Rieti, ItalyAt today's IAAF World Athletics Tour meeting in this small, beautiful central Italian town, Jamaica’s Asafa Powell wrote a new chapter in the Rieti Grand Prix’s history book, breaking his own World 100m record with an incredible 9.74 second run (+1.7 m/s).
What made Powell's feat more sensational was the fact that he made it in the heats easing up in the final metres giving the impression that something very special was to be expected in the final. In that later race in windless conditions (wind +0.0 m/s), Powell could not dip under his new record but he ran smoothly in another impressive sub 9.80 time of 9.78, one hundredth of a second slower than the World record of 9.77 which he had set in 2005 and twice equalled last year, and which he had improved in the earlier heat.
Michael Frater, the 2005 World silver medallist, finished second in the final in his season’s best of 10.03, following on from a 10.11 clocking in today’s first 100 metres heat. Jaysuma Saidy Ndure from Norway clocked 10.10 for third place. Italy’s best sprinter Simone Collio, a former World and European 60 metres indoor finalist, ran his lifetime best of 10.14 finishing fourth in the city where he lives and trains.
Powell’s 9.74 was the seventh World record broken at the magic track of Rieti. The last record falling in 1999 thanks to Noah Ngeny of Kenya who ran 2:11.96 for the 1000 metres.
Top class 800s - Jepkosgei clocks 1:56.29
Rieti also lived up to its reputation as a superb track for middle distance races. World 800m champion Janet Jepkosgei of Kenya ran an impressive 1:56.29 clocking, the third best performance of her memorable season, just two days after winning at the Zürich Golden League. Svetlana Usovich dipped under 1:59 for second place in 1:58.68. Spain's Mayte Martinez and Italy's Elisa Cusma, second and third behind Jepkosgei in Zûrich, confirmed their good form running under 2 minutes respectively with 1:59.29 and 1:59.36.
"I feel happy with the time. I broke my best time in Rieti from last year. I hoped to run 1:55 but it's ok. My next race will be Berlin next week,” said Jepkosgei.
Bahrain dominated a high quality men's 800 metres, an event which nearly always produces fast times in Rieti. Ali Belal Mansoor in 1:44.02 edged out Asian record holder Youssef Saad Kamel, runner-up in 1:44.11. Five men dipped under 1:45 with 2007 World champion Alfred Kirwa Yego of Kenya taking third spot in 1:44.50, followed by Amine Laalou from Morocco (1:44.89) and Dmitriy Bgdanov of Russia (1:44.94).
Charging Cheruiyot, while record attempt over barriers goes off course
World 5000m silver medallist Vivian Cheruiyot of Kenya, the second fastest female runner in history at 5000 metres, set a new meeting record in the women's 3000 metres with 8:30.25 which is the second fastest time in the world this year. In the men’s race, Thomas Pkemei Longosiwa set the fourth fastest time of the season with an impressive 7:32.39, beating Yusuf Biwott (7:33.39) and Edwin Soi Cheruiyot (7:34.07).
A World record attempt was planned in the women's 3000m Steeplechase which featured many of the best specialists in the world. Pacemaker Yelena Sidorchenkova ran 3:04.99 for the first 1 km, with Russian World champion Yekaterina Volkova taking the lead soon after and clocking 6:20.77 for 2km, the pace was much slower than in the World record set by Gulnara Samitova in 2004. Consequently, the race became a battle between Volkova and Cristina Casandra from Romania, the Russian taking the win in 9:26.80 defeating Casandra who finished runner-up in 9:30.39.
In a relatively low key women’s 1500m there was more Russian success and Olga Yegorova finished first in 4:03.27 prevailing over Kenyan Viola Jelagat Kibiwot (4:03.63) and another Russian Yuliya Fomenko Chizenko (4:04.52).
A ‘what might have been’ moment for Murofushi
In a great men's Hammer Throw competition, Japan’s Koji Murofushi, the Olympic champion who finished ‘only’ sixth at the World Championships in Osaka, won a very close battle over three-time World champion Ivan Tsikhan (Tikhon) by just one centimetre. The Belarus star was the first to throw over the 80 metres with a 80.05 release on his second attempt which he improved to 80.27 in the fourth round.
In the fifth round, Murofushi responded by taking the lead with 80.46m, and an exciting battle developed in the last two rounds in which Tsikhan returned to the leading position with a 82.61 release and seemed to be on for a victory. But on his last attempt Murofushi overtook Tsikhan with 82.62m, his new seasonal best, and a throw which would have gained him the World silver in Osaka.
"I had a fantastic competition,” confirmed the winner. “I was very relaxed. I love competing in Rieti, a small and nice city. I felt no pressure as I did in Osaka. At the World Championships, Ivan did a great competition and deserved to win.”
Savigne leaps to meet record
A new meeting record was set in the women's Triple Jump where the Cuban World champion Yargelis Savigne leapt to a winning 14.92m distance twice, beating Russia’s World and Olympic Long Jump champion Tatyana Lebedeva again, who she had also relegated to silver in Osaka. The Russian produced a best jump of 14.75 while Anna Pyatykh from Russia and Italian record holder Magdelin Martinez also performed well jumping 14.71 and 14.70 respectively.
Saladino - Alone over 8m
With Italy’s European champion and World silver medallist Andrew Howe sidelined by a minor injury, World Long Jump champion Irving Saladino from Panama made just two valid jumps with a best of 8.31m to take a comfortable win. Saladino was the only man able to jump over 8 metres this afternoon.
Italy’s Antonietta Di Martino, the World silver medallist in Osaka with 2.03m, cleared 1.95 at her second attempt in the women’s High Jump but lost to joint Osaka silver medallist Anna Chicherova of Russia who had a nearly perfect competition clearing 1.98 at the first time of asking before failing her one attempt at 2.01.
Australian 100 metres Hurdles record holder Sally Mclellan notched up a victory in the flat 100m in 11.30 beating specialists Stephanie Durst (11.37) and Debbie Ferguson (11.38), while World 100 metres silver medallist Lauryn Williams tested her form in the women's 200 metres clinching victory in 22.76 ahead of Durst (22.87) and Cydonie Mothershill (22.80).
Canada’s Tyler Christopher dipped under 45 seconds to take an easy win in the men’s 400 metres in 44.94, with the women’s one lap going to Jamaican Shericka Williams in 51.08.
In the men's 400m Hurdles, World silver medallist Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic started very fast and led until the final straight but was beaten in the closing stages by World bronze medallist Mark Plawgo from Poland who took a very narrow win by five hundredths of a second in 49.07.
Poland also gained the women’s 400m Hurdles victory with fellow Osaka World Championships bronze medallist Anna Jesien winning in 54.78 which beat Natasha Danvers-Smith of Britain (55.03) and Russia’s World record holder Yuliya Pechonkina (55.31).
The men’s Pole Vault was won by Denis Yurchenko from the Ukraine who cleared 5.72.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF