtsen of Norway had set a new world-best performance in the men’s 2-mile race after running a stunning 7:54.10, bettering the former world best of 7:58.61 by Kenya’s Daniel Komen that was set in 1997.
The first distance event to go live in the evening was the women’s 800m race, where Great Britain’s Keely Hodgkinson ran a national record, world-leading and personal best time of 1:55.77 in a great outdoor season opener for her. With about 200m to go, Hodgkinson was alone at the front. Ajee Wilson finished second in 1:58.16, just ahead of Natoya Goule in 1:58.23.
In the men’s race, Kenya’s Emmanuel Wanyonyi dived just at the finish line to edge Canada’s Marco Arop, who had been leading in the last 200m of the race as they finished in 1:43.27 against 1:43.30. Algeria’s Slimane Moula who was the winner at the Doha Diamond League race was third in 1:43.38.