The Milan IAAF Grand Prix Regione Lombardia produced a few good results in middle distance running races highlighted by the World Best Performance of Dorcus Inzikuru in the women’s 2000 metres Steeplechase, by the surprising 3:33.86 of Ali Mansoor of Bahrain (born in 1988) in the 1500 metres and the comeback of 2000 Olympic champion Reuben Kosgei, who took the 3000 metres Steeplechase in 8:12.57.
In contrast to these good middle distance performances the much-awaited sprint clash between Chandra Sturrup and Marion Jones did not fulfil the expectations of the Milan fans. The Bahamian star, who won the 4x100 Olympic gold medal in Sydney, won in 11.42, a time considerably slowed by a 1.4 m/s head wind and by a Milan track which is not particularly fast. Patrick Jarrett of Jamaica upset the favourites in the 100 metres dash beating Mark Lewis Francis and Dwight Phillips in 10.36 (-1.1 m/s head wind).
Sturrup and Jarrett take 100m wins
Chandra Sturrup took her second win over Marion Jones to clinch her second consecutive race in four days after her convincing 11.15 win in Hengelo.
“I am happy with the win but the time was sluggish. I am coming back slowly. I want to drop my times race every race. Now I will go back home to prepare for the national championships and the CAC Championships in July,” commented Chandra Sturrup.
Marion Jones who was second in 11.67 expressed her disappointment for her performance on the Milan track: “My start was very bad. The track was not particularly fast. The second part was better especially in the acceleration phase. Now I come back to the West Coast to run the 100 metres Prefontaine Classic in Eugene. Then I will decide whether to compete in two more races before the Trials where I am planning to compete in the 100 and the 200 metres. This year I have decided to give up the long jump,” said Jones.
The Milan track did not help men sprinters achieve the fast times they had hoped for while the focus was on Long Jump Olympic champion Dwight Phillips (USA) and 4x100 Olympic champion Mark Lewis Francis (GBR). But it was the Jamaican Patrick Jarrett who stole the show clocking 10.36. Mark Lewis Francis took second place in 10"40 overhauling Uchenna Emedolu of Nigeria (10.41) and Dwight Phillips (10"41). The Long Jump Olympic champion used the Milan race as test to increase his speed for his run-up in his specialty.
"Running against such high-level athletes helped bringing the best from me this evening. The World Championships are a goal but I take one step at a time. Helsinki is too far now," said Jarrett.
Fastest 2000m Steeplechase of all-time
Dorcus Inzikuru grabbed the headlines of the Milan meeting setting a new World Best Performance in the rarely contested women’s 2000m Steeplechase with 6:04.41 smashing the previous limit set by the Russian Marina Pluzhnikova with 6:11.84 in St. Petersburg in 1994.
This result confirms that the young runner from Uganda, who ran a new African record of 9:28.50 in the 3000m Steeplechase at the IAAF Super Grand Prix in Doha, may be a strong medal contender when the event is held for the first time at the IAAF World Championships in Helsinki.
Second was Cristina Casandra from Romania in 6:16.58.
“I thank God for helping me fulfil the promise I made yesterday to break the World record in Milan. Now I want to make a new promise: winning a medal in Helsinki and improving my times during the season,” said a smiling Inzikuru.
Inzikuru, who is now coached by Renato Canova, emerged in 2000 when she won the 5000 metres World junior title in Santiago de Chile.
Good middle-distance performances
Ali Bilal Mansoor of Bahrain pulled out one of the major surprises of the Milan meeting taking an unexpected win in the 1500 metres in 3:33.86 with a final kick in the last 200 metres recording the sixth fastest time in the world this year.
Mansoor showed that he may be a man to watch during the season. Suleiman Kipses Simotwo ran 3:35.82 to finish second ahead of Michael Too (3:36.97).
Nancy Lagat of Kenya ran the third fastest time in the world in 2005 in the women’s 1500m with 4:04.01. Only Yulyia Chizhenko (4:03.35) and Yelena Soboleva (4:03.71) ran faster this year in Sochi (Russia). The former 3000m Steeplechase World record holder Alesya Turova finished runner-up with 4:05.41 beating the Olympic finalist Anna Jakubczak, third in 4:05.76.
Mouhssin Chehibi of Morocco, fourth in the Olympic 800 metres final in Athens, confirmed he may produce an impact in the years to come winning the two-lap event in 1:45.31 against a world class field. Chehibi's compatriot Amine Laalou, winner in Milan last year, took the second place in 1:45.62 ahead of Germany's René Herms, who confirmed his recent good results with a third place in 1'45"81.
10,000 metres Olympic finalist Moses Mosop won the 5000 metres in 13:18.73 after launching his winning kick in the finish-line to beat the very young Qatari Ismail Rached, second with 13:20.46. Third was the Austrian Günther Weidlinger who had a very good finish to take third place in 13:25.39.
The men’s 400 metres Hurdles was a South African affair with the Ockert Cilliers taking a very narrow win in 49.00 in a close finish with 2000 Olympic medallist Lewellin Herbert (49.25). The women’s 400 metres went to Lee McConnell of Great Britain with 51.71 over European indoor silver medallist Svetlana Usovich of Belarus (52.05).
Betty Heidler of Germany took a solid win in the high-level women’s Hammer Throw with 69.65m with her second attempt and had two other throws over the 69 metres barrier (69.47 and 69.14). German throwers confirmed their excellent results of the past few weeks taking second and third place with Kathrin Klaas (69.05) and Susanne Keil (68.97).
Giuseppe Gibilisco, World Pole Vault champion in Paris 2003 and Olympic bronze medallist in Athens 2004, had to content with sixth place with 5.50m after a near miss at his third attempt at 5.70m. The win went to The Netherlands’ Rens Blom who beat the surprising Greek Konstadinos Filippidis (fourth at the IAAF World Championships in Grosseto last summer) on count back at 5.70.
James Nieto of the USA, fourth at the Olympic Games in Athens, cleared 2.26 to grab the men's High Jump. The women's Long Jump went to Latvia’s Inet Radevica with 6.62 over the Greek Stella Pilatou (6.52) and former World champion Fiona May who finished third with a wind-assisted 6.50.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF