Rudisha on fire

Kenyan 800m runs 1:41.74 at adidas Grand Prix, while Blake and Gay win separate 100m races and pick of the Brits is Robbie Grabarz with 2.36m PB

David Rudisha (Mark Shearman)

With a majestic piece of 800m running, David Rudisha clocked 1:41.74 at the latest meeting in the Diamond League series. Coasting through the bell in a fraction outside 49 seconds, one of his main rivals, Abubaker Kaki, found the pace so fierce that he stepped off the track in resignation as Rudisha glided away.

It was a ‘no mas’ moment reminiscent of John Walker’s decision to step off the track when Steve Ovett once famously kicked away during the IAAF World Cup 1500m. In this form, the tall Kenyan could be poised to become one of the stars of the London Olympics.

One of the half-dozen names, that is, that we will associate with London 2012 in a century’s time. His time was only one hundredth of a second slower than Seb Coe’s long-standing world record and only Coe and Kipketer, plus of course Rudisha himself with his 1:41.01 world record, have run faster.

The 23-year-old was not pressed although, Kaki aside, his chasers did not give up. Alfred Yego was second with 1:44.49 while Britain’s Andrew Osagie improved his PB again, this time to 1:44.61 for third.

It takes an athlete of Rudisha’s class to take the focus off the sprints. Yohan Blake won the 100m A race in 9.90, but his performance was not hugely impressive – such is the standard of sprinting today – and he beat Keston Bledman of Trinidad by just three hundredths of a second with Mike Rodgers of the US also under 10 seconds with 9.99.

In some ways, Tyson Gay raised more eyebrows with a slower time earlier in the day when he enjoyed a comfortable victory in the 100m B race in 10.00 into a 1.3m/sec headwind to win by three tenths of a second.

The 29-year-old American had not raced since hip surgery last July. But he entered the B race of the 100m on Saturday to get some race experience before the US Olympic trials at the end of the month.

The women’s 100m was also swift. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica ran 10.92 (-0.1) from American Tianna Madison, who ran a PB of 10.97. Such was the standard of the race, Carmelita Jeter was third with 11.05, Allyson Felix was fourth with 11.07 and Kelly Ann-Baptiste fifth with 11.07.

Sunette Viljoen of South African threw an African record of 69.35m to win the javelin. World record-holder Barbora Spotakova was second with 68.73m and Britain’s Goldie Sayers fourth with 59.23m.

But British performance of the meeting went to Robbie Grabarz. The high jumper did not win the competition, with Jesse Williams of the United States taking a narrow win with 2.36m. Grabarz however jumped a PB of 2.36m to go No.3 on the UK all-time list.

Steve Smith’s UK record of 2.38m, together with Dalton Grant’s 2.37m – both of which were set indoors – look within his sights. Smith’s outdoor best was 2.37m, with Grant’s best outdoors 2.36m.

Samson Oni jumped 2.25m while Britain’s Olympic silver medallist Germaine Mason, on the comeback trail from injury, did not clear a height.

On an afternoon of top-class performances in New York, Tirunesh Dibaba beat Ethiopian rival Meseret Defar over 5000m in 14:50.80. Dibaba ran the last 1500m in an estimated 4:03, the final 800m in 2:05 and last 400m in 61 seconds to win by seven seconds as she wound up the pace in terrific fashion.

Fantu Magiso gave Ethiopia another win as she took the women’s 800m convincingly with a meeting and national record of 1:57.48. Marilyn Okoro ran a solid 1:59.37 in third, while Jemma Simpson, who is based in the States, finished sixth in a season’s best 2:00.97.

Bernard Lagat showed his speed with a well-judged finish to win the 1500m on home soil in 3:34.64. Churandy Martina of Netherlands and Nickel Ashmeade of Jamaica both cracked 20 seconds in the 200m with 19.94.

Valerie Adams of New Zealand won the shot with a meeting record throw of 20.60m. Luguelin Santos of Dominican Republic beat American Jeremy Wariner in a blanket finish in the 400m with 45.24.

Zoltan Kovago of Hungary threw 66.36m to win the discus, with UK record-holder Lawrence Okoye finishing fifth with 63.87m after having spent the week struggling with a hamstring niggle.

» Abigail Irozuru smashed her long jump PB with 6.80m (0.7m/sec) in Sofia, Bulgaria. The 22-year-old, who is coached by Larry Achike, was featured in AW in November 2008 after winning the Commonwealth youth title, but now, with the Olympic Trials imminent, she has improved her 6.44m best, which was set indoors. It was an Olympic A standard and only five Brits have jumped further.

» Edna Kiplagat of Kenya won the 41st NYRR Mini 10k in 32:08. British runners included Claire Hallissey - 10th 33:33; Kate Reed - 15th 34:23; Barbara Parker – 17th 35:01.

» Thursday’s issue of Athletics Weekly features reports and photographs from the Diamond League meetings in New York City and Oslo, BMC Watford, Bedford Games and national leagues, among many other meetings.

2 Responses to “Rudisha on fire”

  1. Ray Eaton says:

    Brilliant performance by Robbie Grabarz, with a 2.36m high jump. That height would probably win a medal in London. As expected, a number of British records have fallen this year. But if Robbie Grabarz can find one more centimetre to equal, or two, to break outright, Steve Smith's record , then that would be a new landmark figure, that would take many fans of UK athletics, by surprise.

  2. Martin Sheppard says:

    can Rudisha run under 1.40 and if so when…. i'd put some money on it… bust what will be the most amazing time or distance this year…Bolt under 19secs, Rudisha under 1.40 or Sally Pearson under 12.20s…. anyone of them couild produce a geneational world record!!

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