Hengelo, The Netherlands – A world-leading run in the 1500m by Maryam Jamal and a solid 13.07 victory in the 110m Hurdles by Dayron Robles were among the key highlights at the 29th FBK Games in Hengelo on Sunday (29).
The FBK Games is an IAAF World Challenge Meeting.
Early afternoon clouds made way for mostly clear and sunny skies as the programme got underway, just in time for Jamal, who showed no signs of fatigue from her victory at Rome’s Samsung Diamond League fixture on Thursday. The two-time defending World champion confidently shook off a last lap challenge as she breezed to a 4:00.33 win, yet another world lead in what is the Bahraini’s finest season start since 2007.
When Moroccan Siham Hilali and Kalkidan Gezaghegne of Ethiopia forged a three metre gap just beyond the bell, Jamal didn’t panic, biding her time instead as the pair duked it out at the front. Gezaghegne, the World indoor champion, took to the front with about 250 metres remaining, but her lead was short-lived. Jamal switched gears as she entered the final straight and effortlessly blew by both with about 70 metres remaining to take an emphatic victory.
Behind her, both Gezaghegne and Hilali’s aggressive runs were rewarded with career bests, 4:00.97 and 4:01.33 respectively, both under Jamal’s previous world lead. Kenyan Irene Jelagat, the 2006 World junior champion and runner-up in Doha earlier this month, finished fourth in 4:02.59, also a personal best.
Robles 13.07, equals world lead
Meanwhile, Robles’ second outing of the season in the 110m Hurdles was an even more eagerly awaited highlight of the day’s packed programme, and by any measure, the Cuban impressed. Cautious at the start, the World record holder and Olympic champion settled into his rhythm by midway and was never threatened, reaching the line in 13.07 to equal Liu Xiang’s world lead from the Samsung Diamond League stop in Shanghai.
Jamaican record holder Dwight Thomas was second in 13.18, just .02 shy of his national record from last year. Further back, former Olympic medallist Terrence Trammell was third in 13.31 while Briton Andy Turner, the European champion, never recovered from a sluggish start and reached the finish a badly beaten seventh in 13.72.
In the women’s 100m Hurdles, the race was close and quick as expected, with American Danielle Carruthers edging world leader Kellie Wells by a scant 0.01 in 12.64. The mark took 0.01 from Susanna Kallur’s meeting record set exactly six years ago. The battle for third was even closer, with Olympic champion Dawn Harper edging Lolo Jones, both credited with 12.71. Tiffany Ofili clocked 12.77 in fifth, breaking the British national record of 12.80 set by Angela Thorp in 1996.
There was also a blanket finish in the men’s 1500m and when the cloak was lifted, a new star emerged. With a strong, confident homestretch run, Mohammed Shaween held off more established metric milers en route to his surprise 3:31.82 victory, a national record for Saudi Arabia. The 25-year-old knocked more than two seconds from his previous best set in Doha in 2008 with his impressive run in his first race since taking the Asian Games title last November.
Kenyan Collins Cheboi led the field through 1200 metres – he would later fade to fifth with a 3:34.16 PB – but Shaween took command in the waning stages to steal the win from quick-closing Kenyan Haron Keitany (3:31.86 SB), Ethiopian Gebremedhin Mekonnen (3:31.90 SB) and Kenyan Caleb Ndiku (3:32.02 PB) in the deepest race of the young season.
Soi takes 5000 as Alamirew struggles
The men’s 5000 was a quality race as expected, one that Yenew Alamirew will likely file away as a learning experience. After his stunning 7:27.26 victory in the Doha 3000m three weeks ago, expectations were high that the 21-year-old Ethiopian would translate some of that magic into the Hengelo 5000m, but instead he learned the hard way that patience is indeed a cherished virtue.
After settling into the middle of the strung out pack during the opening few laps, by 2000 metres he was already at the front before injecting a quick change of pace to open a gap of some ten metres on the chase pack. He settled down soon thereafter and allowed his pursuers to close the gap, allowing some others – Eliud Kipchoge and Vincent Chepkok among them – to take turns with the lead.
He repeated the move again a few laps later, opening the same gap before slowing yet again. By the time the lead pack of five were halfway through the bell lap, Alamirew couldn’t respond to the kickers, with Edwin Soi running away with the victory in 12:59.15, ahead of Chepkok’s 12:59.28. Kenyan Jacob Chesari was third in 13:01.03 with Alamirew finally reaching the line in 13:02.71, still a massive career best. We can likely expect a much different run by the Ethiopian in his next outing.
Smooth sailing for Defar
In the women’s 5000m, Meseret Defar got her season off to a fine start as the Ethiopian notched a comfortable and controlled victory over a strong field.
Her time, 14:45.48, wasn’t nearly as indicative of her current form as was her sub-62 second final lap, which nobody could remotely match. Dibaba led a top-four sweep for Ethiopia with Sentayehu Ejigu (14:46.12) second, Sule Utura (14:46.36) third and Genzebe Dibaba (14:46.55) fourth.
Calvert and Collins take 100m honours
Schillonie Calvert added her name to the crowded Jamaican sprint scene after an impressive win in the 100m. Running a strong second half the 22-year-old reached the line in 11.05, her second personal best in eight days. This time she improved from 11.13, and displayed plenty room for more.
Bahamian Debbie Ferguson was second in 11.12, well ahead of Gabon’s Ruddy Zang Milama’s 11.23, season’s bests for both. Merlene Ottey’s 10.97 meeting record, set in 1990, survived yet another year.
2003 World champion Kim Collins took the men’s race with a 10.05 season’s best, fending off Dutchman Churandy Martina (10.10) and Trinidad & Tobago’s Richard Thompson, who clocked 10.13. Martina’s run was also a season’s best while Thompson, the Olympic silver medallist, equalled his.
Meadows and Ksczot triumph in 800m
In the women’s 800m, Briton Jenny Meadows took the lead for good about midway through the final turn to claim the win in 1:59.76, her first dip into sub-2:00 territory this season. Emma Jackson impressed with her 2:00.24 run for second to complete a British 1-2. Annet Negesa finished third in 2:00.40, setting a new Ugandan record.
The afternoon began with the men’s 800m, won by Poland’s Adam Ksczot in a come-from-behind effort. Mohammed Al-Azemi of Kuwait tried to steal the race after pacesetter Sammy Tangui stepped off the track, carving out a two-and-a-half-metre gap on the pack down the back straight. He maintained the lead through the final bend but was eventually reeled in and overtaken by Ksczot and Kenya Boaz Lalang (1:45.31). Al-Azemi held on for third, clocking 1:45.31.
Harting and Saladino prevail
As in yesterday’s Shot Put competition, the men’s Discus Throw produced solid results. World Champion Robert Harting took the competition with a third round 68.23m effort, with Dutchman Erik Cadee second with a 66.16m best. Pole Piotr Malachowski, last year’s Samsung Diamond Race winner in the event, was third with a 65.25m throw, a season’s best.
Irving Saladino returned to the winner's podium in the Long Jump, courtesy of a wind-aided (+3.1) 8.38m leap in the fifth round. Ghanaian Ignisious Gaisah was second with an 8.26m (+1.6) best with Briton Gerg Rutherford third (8.18m). World champion Dwight Phillips struggled, finishing a well-beaten sixth with best of just 7.97m.
Elsewhere, Debbie Dunn won the 200m in 23.24 ahead of Briton Abi Oyepitan (23.33), Levern Spencer won the High Jump at 1.94m, and German veteran Tim Lobinger beat American veteran Derek Miles on countback in the Pole Vault, with both topping 5.62m season’s bests after fighting difficult winds.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF
breaking the British national record of 12.80 set by Angela Thorp in 1996.