Kenya's David Rudisha broke the World record* in the 800m clocking 1:41.09 at the ISTAF 2010 - IAAF World Challenge - meeting in Berlin on Sunday afternoon (22).
The 21-year-old showing no signs of nerves or tiredness in the closing stages, as he bettered the previous mark of 1:41.11 which Kenyan-born Wilson Kipketer, who went on to represent Denmark, set 13 years ago also on German soil in Cologne.
Pre-race Rudisha made no secret that he planned to attack the meet best performance of 1:42.98 which Brazil's legendary Joaquim Cruz achieved a quarter of a century ago, on 23 August 1985.
Rudisha – ‘I knew it was my day’
But after putting together a perfect first lap where he sat slightly behind fellow Kenyan pacemaker Sammy Tangui qho passed the bell in 48.68sec, Rudisha let rip with every ounce of energy and speed in his body. The former World junior champion went to the front immediately and powering down the backstraight held a lead of 25m from his floundering rivals with 200m remaining.
Rudisha who came into the race as world leader with a time of 1:41.51, didn't falter around the last bend and hitting the home straight maintained his concentration to erase Kipketer's long standing performance.
Rudisha who suffered a shock elimination at the 2009 World Championships, said: "Last year I had a bad time in Berlin. The weather was not very good and I did not make the final. So I did not want to talk too much about the world record before today's race.”
"But I knew it is my day,” he continued. “I trained very hard, the weather was good. I told the pacemaker to run the first lap under 49 seconds - he did a great job.”
"The last 200m I had to push very hard - but I saw the clock 1:41.09 at the end. "Fantastic, I am very happy to be the fastest 800 metres runner in the world."
A Kenyan clean sweep saw Boaz Lalang and Abraham Kiplagat claim the other podium positions with times of 1:44.34 and 1:44.49.
Kipketer expected the World record news
Wilson Kipketer who set the previous World mark of 1:41.11 in Cologne, Germany, on 24 August 1997, "wasn't a bit surprised to hear the news," The three-times World champion is presently in Singapore at the Youth Olympic Games, and commented that, "David has been running well all this year, and even last year, and I thought he could do it one day. In a way it was good to see it broken after so many years."
Semenya back in sub-2:00 territory
World 800m champion Caster Semenya, in her first major outing since returning to athletics at the beginning of July, scored a brilliant victory on the same track where she gained her gold medal and notoriety a year ago.
Semenya came back to the German capital with only two low key races in Finland under her belt. The South African teenager clearly showed the signs of rustiness she displayed in Scandinavia are now a thing of the past as she executed an excellent race to win in a season's best 1:59.90.
Semenya sat comfortably back in the pack which went through the bell in 58.48 and then staying perfectly positioned, made no move until coming into the last 100m.
Then the 19-year-old, sniffing the fresh Berlin air where she claimed her global title last summer, stepped up a gear to clinch a celebrated victory.
Semenya stepping on the gas with 60m remaining flew forward to pull ahead of Kenya's 2010 World junior silver medallist Cherono Koech who lowered her lifetime best to 2:00.40 with Elisa Cusma Piccione third in 2:00.44.
"It feels good to be back in Berlin," said Semenya who received a great ovation on her lap of honour. "I did not think about everything that happened after my gold medal, I just concentrated on my race and time."
"My goal was to run under two minutes and I did," she added before confirming she will seek a place in the National team for the Commonwealth Games which take place in October.
"When I was first in the home straight this brought back memories of the 2009 final to me."
Semenya after an intensive preparation spell in her homeland after her Finnish outings, admitted: "After my training I was a little disappointed with my competition results this year. But now I am happy because I can see the progress. My next competition will be in Brussels (next Friday) and then I am looking forward to the Commonwealth Games."
World lead for Bekele but Kiplagat misses out
Tariku Bekele showed no signs of fatigue after his Zurich 5000 victory as he blasted out a 7:28.99 world leader for the 3000m, also a personal best which erased the meet record of 7:30.76 set by Ali Saidi-Sief a decade ago.
The Ethiopian whose previous fastest was 7:29.11, was helped around the 7 1/2 laps circuits by Garrett Heath and Bethwell Birgen who paced the first two kilometres in 2:29.87 and 5:02.27 before he established his dominance ahead of his rivals.
His electric last 400m saw him shrug away the challenges of the Kenyan pair of Vincent Chepkok and Edwin Soi who finished in PB and a season's bests of 7:31.41 and 7:33.21 respectively.
Bekele revealed that he had hoped to assist Bernard Lagat smash the US record but the Kenyan-born star fell away finishing seventh in 7:35.11.
There were also high hopes Silas Kiplagat would challenge his world 1500m lead and possibly emulate the ISTAF record which Said Aouita set 25 years ago of 3:29.46.
But it wasn't to be as unchallenged over the final 400 metres he did win in an impressive 3:30.61, with Ethiopian Mekonnen Gebremedhin spoiling a Kenyan 1-2 when dashing Augustine Choge's hopes by 0.23sec with a PB of 3:31.57.
Simpson and Carter take 100m titles
The 100m sprints saw Olympic silver medallist Sherone Simpson looking a lot fitter after injury score her first victory since the Jamaican Championships in May.
Simpson powered through in the last 15 metres to win clearly in 11.09 ahead of Kelly-Ann Baptiste by 0.05 with European champion Verena Sailer on home soil third in 11.24.
"It was important to win," said Simpson after her summer drought of successes. "The time does not matter. Now I want to finish the season healthy and look forward to the World Championships next year."
There was a Jamaican 1-2 in the men's event from Nesta Carter and Mario Forsythe with clockings of 9.96 and 10.11 while Caribbean neighbour Richard Thompson the Olympic runner-up, was third in 10.18.
Jermaine Gonzales the world 400m leader until superseded when beaten by Jeremy Wariner in Zurich on Thursday returned to winning ways with an easy victory in a time of 44.90. The 25-year-old former World junior silver medallist went off quickly, held a two metre lead into the home straight which he increased to over five at the finish line.
Costa Rica's Nery Brenes in a tight finish managed to steer clear of European champion Kevin Borlee by 0.17sec recording 45.47sec.
Kaliese Spencer fresh from winning the Samsung Diamond League 400 Hurdles overall prize gave world leader Debbie Dunn a run for her money in their very close 400m encounter. The pair with Dunn leading were neck-and-neck almost to the tape, the American winning by 0.08sec as the Jamaican 23-year-old set a season's best of 50.64 with her teammate Shericka Williams third in 50.85sec.
Lopes-Schliep’s momentum continues
After wins in London and Zurich, World leader Priscilla Lopes-Schliep scored a third 100m Hurdles victory in nine days when beating off fellow Canadian Perdita Felicien by 0.14 in 12.57. Carolin Nytra took third place for Germany in 12.75 while World Indoor gold medallist Lolo Jones was never a contender finishing sixth in 12.90.
"I am happy with the time, I'm really having a good second half of the season," said Lopes-Schliep firmly establishing herself as favourite for the Commonwealth gold medal.
Ryan Wilson, after his third place over 110m Hurdles in Zurich, triumphed ahead of the British pair of Andrew Turner and William Sharman with a mark of 13.27. The two Brits who were wooden spoonists in the Leitzigrund Stadium posted times of 13.30 and 13.44.
Friedrich wins, Hooker falters
Ariane Friedrich, the world bronze medallist, was pushed to the limit by Antonietto Di Martino before winning on countback ahead of the Italian who was fourth on that occasion.
The German favourite although keeping a clean sheet to a height of 1.97m failed when the bar was raised to 2.00m as did Antonietta Di Martino who had earlier failures at 1.80m and 1.93m.
The biggest failure however came from pole vaulter Steve Hooker. Desperate to atone for no heighting in London the previous weekend the Australian had two no-jumps with the bar at the opening height of 5.41m. Then passing until 5.51m the Olympic and World champion crashed out adding to his woes of what has been a season mixed with good and bad results.
Italy's Giuseppe Gibilisco won with a 5.71m leap with Lukasz Michalski and Giovanni Lanaro second and third on countback ahead of Derek Miles, Richard Spiegelburg, Brad Walker and Fabian Schulze who also vaulted 5.61m.
European Long Jump champion Christian Reif was struggling to make a podium finish until launching a winning effort of 8.06m with his final attempt. The world leader's last gasp effort saw him edge out the challenge of Salim Sdiri who took the lead clearing 7.99m in the previous round with the winner's teammate Sebastian Bayer third with a season's best of 7.98m - again in the last round.
Obergfoll, Heidler and Harting collect wins for Germany
Christina Obergfoll gave the 47,000 plus very noisy fans just the start they needed when producing a home win to take the javelin with a season's best throw of 67.57m.
Germany's only track and field medallist at the 2008 Olympics again beat fellow countrywoman and European gold medallist Linda Stahl for the second time in three days following their clash at the Samsung Diamond League in Zurich. Obergfoll the Beijing bronze medallist led from start to beginning of the competition throwing an opener of 63.73m, 65.10m and 64.99m in the third and fifth rounds before rounding off by adding 26cm to her best this season.
The crowd packing the entire lower tier of the 1936 Olympic Stadium loved it and as a bonus 24-year-old Stahl who surprisingly won the Euro crown in Barcelona pulled out her best effort with her final attempt of 61.82m to push US record holder Kara Patterson who threw 60.97m, into third position.
"After the European Championships I wanted to show the world class athletes that I am still on the radar," said Obergfoll. "And I was successful in doing so by winning in Zurich as well as today.
"These were two sensational competitions. It is my birthday today and it feels like Easter and Christmas together. I am hungry for more - I continue to be highly motivated," added Obergfoll.
Obergfoll's added a second early German success at the meeting. European champion Betty Heidler having won the hammer the previous day with a throw of 75.35m ahead of World record holder Anita Wlodarczyk (74.43m) and Barcelona silver medallist Tatyana Lysenko who threw 73.14m.
Another German Robert Harting was also in fine form and after finally getting it right and going into the lead in the third round with an effort of 65.53m produced further efforts of 66.44m, 66.50m and 68.24m for a conclusive victory. Aussie Benn Harradine threw 64.46m for second spot with Yennifer Casanas third with his opening effort of 64.36m.
Former World title holder Reese Hoffa pulled off his Shot Put victory with a fifth round throw of 21.29m to narrowly beat Olympic champion Tomasz Majewski whose furthest was 21.26m. The host nation's Ralf Bartels was third after his first effort of 20.73m.
David Martin for the IAAF
* pending the usual ratification procedures
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