Ethiopian clocks 3:50.07 on a sensational night of Herculis Diamond League action
The hints had been there. An African record run in Barcelona earlier this month together with top form over 5000m and on Friday Genzebe Dibaba did what she said she would – clocking 3:50.07, she broke the 1500m world record.
It came on a night of many magnificent marks in Monaco. Behind Dibaba, Sifan Hassan ran a 3:56.05 Dutch record, Shannon Rowbury broke Mary Slaney’s long-standing US record and Laura Muir went sub-four minutes for the first time, clocking 3:58.66 for a Scottish record and to go second behind only Kelly Holmes on the UK all-time list.
Not only that, but the Herculis meeting also offered a men’s 1500m and that too was far from dull. Asbel Kiprop produced another superb performance as the world champion clocked 3:26.69 to go third on the world all-time list and beat a field which saw four athletes go sub-3:29 in a single race for the first time in history.
Then there were the numerous meeting records and world-leading performances.
But stealing the show was Dibaba. The world indoor record-holder had run 3:54.11 nine days before but was clearly hungry for more. Paced by world indoor 800m champion Chanelle Price through 400m in 60.31 and 800m in 2:04.52, she was set up for her historical run. Hassan remained with her for a spell but after going through the bell in 2:50.3, Dibaba pushed on and the gap began to grow. Storming down the home straight and over the line the world record was broken, her time taking 0.39 off Qu Yunxia’s mark set in 1993.
“I knew from the beginning that I could break the record and am still able to improve, maybe under 3:50,” she said. “I’m the first from Ethiopia getting the 1500m world record, that is amazing.”
Looking ahead to Beijing, she added: “One thing is clear, I will double at the World Championships. And let’s try for the 5000m world record after Beijing.”
Rowbury’s 3:56.29 betters a record that had belonged to Slaney for the past 32 years and her fellow American Jenny Simpson was just behind her in 3:57.30. Muir, who finished fifth, described her own time as “crazy”.
“I didn’t think I’d done it because there were so many people in front of me but I just kept running as hard as I could,” Muir said. “I just can’t believe I’ve broken four minutes.”
Earlier on and the men’s race also had its fair share of excitement. Two years ago Kiprop had clocked 3:27.72 to defeat Mo Farah and his European record-breaking 3:28.81. The Kenyan again beat Britain’s Olympic, world and European 5000m and 10,000m champion on Friday evening but this time, even though Farah only just missed his best with 3:28.93, there were two athletes between them as Olympic champion Taoufik Makhloufi ran a 3:28.75 PB and 2012 world indoor champion Abdalaati Iguider a 3:28.79 PB.
“At the bell I saw 2:31-2:32 so I knew it could be a very fast time,” said Kiprop. “At the end I’m very satisfied but can admit I wanted a bit of a faster time.
“I felt strong, Monaco is my place,” he added. “It is great and confirms my shape before Beijing.”
Farah, fresh from 5000m victory in Lausanne a week before, said: “It was good to be in that company. Coming here I wanted to run hard, not just race.”
Also looking ahead to Beijing, he added: “As for the double in Beijing, I will do the 10,000m for sure and then we will see about the 5000m.”
Kiprop had followed the pacemakers and strung out the field over the first lap as the 400m mark was passed in 53.72. A gap continued to grow between the leaders and Farah before pacemaker Andrew Kiptoo Rotich went through 800m in 1:50.37. Farah was around 15 metres back at the bell and as Kiprop cruised over the line, Makhloufi and Iguider came through to grab second and third.
Ten of the 14 athletes in action set PBs and behind Farah was New Zealand’s Nick Willis with an Oceania record of 3:29.66. USA’s Matt Centrowitz ran 3:30.40 but in this race that was a mark that was only good enough for 10th.
Further top track marks were to follow and, recovered after his fall in Lausanne, Caleb Ndiku ran a world-leading 7:35.13 for 3000m. Bosnia’s Amel Tuka, whose 800m PB at the beginning of the year was only 1:46.12, ran 1:42.51 to go No.4 on the European all-time list and beat a field including Nijel Amos, Ayanleh Souleiman and Mohammed Aman.
In the sprints, Candyce McGrone won the 200m in a 22.08 PB ahead of Dafne Schippers with 22.09, while Dina Asher-Smith clocked 22.41 for fifth. The 400m was won by Francena McCorory in a world-leading 49.83 as Christine Ohuruogu ran a UK-leading 50.82 in fourth.
A time of 9.78 secured another 100m win for Justin Gatlin, with Chijindu Ujah fourth in 10.08, while Sharika Nelvis led a USA top five in the 100m hurdles with her time of 12.46 as Tiffany Porter finished sixth in 12.66. USA’s Bershawn Jackson was again dominant in the 400m hurdles as the Doha and Lausanne winner clocked 48.23 to beat Poland’s Patryk Dobek with a 48.62 PB.
In the first event of the meeting, USA’s Joe Kovacs managed the best throw in the world since 2003 to break the Diamond League shot put record. His 22.56m PB came in the second round and followed a throw of 21.53m in the first. All three of his other valid throws were over 21 metres. After fouling her second, third and fourth attempts, Croatia’s Olympic and world discus champion Sandra Perkovic soon got into the swing of things and threw a winning 66.80m in the fifth round to extend her lead in the Diamond Race standings. That beat the best of 65.21m managed by Australia’s Dani Samuels in the final round.
A leap of 6.87m secured Ivana Spanovic a win in the long jump as British athletes Lorraine Ugen and Shara Proctor managed 6.73m and 6.65m for third and fifth respectively. Another head-to-head triple jump battle saw USA’s Olympic champ Christian Taylor come out on top, his 17.75m meeting record beating Pedro Pablo Pichardo’s best mark by just two centimetres.
World record-holder Renaud Lavillenie was back to winning ways in the pole vault as he cleared 5.92m and Mariya Kuchina won the high jump with 2.00m to equal her PB. Javelin victory went to Tero Pitkamaki who threw 88.87m, while the final event on the track – the women’s 3000m steeplechase – was won by Tunisia’s Olympic silver medallist Habiba Ghribi in a world-leading meeting record time of 9:11.28.
» Full results can be found here. The meeting was shown live on British Eurosport as a part of athleticsweekly.com-sponsored Diamond League coverage