Yomif Kejelcha, amazingly still only 17, became the first runner to run faster than 13 minutes in the 5000m this year when he beat a strong field to win in 12:58.39 at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rome on Thursday (4).
In a stadium that, almost 20 years ago to the day, saw Moses Kiptanui set a world record of 12:55.30, it was an appropriate way to celebrate that anniversary.
Kejelcha came through the pack down the home straight to take more than 12 seconds off his best, set when winning at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene last Friday, just edging out Kenya’s Paul Tanui, who had towed the field through much of the second half of the race before finishing second in a personal best of 12:58.69.
In an entertaining race, particularly over the last two laps with no fewer than eight runner seriously in contention, another three ran faster than 13 minutes in a mass finish. Doha 3000m winner Hagos Gebrhiwet finished third in 12:58.69, his Ethiopian compatriot Imane Merga clocked 12:59.04 in fourth and Kenya’s Thomas Longosiwa came home fifth in 12:59.78.
Earlier, there was another Ethiopian victory, with world 800m champion Mohammed Aman winning over two laps of the track in a world-leading 1:43.56.
After a 50.42 first lap by pacemaker Bram Som, Pierre-Ambroise Bosse took pole position when the Dutchman dropped out shortly after the bell.
Bosse still had the edge coming off the bend and into the home straight but was clearly starting to struggle as the majority of the field came past him.
In front over the final 70 metres was Aman who successfully held off Nijel Amos, the fastest man in the world over two laps of the track last year, who finished second in 1:43.80.
The late withdrawal of Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, due to a slight problem while warming up, left the 200m field wide open and Jessica Tarmoh took full advantage of the absence of the world champion.
Tarmoh pulled away from the field over the final 80 metres and, although she has run faster on a number of occasions, got what can be probably classed as the biggest of her international career when she crossed the line in 22.77.
The early events on the programme in the field saw two favourites triumph and one slight upset.
Olympic, world and European champion Sandra Perkovic continued her unbeaten run this year and tossed her implement out to 67.92m in the second round.
It was actually her shortest mark of her three outings this year but such is her high level of consistency, she was still more than two metres better than 2009 world champion Dani Samuels, the Australian finishing second after an opening effort of 65.47m.
Much was expected of Denia Caballero after her massive improvement to 69.51m in Havana last Friday, but the Cuban looked lethargic in the circle, perhaps the result of jet-lag, and only had one valid throw before finishing ninth with a relatively modest 61.25m.
David Storl had to come from behind to win the shot put but Germany’s two-time world champion showed his class in the third round.
Following Jordan Clarke’s near-personal best of 21.28m in the second round to take the lead, Storl responded with 21.46m one round later and, for good measure, reached 21.41m in the fourth round.
Clarke’s early effort held up for a slightly surprising second place in only his second European meeting and against a field that included a number major championship medallists, including world silver medallist and two-time world indoor champion Ryan Whiting.
After a couple of what she was to diplomatically describe as unsatisfactory outings in Doha and Eugene, the cards finally fell in Darya Klishina’s favour in the long jump.
With a perfect 2.0m/s breeze on her back for her second attempt, the two-time European indoor champion produced her best jump of the year and reached 6.89m in the second round.
No one could overtake her during the rest of the competition and she took the four points in the Diamond Race.
Phil Minshull for the IAAF