Running in heavy rain and against strong headwinds, teenage sensation Mohamed Aman of Ethiopia upset World champion and World record holder David Rudisha in the 800m to highlight the 2011 edition of the Notturna di Milano International Meeting.
Rudisha’s win streak ends at 26
In the historic Arena Civica stadium where two World records were set by Rudoph Harbig in 1939 and Marcello Fiasconaro in 1973, the men’s 800m was in the spotlight as it featured Rudisha who clocked 1:41.33 in Rieti on 10 September and just this past weekend won his second consecutive Samsung Diamond Trophy in the event in Brussels. However, it was not Rudisha’s day as the 17-year-old Ethiopian sensation Aman produced a major upset by beating Rudisha in 1:43.50 to the Kenyan’s 1:43.57.
The race was paced by Sammy Tangui who went through at 400 metres in 50.21. Rudisha led at 600 metres but Aman was dangerously running on his heels. The young Ethiopian overtook Rudisha coming off the bend and took a slight lead in the final straight. Rudisha made a desperate attempt to overhaul Aman but the youngster held his ground producing the second fastest ever time for a youth athlete behind his own 1:43.37 in the Rieti IAAF World Challenge.
Poland’s European champion Marcin Lewandowski took third place in 1:45.05 ahead of Morocco’s Mohamed El Manaoui (1:45.46) and Kenyan Nicholas Kipkoech (1:45.47). Twenty-two year-old Italian champion Giordano Benedetti set his lifetime best with 1:46.32.
“It was a hard race. I am very surprised”, said the shy Aman, who was the World Youth silver medallist in Lille last July in 1:44.68.
Aman, who finished second in Brussels in 1:44.29, halted Rudisha’s win streak in the event at 26 finals (34 including rounds), one which began at the 2009 Weltklasse in Zurich immediately after the World Championships in Berlin where he did not advance from the semi-finals which were affected by similar rainy conditions.
“It was very hard to warm up,” Rudisha said. “The same happened two years ago in Berlin. I felt very tired but I am happy with the season which was highlighted by the world title in Daegu and the Diamond League win.”
Saladuha over Rypakova with windy 14.98m
Rain partly spared the women’s Triple Jump, one of the best competitions of the Milan meeting with both World gold and silver medallists Olga Saladuha from Ukraine and Olga Rypakova from Kazakhstan. The re-match lived up to the expectations as it was held in the early part of the meeting before rain started pouring. Rypakova, World Indoor champion in Doha 2010, opened with a wind-assisted 14.69m (+2.8 m/s), while World champion and Samsung Diamond League winner Olga Saladuha leapt to 14.28m. Saladuha improved to a wind-assisted 14.94m (+2.4 m/s) in the second attempt before calling it a day. It was enough to win as Rypakova’s 14.69m was her only valid attempt. Biljana Topic from Serbia finished third with 14.16m. European Indoor champion and European outdoor silver medallist Simona La Mantia jumped 14.07m in her only attempt over the 14-metres barrier.
Russian Anna Chicherova, World champion in Daegu and winner in Brussels on Friday with 2.05m, had a clean sheet clearing 1.86m, 1.91m and 1.96m at the first attempt before calling it a day when it started raining cats and dogs. Antonietta Di Martino opened at 1.86m which she cleared at the first time of asking but then struggled at 1.90m and 1.93m where she needed three attempts before failing three times at 1.96m.
Di Martino was the most celebrated athlete of the very wet evening. She received the Award dedicated to the memory of Candido Cannavò, the late Editor-in-Chef of the Sports Daily Gazzetta dello Sport who died in 2009. Cannavò was a keen lover of athletics and the man who strongly believed in the return of the Notturna di Milano in 1998. Di Martino received this award because her determination to overcome many injuries and her ability to make possible dreams which seemed to be impossible.
“It is a big honour to receive this prize. I met Cannavò in 2007 after my silver medal in Osaka. He was a great person and a great sports writer,” said Di Martino.
Kenyan world 1500m silver medallist Silas Kiplagat won at a canter in heavy pouring rain. Kiplagat was paced in 1:51.41 at 800 metres and 2:35.51 at the 1100 metres. He ran alone against the clock in the last lap romping home in 3:33.28, a decent performance in these weather conditions.
Kenyan Augustine Choge won a hard-fought men’s 3000m race in 7:41.30 in terrible rainy conditions holding off Ethiopian Mekonnen Gebremedin (7:41.42) and Kenyan Thomas Longosiwa who clocked 7:42.00 just two days after his second place in the Brussels 5000m.
South African 400m World Championships semifinalist Oscar Pistorius ran a hugely impressive 45.97 to win the men’s 400m two days after finishing third in Brussels in 45.46.
Rain stopped falling before the women’s 800m but obviously wet conditions affected the race. Kenyan Cherono Koech, world junior silver medallist in Moncton last year, notched up the win in 2:00.34.
Rain started falling shortly before the men’s 100m. A very strong headwind of -3.4 m/s conditions ruined race which explains the 10.42 clocking by Jamaican Nickel Ashmeade, who clocked 19.91 two days ago in the memorable Brussels Samsung Diamond League 200m race. Great Britain’s Luke Fagen finished second in 10.57 ahead of 2009 European 60m Indoor silver medallist Fabio Cerutti (10.61).
Jamaican Brigitte Foster Hylton, the 2009 World champion, took the win in the women’s 100m Hurdles in 13.09 beating Italian Veronica Borsi (13.39) into a -1.2 m/s headwind. NCAA and World University Games champion Nia Ali pulled up injured.
In the women’s 400m Ukraine’s Antonina Yefremova engaged a neck-to-neck battle in the final straight with her compatriot Nataliya Pygida before pulling away in the final metres to win in 51.94. Pygida clocked 52.11. Last year’s European Championships finalist Libania Grenot of Italy finished third in 52.46.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF