Kenya’s double world champion Asbel Kiprop had chosen the fast-paced Monaco track for attempting to overhaul the 3:26.00 minute 1500m world record existing in the name of Morocco’s Hicham El
Guerrouj since July 14, 1998. Though Kiprop began with a scorching pace, he was finally overtaken by compatriot Silas Kiplagat. In the end the energy spent in the early pace went against Kiprop in slowing him down. To his credit, Kiplagat finished the race in 3:27.64 to the utter shock of Kiprop’s supporters. The race belonged to the Kenyans as another compatriot Roland Kwemoi came third in 3:28.81. Last Friday’s 1500m was one of the most awaited races at Monaco Diamond League, where Silas Kiplagat poured cold water on the aspirations of compatriot Asbel Kiprop, the two-time world champion. Kiprop had prepared himself to target the 16-year old world record of 3min 26sec set by Hicham El Guerrouj but Kiplagat had some ideas of his own. In the star-studded track and field program, there were stunning performances from Justin Gatlin in men’s 200m, Tori Bowie in women’s 100m, Pascal Martinot-Lagarde in 110m Hurdles, LaShawn Merritt in men’s 400m, Nijel Amos in men’s 800m, Jamaica’s Kaliese Spencer in women’s 400m hurdles, American Ajee Wilson in women’s 800m and Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba in 5,000m. In other notable results at Monaco, Colombia’s Caterine Ibarguen leaped to 15.31m in triple jump, Ukraine’s Bohdan Bondarenko leaped again to 2.40m in men’s high jump, Brazil’s Fabiana Murer won her third straight DL pole vault and Valerie Adams recorded her 53rd consecutive victory in women’s shot put.
In men’s 200m, USA’s Justin Gatlin had never achieved sub-20s timing, but at Monaco he sprinted splendidly to clock 19.68 seconds and not only broke his own personal barrier but also became the only athlete in 2014 to go under 20s. Jamaican Nickel Ashmeade finished second and Frenchman Christophe Lemaitre came third. Like Gatlin, compatriot Tori Bowie also recorded sub-11s performance in women’s 100m field that boasted names like Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Allyson Felix and Veronica Campbell-Brown. Bowie is just back after being laid off due to leg-injury, and until Monaco, she was able to reach only 11.14 but she ran the race of her life to clock 10.80 ahead of Campbell-Brown’s 10.96. Ivory Coast’s Ahoure Murielle was third in 10.97 while Felix and Fraser-Pryce were fifth and sixth in 11.01.
Botswana’s Olympic silver medalist Nijel Amos won 800m in 1:42.45 in a field that saw five men clocking under 1:43. While Frenchman Pierre-Ambroise Bosse finishing second, world record holder Rudisha had to settle for the fifth place. In 110m hurdles, France’s Pascal Martinot-Lagarde won a top-grade race in 12.95. Cuba’s Orlando Ortega was second in 13.01 and the Russian Sergey Shubenkov third in 13.14. In men’s 400m, world champion USA’s LawShan Merritt cruised easily in 44.30, ahead of compatriot Gil Roberts’ 44.52. Brazil’s Fabiana Murer won the pole vault with 4.76m ahead of 2012 Olympic champion Jennifer Suhr, who was second in 4.71. Greece’s Ekaterini Stefanidi was third. In women’s javelin, Czech Republic’s double Olympic champion Barbora Spotakova made a grand return to international action after giving birth to a child and winning with season’s best throw of 66.96m. Slovenia’s Martina Ratej was second with 64.58m.
Jamaican Kaliese Spencer won 400m hurdles in 54.09. USA’s Georganne Moline and Cassandra Tate were second and third with 54.73 and 55.07 in that order. Poland’s Piotr Malachowski won men’s discus with 65.84m from Cuba’s Jorge Fernandez, who threw 65.46m. In men’s 3000m steeplechase, Kenyan Jairus Birech was an outstanding winner in 8:.03.33m to keep his DL lead intact. In men’s field, besides 1500m, high jump was another coveted event at Monaco with 6 men, credited with scaling up 2.40m. But 2013 world champion Bohdan Bondarenko of Ukraine was the sole figure to leap 2.40m at Monaco. Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba fought off a challenge from compatriot Almaz Ayana to win the 3000m in 2014 world-lead time of 14:28.88. Ayana was second in 14:29.19 and Kenya’s Viola Kibiwot third in 14:33.73. Ajee Wilson won women’s 800m in 1:57.67 from Kenya’s world champion Eunice Sum, who finished second in 1:57.92, while Uganda’s Winnie Nanyondo was third in 1:58.63. Colombia’s Caterine Ibarguen leaped to an impressive 15.31m in the triple jump. She was far ahead of the second-placed Russian Yekaterina Koneva’s 14.89 and Jamaica’s Kimberly Williams’ 14.59. New Zealand’s Valerie Adams recorded her 53rd consecutive shot put victory, hurling the iron ball 20.38m ahead of Germany’s Christina Schwanitz’s 19.54m. USA’s Michelle Carter was third in 19.05.
Diamond League program takes a break for the Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games and will resume with the 11th meet in Stockholm on Aug. 21.