Apart from a loss in Lausanne, Olympic Champion Nancy Langat has been unbeatable this year and the Kenyan was looking to cap her dream season with a victory at the IAAF / VTB Bank Continental Cup. But those hopes came crashing down – quite literally – in dramatic fashion.
The pace was predictably slow, as is usually the case in non-paced races. Turkey’s Asli Cakir, representing Team Europe, was making most of the pace as she led the field through 400m in a pedestrian 1:19.56 and 800m in 2:32.66.
After a few bumps, Langat moved to the front as the bell sounded and with 200m to go it looked as though she had the race in the bag. But European silver medallist Hind Dehiba wasn’t finished and had made her way through the field.
Dehiba struck with 100m to go and was neck-and-neck with Langat down the home straight. With just metres left of the race, Langat’s and Dehiba’s arms unintentionally got caught in a tussle with Langat coming off the worst, crashing face-first to the track.
Dehiba crossed the line in first with 4:19.78 while Langat was getting back on her feet. Team Americas packed two athletes into the top three in the form of Canada’s Nicole Edwards (4:21.34) and USA’s Christin Wurth-Thomas (4:21.46). Mimi Belete of Asia-Pacific came through in fourth, with Cakir hanging on for fifth.
Langat, meanwhile, staggered across the line a dejected eighth (4:23.93), one place ahead of a disappointing Gelete Burka of Ethiopia – altogether a race that Team Africa will be keen to forget, having had such high hopes.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF