Tirunesh Dibaba said last night that she wanted to run “very fast” and 14:11.15 for 5000m is certainly very fast!
The Ethiopian’s World 5000m record* was the shock while Sudan’s Abubaker Kaki’s World Junior 800m mark provided the awe of a wonderful evening’s athletics at the ExxonMobil Bislett Games, the second meet of the ÅF Golden League 2008.
In the season long hunt for the $1 Million ÅF Golden League Jackpot, seven contenders started the evening and five emerged undefeated to fight again next month when the ÅF Golden League resumes in Rome on 11 July.
Those who continue in the hunt for $1 Million:
400m Hurdles - Bershawn Jackson (USA)
Long Jump - Hussein Al-Sabee (KSA)
800m - Pamela Jelimo (KEN)
100m Hurdles - Josephine Onyia (ESP)
High Jump - Blanka Vlasic (CRO)
Dibaba “pushes forward” to World record
Having witnessed Meseret Defar slash the World 5000m record here last year by nearly eight seconds, it was accepted before the start that while her compatriot Dibaba would undoubtedly run fast that the World mark of 14:16.63 was beyond reach.
So much for excepted wisdom!
Paced until the sixth lap by Russian Anna Alminova (1000m 2:48.08; 2000 5:43.64), Tirunesh Dibaba accompanied by her sister Ejegayehu and Kenyan Lucy Wangui were well clear of the other 15 competitors. Ejegayehu was the one to take the race through 3000m (8:38.83) but as soon as that mark was reached Tirunesh leapt to the front realising that they were three seconds outside the record schedule. One kilometre later and the reigning double World champion at 10,000m was one second in front of the required pace (11:28.44). Nothing was going to stop the World Indoor record holder tonight.
There is nothing quite like a Bislett crowd roar in distance running folklore and tonight it brought with it the 5000m record echoes of not just Defar but Moorcroft, Aouita and Kristiansen. Dibaba had chosen well for the venue of her first outdoor World record – 14:11.15. She had managed to take five and half seconds off Defar’s existing mark.
Ejegayehu exhausted by her efforts faded a little to end with 14:36.78 in third, having been passed by Wangui in the same lap which Tirunesh had first taken the lead. Wangui’s time in second was 14:33.49, a personal best.
“My sister was telling me I could do it,” said Dibaba, “that I am in my best shape ever. I could see that I was off the pace after the first 3km, and therefore I pushed forward.”
“I was not expecting such a record but it is very important to me. It was my dream to break a high quality World record. God helped me today to achieve something special.”
Kaki and Jelimo – 800m junior revelations!
We experienced the pleasure of watching two solo 800m performances today by two of the most inexperienced runners on the international circuit, the manner of whose victories belied their ages.
18-year-olds they are but Sudanese Abubaker Kaki and Kenyan Pamela Jelimo are seniors in every other definition of an athlete. Their racing embodied all the accomplishments of Olympic champions and on their current form don’t bet against them ending this season with the Beijing laurels atop their naturally mature racing brains.
Kaki’s 1:42.69 of course takes the major plaudits, as it removed the World Junior mark of 1:43.64 set by the Kenyan Japheth Kimutai back in Zürich on 13 August 1997. 400m was passed in 50.17sec (compatriot Abdullah Abdulgadir in lead), and 50 metres later after the rabbit dropped out Kaki was in the lead. He was fleetingly challenged with 200m to go by David Rudisha, the reigning World Junior champion, that attack was enough, if he noticed it at all, to send Kaki away from the field with even more zeal.
The Kenyan finished second in a personal best of 1:43.72, while South Africa’s Olympic silver medallist Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, who is acknowledged to have one of the best tactical heads in the game, came home in 1:44.04 for third.
“Great pace, great race. I felt the power. My first World record. I’m extremely happy,” said Kaki who then spent the best part of the next 10 minutes looking for his kit!
After only three months as an 800m runner we have already become used to the sensation that is Pamela Jelimo. She has accomplished the African senior title and last week the World Junior record in Berlin (1:54.99) in that short period. Even the shouts of a near capacity Bislett crowd (15,800 is the venue’s maximum) wasn’t enough on this occasion to propel her to a new PB but her 1:55.41 was more than enough to triumph.
Slovak Lucia Klocova (1:58.89) and Jamaican Kenia Sinclair (1:59.00) headed Jelimo’s pursuers. Even deeper in that pack was World champion Janeth Jepkosgei, who made a brave early bid to follow the 18-year-old wonder an effort which ultimately led to her being swallowed up with 200m to go.
Vlasic makes it number 26
Blanka Vlasic mentioned yesterday that “I’m here to repair some damage from last year!” The Croatian World High Jump champion was referring to her defeat here last year which is currently her last and which caused her to miss a share of the Jackpot in 2007.
Tonight was Vlasic’s 26th victory in a row and cemented her position as the present peerless queen of the event, her effortless 2.04m first time clearance being a one centimetre improvement of her season’s world lead.
Vlasic went on to try a ‘would-be’ World record of 2.10m but none of her three attempts were close.
Wariner keeps his word
At yesterday’s Strawberry Party Jeremy Wariner told the media that you could “count on a fast time” to make up for his 400m defeat last Sunday (1 June) to LaShawn Merritt in Berlin at the opening of the ÅF Golden League 2008. That’s exactly what the double World champion delivered.
Pacing himself better in the first half of the race on this occasion, Wariner came into the final stretch with a lead over Christopher Brown of the Bahamas but it was only a marginal one.
Were we to see the same neck and neck duel down the final 80metres as occurred between Merritt and Wariner in Berlin?
No, this was a more assured Wariner in Bislett who had judged his expended effort and remaining strength well, and that left him with fifth gear to engage and, when he did, he comfortably pulled away from an increasingly heavy legged Brown.
No wonder Brown looked tired as he crossed the line in a national record of 44.40. He had shared the previous best of 44.45 with Avard Moncur (2001), Brown’s previous PB being set last summer at the World Champs in Osaka when he finished fourth.
Wariner’s reward was a world season lead of 43.98 seconds. You can count on his word!
World season lead for Galkina
Gulnara Galkina, the World record holder, may not have been close to her global mark (9:01.51 – 2004) in the 3000m Steeplechase but her solo run of 9:14.77 was the current season’s world lead and meet record.
Never opposed after the pace maker (Mercy Njoroge) dropped out after three laps, Galkina was pursued at a distance by a posse of World champion Yekaterina Volkova, Australia’s world season leader (going into this race) Donna MacFarlane, and World Junior record holder Ruth Bisbori of Kenya. Never closing on Galkina, this trio were drawn to 9:18.24, 9:18.35 and 9:18.43 times respectively as we witnessed a great tussle to the line. MacFarlane’s performance was a new Oceania record improving on Melissa Rollison’s 9:24.29 set in 2006.
Back in sixth came an Ethiopian record for the young Zemzem Ahmed, who was recently crowned the African champion (9:25.80), improving her PB from 9:32.53 in Belem on 18 May.
Jackson looking confident
USA’s 2005 World champion Bershawn Jackson looks to be running into good racing form. He judged tonight’s 400m Hurdles so well. He fed off the slight lead that Jamaican Danny MacFarlane, in the lane outside him (5), had established coming into the last 100 metres, and jetted past his opponent to register a clear and unopposed 48.15 season’s best (his previous, 48.32 on 19 April). Jackson looks likely to be wearing the yellow bib number, which signifies a Jackpot contender, for a few races more if this form is anything to go by.
MacFarlane finished second in his 2008 best of 48.58, and LJ Van Zyl of South Africa was also at his season’s fastest (48.84).
Onyia keeps on course
A simple gun to tape win for Josephine Onyia, who had been one of the real surprises of Berlin last Sunday, confirmed the Spanish record holder is anything but a flash in the pan. She won the 100m Hurdles in 12.59 secs, well clear of USA’s World Indoor champion Lolo Jones (12.66) and Sweden’s World Indoor 60m Hurdles record holder Susanna Kallur (12.71). There was no one else in the challenge and Onyia was never threatened.
Quietly does it for Al-Sabee
He is going quietly unnoticed but Saudi Hussein Taher Al-Sabee is very much still in the hunt for the $1 Million. He might not be setting records but he is winning and that’s all you need to do…’just’ six times! Tonight, the 21-year-old Asian Games champion won the Long Jump with a second round 8.19m leap (1.1m/s wind) ahead of European champion Andrew Howe with a last round 8.16m (+0.3).
Pitkämäki beaten in the sixth round
Things were also looking good for World champion Tero Pitkämäki in the Javelin Throw but one round obliterated any dreams the Finn might have had of the $1 Million. With a first round leading throw of 85.82m which he improved by ten centimetres in the second, no one was coming close to Pitkämäki. Even when the Finn threw 84.15m in the fifth round he had not been challenged with Andreas Thorkildsen of Norway, the Olympic champion, on a competition best of 83.51m his nearest rival.
But in the sixth everything changed. First fellow Finn Tero Järvenpää went past with an 86.49m PB, and then Thorkildsen found a 87.73m release. Suddenly the World champion was back in third and with an 82.66 last he remained there, Jackpot hopes having vanished in a few minutes!
A reminder of Britain’s glory days
British middle distance victories in the Bislett stadium used to be almost common place in the 1980s and while, not surprisingly, there were no Coe or Ovett style World record antics, both men’s Miles, ‘metric’ and imperial distances, were won by runners from GBR & NI. The previous British Mile victory here in Oslo had been by Peter Elliott in 1991!
The men’s 1500m was decisively taken at the start of the evening by Tom Lancashire (3:35.33 PB) but this being Bislett with its long standing tradition of the Dream Mile, it was that meeting finale event which for the Oslo fixture alone in the ÅF Golden League 2008 stood as the Jackpot event. Here again it was a storming run by a Briton, Andy Baddeley, which triumphed. The 25-year-old who was a World finalist in Osaka and was third in this race last year came home in a personal best of 3:49.38 (previous 3:51.95 – 2007) which also established a new world season lead.
Kenyan Haron Keitany harried the Briton home in 3:49.70 with Ethiopia’s Deresse Mekonnen third in 3:49.72 a national record. He also had a PB at 1500 (3:33.71), while Baddeley's time at 1500 was 3:34.36.
Last week’s 1500m winner in Berlin and the Jackpot contender Augustine Choge was back in fifth (3:50.30). It will be no consolation to Choge that it was his personal best as like Pitkämäki he has now lost the scent of the $1 Million Jackpot at least for 2008.
In eighth there was a Saudi national record for Mohamed Shaween (3:52.52).
Windy 9.98 for Atkins
World silver medallist Derrick Atkins of the Bahamas ran sub-10 in the men’s 100m but his 9.98, while impressive was wind aided (+2.3m/s). Mike Rodgers of the USA was nearest to him (10.04) but this was as straightforward a sprint victory as they come.
A close finish in the women’s 100m which had a slightly negative breeze (-0.9m/s wind) saw 2004 Olympic champion Yuliya Nesterenko of Belarus finish third (11.26) behind Jamaica’s Sherri Ann Brooks (11.24), with USA’s Bianca Knight splitting the two (11.25).
The men’s and women’s half lap sprints went to the Netherlands Antilles’ Christian Brendan (20.39 sec) and Bianca Knight of the USA (22.56 sec). Both were basically unopposed victories.
Chris Turner for the IAAF
Click here for RESULTS
*NOTE: World record subject to the usual ratification procedures