Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge, 2003 World champion and 2008 Olympic silver medallist, improved world seasonal best for 5000m with a 12:56.46 run last night at the Notturna di Milano, an EA Permit meeting (25).
Kipchoge, who ran 13:00.91 in Hengelo, came to Milan with the goal to dip under 13 minutes. Pacemaker Benson Esho set a fast pace going through in 2:31 at 1km and 5:07.35 at 2km. Kipchoge broke away from the rest of the field at 3 km which he passed in 7:45.59. From this point Kipchoge ran alone against the clock passing the 4km in 10:19.76. Thanks to a strong final kilometre Kipchoge crossed the finish-line in 12:56.46 to improve the previous 2009 world best time run by Ethiopian Ali Abdosh (12:59.56 in Hengelo). So far only Kipchoge and Abdosh have managed to dip under the 13 minutes barrier in the 5000m in 2009.
Ethiopian Deresse Mekonnen, World Indoor 1500m champion, finished runner-up in 13:07.76.
Cusma is back in good shape
While Italian Daniele Meucci ran his PB of 13:26.09 for seventh place, setting the B-qualifying standard for the World Championships, the true national highlight of the meeting was produced by Elisa Cusma who won the women’s 800m in 1:59.53, improving her previous seasonal best of 1:59.83 set when she won in Thessaloniki on 10 June.
Cusma held off Olympic bronze medallist Hasna Benhassi (2:00.17), 2005 World champion Zulya Calatayud (2:00.70) and Yuliya Krevsun, this year’s European Team Championships winner who leads the world lists with 1:58.62.
The victory for the European Indoor 800m bronze medallist marked her bounce back from her seventh place in the 800 metres at the European Team Championships in Leiria last weekend marked (also finished third in the 1500m in PB of 4:08.72).
“I had a bad day last Saturday because I was too tired but the following day I ran my PB in the 1500 metres. Today I faced strong rivals. I felt again in very good shape and I ran my seasonal best. My next race is at the Mediterrenean Games in Pescara next week”, said Cusma.
Olympic finalist Yeimer Lopez of Cuba, who ran 1:43.07 last year, dominated the men’s 800m in 1:45.27. Italian Lukas Riffeser finished in second place in 1:46.77 beating Goran Nava (1:47.07), an Italian-born athlete who opted to compete for Serbia (the country of his mother) in order to take part in the Olympic Games in Beijing. Mario Scapini, European Junior 1500m champion finished fourth setting his PB of 1:47.32.
Cuban Alexis Copello, who jumped 17.65 this year, won the men’s Triple Jump with 17.12m with a very strong headwind of -3.9 m/s. Momchil Karailiev (17.22 this year) produced 16.96 but the headwind was even stronger (-4.7 m/s). Fabrizio Schembri, who jumped 17.27 in Turin on 4 June and finished third in Leiria, finished third with 16.83 (headwind -1.5 m/s).
Russian Olympic bronze medallist Svetlana Feofanova vaulted 4.61m on her second attempt to win the women’s Pole Vault over this year’s European Indoor champion Yulia Golubchikova, who was second with 4.51. Feofanova tried two unsuccessful attempts at 4.71.
A strong headwind of – 1.7 m/s slowed the men’s 100 metres where Briton Craig Pickering cruised to 10.32 sec. “The time was slow but I am happy with my race. It was promising for the rest of the season”, said Pickering, who clocked a wind-assisted 10.08 in Ostrava last week.
Italian race walking strength on show
The men’s 5km Race Walk featured reigning Olympic 50km champion Alex Schwazer, 2004 Olympic champion Ivano Brugnetti and this year’s 20 km European Cup winner Giorgio Rubino. These three, the best Italian walkers who are training at altitude to prepare the World Championships in Berlin, chose Milan as a competitive test in the build-up to Berlin.
Brugnetti took the lead from 2km breaking away from Schwazer. Brugnetti clocked an impresive 18:38.45, missing the Italian record held by Maurizio Damilano by eight seconds. “I did not expect to walk so fast considering that I am working very hard to be ready for Berlin. This means that the hard work will bear its fruits in August,” said Brugnetti.
Schwazer, who is training in Livigno with Rubino and Olympic bronze medallist Elisa Rigaudo and will compete in his first 50km race on 28 June in Dublin, clocked 19:51.68. “I am happy with the work I have done in training in the last three months. I am confident that I will be in top shape in Berlin,” said Schwazer.
2001 World champion Amy Mbacke Thiam of Senegal took the women’s 400m beating Italian record holder and last weekend’s European Team Championships winner Libania Grenot, 50.86 to 51.22sec.
Russian Alexander Shustov, who cleared 2.31 this year, won the men’s High Jump with 2.28m. Italian Alessandro Talotti equalled his seasonal best finishing in second place with 2.25.
Anca Heltne from Romania, this year’s European Indoor bronze medallist, was the best in the women’s Shot Put with 18.94m. Chiara Rosa, who equalled her own Italian record with 19.15 at the Berlin Golden League meeting on 14 June, finished second with 18.18.
Ireland’s David Gillick won the men’s 400m in 45.51sec, Guzel Khubbieva from Kazhakistan took the women’s 100m in 11.51, while the women’s 100m Hurdles went to Irina Lenskay from Israel in 13.01.
The Notturna di Milano commemorated Candido Cannavò, the former Editor in Chef of the famous sport daily Gazzetta dello Sport who died at the age of 78 last February. Cannavò, a keen lover of athletics in Milano, strongly supported the return of the Notturna di Milano meeting in 1998. The proceeds of ticket sales of this year’s Notturna were allocated to help the victims of the tragic earthquake which struck the Central italian region of Abruzzo in April.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF