Two-time Olympic and world 1500m champion Faith Chepng’etich Kipyegon gave Kenyans a night to remember as she set the tone for the 2013 Diamond League meetings inside Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar, on Friday night.
But it was a good night for the gold medallists from the Tokyo Olympic Games, with three of them setting world-leading marks.
Kipyegon looked to use the women’s 1500m as a training exercise, but still came away as a convincing winner in a world-leading time.
She didn’t make too much of an effort to make a break from the rest of the pack on the first two-and-a-half laps. But she moved up a gear with one lap to go and won by almost a full second in 3:58.57.
Ethiopia’s Diribe Welteji was second in 3:59.34 with Freweyni Hailu taking third in 4:00.29.
“It was an exciting race, but a little bit windy, so I decided to not push too much and just focus on winning,” said Kipyegon, who covered the final lap in 58.77 seconds.
For the second year in a row, the men’s javelin produced a thriller of a contest.
The other meeting record of the night came in the women’s 100m, which was won by Sha’Carri Richardson.
Richardson is expected to offer a mouth-watering clash against Jamica’s multiple Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce at the fourth edition of Kip Keino Classic meet, a World Athletics Continental Gold Tour, set for Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi on Saturday. A record 204 athletes from across the globe will battle it out.
The men’s 800m may not have been the fastest of races, but it certainly didn’t lack excitement.
Kenya’s Wycliffe Kinyamal made a big move on the back straight on the final lap and quickly built up a comfortable lead. But Algerian duo Slimane Moula and world silver medallist Djamel Sedjati set off in pursuit of him.
Moula fared best on the final straight, unleashing a burst of speed to overtake Kinyamal and claim victory in 1:46.06.
There was another blistering sprint finish just half an hour later as world 100m champion Fred Kerley came through strong to claim the men’s 200m in 19.92.
US teammate Kenny Bednarek, the Olympic silver medallist, led coming off the bend and did his best to hold off Kerley, but the versatile sprinter edged in front with 10 metres to go to win with a season’s best.
Bednarek was second (20.11) and Canada’s Aaron Brown was third (20.20). World 400m champion Michael Norman crossed the line in eighth place (20.65).
The men’s 3000m had been billed as one of the biggest clashes of the night and it did not disappoint.
Ethiopia’s Lamecha Girma was racing for the first time since breaking the world indoor record at the distance, but he was taking on a field that included global champions at 1500m, 10,000m, steeplechase and cross country.
The pacemakers did exactly what was required, leading the field through 1000m in 2:30.01 and 2000m in 4:58.91.
Ethiopia’s world cross-country silver medallist Berihu Aregawi was in pole position when the final pacemaker dropped out, but Girma, world and Olympic steeplechase champion Soufiane El Bakkali, Olympic 10,000m champion Selemon Barega, Ethiopia’s Getnet Wale and 2019 world 1500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot were close behind.
In the final kilometre, Girma moved closer to Aregawi, while Barega moved past El Bakkali into third, forming a trio of Ethiopians out in front. [Additional reporting by World Athletics]