Fresh from breaking the world indoor 1000m record in Stockholm three days ago, Ayanleh Souleiman was targeting a 3:33 performance over 1500m at the Glasgow Indoor Grand Prix, the fourth and final IAAF World Indoor Tour meeting of 2016, but the world indoor champion over the distance had to concede defeat to the perennially underrated Moroccan Abdalaati Iguider on Saturday (20).
Iguider, Souleiman’s predecessor as the 1500m world indoor champion, arrived fresh from a world-leading 3000m time of 7:39.04 in Stockholm on Wednesday and although the pacemakers didn’t hit their target times – 1:53 at 800m and 2:21 at 1000m – Iguider wrestled the lead from the pre-race favourite with 300 metres remaining and had speed to burn on the last lap, pulling away for another world lead in 3:34.94 with Souleiman second in 3:36.30.
Iguider and Souleiman could meet again at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Portland 2016; the event fits into both of their plans, but Iguider hasn’t confirmed whether he will go for his second 1500m title or step up to the 3000m.
With Dawit Seyaum a late scratch from the women’s 1500m, one might have thought the race would be a contest between Sifan Hassan and the clock but the Dutchwoman was tracked all the way by another up-and-coming Ethiopian.
Hassan was keen to run fast in her first race since coming back from South Africa where she has been training in the off-season and she was on sub-four-minute pace with the clock showing 2:58 with two laps to go.
But she was probably not expecting Gudaf Tsegay to be on her tail at this stage of the race. Running from the front, Hassan opened up a small but decisive gap on the battling Ethiopian teenager for victory in 4:01.40.
“I plan to do some 800m races next and then head to the World Indoor Championships in Portland. After that, the focus will be on the Olympics in Rio,” said Hassan.
Tsegay’s time was also notable: her mark of 4:01.81 was an outright lifetime best and a world U20 indoor record* by more than a second, the previous best being by Kalkidan Gezahegne who clocked 4:03.28 in 2010.
Farah just misses world lead in the 3000m
There was talk in the off-season that Mo Farah might have a crack at the world indoor record over 15 laps of the track but the double world and Olympic champion said in the pre-event press conference that a fast time was of a secondary importance today.
And so it proved. The anticipated pace through two kilometres of 5:00 would have brought Farah inside the European record but the pacemakers unfortunately missed this target by six seconds.
Consequently, instead of pushing on in search of a fast time, Farah was content to allow Augustine Choge to come through and take up some of the pace.
The Kenyan clearly wanted to keep the pace respectable in order to ensure a top-three finish which would secure him victory in the 3000m IAAF World Indoor Tour standings and a wildcard to the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Portland.
It wasn’t a vintage Farah performance but the 32-year-old took the lead again with 350 metres remaining to the approval of a capacity crowd inside the Emirates Arena before he won in 7:39.55, fighting hard to finish ahead of Choge who was second in 7:40.66.
Farah’s 1500m splits were timed at 3:48 and 3:51.6 respectively and his last two laps were covered in 29.9 and 29.0.
With victories in Dusseldorf and Karlsruhe and a second-place finish in Glasgow under his belt, Choge will travel to Portland as one of the favourites for the 3000m title, a decade after claiming the Commonwealth Games 5000m title which remains his only senior major championship victory to date.
Kszczot and Bishop confirm their dominance over 800m
Adam Kszczot made it five wins from five starts with another commanding win in the 800m to confirm his ascendancy in the IAAF World Indoor Tour.
The Pole sat in the middle of the pack as pacemaker Bram Som pushed the pace through halfway in 51.29 but the world silver medallist was content to run another even-paced race.
He moved up into third place on the penultimate lap before kicking away for victory in 1:46.23, coming home ahead of Ireland’s Mark English, who was second in 1:46.99.
Mohamed Aman tracked Kszczot on the first three laps but Ethiopia’s 2013 world champion tripped on the last lap and didn’t finish.
Melissa Bishop just missed the world-leading mark in the women’s 800m but the Canadian concluded her brief European indoor tour with her second win in four days.
Bishop tracked the pacemaker through 400m in a quick 58.08 but a slower third lap outside 31 seconds probably cost her a sub-2:00 clocking, and the world-leading mark which stands to Joanna Jozwik at 2:00.12.
The world silver medallist still lowered her Canadian indoor record to 2:00.19 while Laura Muir used her 1500m strength to finish strongly in second in 2:00.70 with Jozwik third in 2:00.88.
The women’s 3000m was arguably the most competitive event on the programme with six athletes still in contention at the bell.
Kenya’s Nancy Chepkwemoi looked to be labouring somewhat at this point but, revived by the sound of the bell, she kicked to victory in a career best, indoors or out, in 8:49.06.
Poland’s Sofia Ennaoui came late with her usual charge but just missed the win by 0.01, having to settle for second in 8:49.07, which was also a career best for the distance.
Steven Mills for the IAAF
*subject to the usual ratification conditions