Amidst amazing performances in Paris’ 8th Diamond League Meeting of 2015 season, three athletes attempted to reach long standing world marks in the Saint-Denis arena on July 04, 2015. The closest was USA’s Evan Jager, who missed by an incident of fate but still made history in men’s 3000m steeplechase. But Jager still broke Northe American record by running in 8:00.43 minutes. It could have been different if he had not fallen after the last barrier. This misstep allowed Kenyan Jairus Birech to pass him. Jager had done so well until then that he got up, joined the race and still finished second. In women’s 5000m, Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba fell several seconds short of her sister Tirunesh’s world mark of 14:11:15, set in Oslo Golden League meet in June 2008. Qatari high jumper Mutaz Essa Barshim, who had already reached 2.43m in 2014, had planned to a have a go at Javier Sotomayor’s 22 year old record of 2.45m but he got unlucky. Despite these higher level misses, Meeting Areva, which encompassed the Paris DL, ended with several great performances. There were six world-lead results, three meeting records, six French records, a European record, an African record and Jager’s North American record. Most athletes were charged with the confidence going into the August’s Beijing World Championships.
In men’s 3000m steeplechase, USA’s Evan Jager got patently unlucky. Jager was all set to break Saif Saaeed Shaheen’s 11 year-old world record of 7:53:63 that the Qatari athlete had made at Brussels in September 2004. Although he shattered the American by finishing in 8:00.43, his last-barrier debacle prevented him to make athletics history. The field was rich with Kenya’s Jairus Birech and his compatriot, the 2015 world leader Ezekiel Kemboi also participating. But 4 minutes into the race, it became clear that Jager was attempting something special. Soon after 2000m, Jager passed Birech and went into the lead. It was 5:32 with two laps to go and the American pushed himself hard and soon led Birech by nearly 4 meters. On the final water jump, Jager’s lead had grown to over 10 meters. If anything, Jager was certain to emerge as the 13th steeplechaser to breach 8 minutes. Then the hell broke loose. After Jager passed the last barrier, he stumbled and went down. Birech passed him and won in 7:58.83 as disappointment gripped American fan. But Jager managed to get up and took the second place in 8:00.43. His last minute fall had taken away the precious seconds that could have crushed the field and possibly the world mark!
In women’s 5000m, Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba finished just short of the record set by her sister Tirunesh. In one of the most hyped-up events of the Paris DL, Genzebe was pitted against arch-rival and compatriot Almaz Ayana. They went into the race with the aim of breaking Tirunesh Dibaba‘s 7-year old world record of 14:11.15. Put poor pacing by the two Ethiopian women made them falter in the last kilometers and Dibaba settled for 14:15.41 after passing Ayana in the last lap.
In high jump Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim had prepared himself for breaking Javier Sotomayor’s long-standing record. But he fell and finished fifth to leave the top spot for Russia’s Daniil Tsyplakov. In men’s 100m, Jamaica’s Asafa Powell won in 9.81 but Frenchman Jimmy Vicaut stole the show by finishing second in 9.86, a new European record. In 400m, a totally unheard South African Wayde Van Niekerk defeated Kirani James by finishing in 43.96, which is the new African record.
There was disappointment for French supporter in Paris, when Renaud Lavillenie lost the first place in pole vault after six wins on the trot, leaving the top finish for Filippidis Konstantinos of Greece. Incidentally, women’s pole vault was also won by a Greek woman Nikoleta Kiriakopoulou, who created a world lead with 4.83m. In men’s 1500m, Kenya’s Silas Kiplagat dished out his best performance this year with the world-lead time of 3:30.12. Djibouti’s Suleiman Ayanleh was second with 3:30.17. Another world-lead time came in men’s 110m hurdles, in which Cuba’s Ortega Orlando won in 12.94 while France’s DL leader Pascal Martinot-Lagarde finished fifth. There were no surprises in women’s 100m, where Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won with a new meeting record, Colombia’s Caterine Ibarguen expectedly won in women’s triple jump and Kenya’s Eunice Sum taking the 800m.
In other results at Paris, men’s long jump was won by USA’s Michael Hartfield; Poland’s Piotr Lachowski took men’s discus; Czech Zuzana Hejnova won women’s 400m hurdles; Germany’s Christina Schwanitz shocked New Zealand’s Valerie Adams in women’s shot put and Czech Spotakova Barbora won women’s javelin.
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