5000m world champion Almaz Ayana stole the limelight at Rome Diamond League on June 2, 2016. The Ethiopian ran a mightily impressive race but couldn’t overhaul compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba’ world record. Regardless, Ayana’s time was still the second fastest in history. Tirunesh may not be able to hold on to her world record for long. She had set that mark in 2008 Oslo Golden League Meet and besides Ayana, her own sister Genzebe is also knocking off seconds from it in recent times. The Rome Diamond League Meeting is the part of 36th edition of Golden Gala Pietro Mennea and many athletes came up with stellar performances. Notable results came with Conseslus Kipruto winning men’s 3000m steeplechase; Caster Semenya yielding another great 800m run and Janieve Russell excelling in women’s 400m hurdles. Among other notable actions, Justin Gatlin dipped his season’s best by 0.01 second and recorded his fifth consecutive Golden Gala victory; two women ran 100m in under 11 seconds; Ukrainian high jumper Bohdan Bondarenko recorded his third DL victory of the season and Colombian double world champion Caterine Ibarguen also won her third DL triple-jump.
The most keenly watched event at Rome DL was women’s 5000m, in which Ethiopia’s reigning world champion Almaz Ayana set the track on fire. Ayana clocked 14:12.59 and became history’s second fastest runner. Besides setting a new meeting record and a world-lead, Ayana came very close to breaking Tirunesh Dibaba’s world record of 14:11.15. It has been 8 years since Thirunesh set that time in the Oslo Golden League but going by the way, Ayana and Thirunesh’s younger sister Genzebe are running, a new 5000m women’s record is not far away. On Thursday, Ayana looked like running at a better pace than Thirunesh’s during the Oslo Meet of 2008 but missed the world mark by a whisker. This was also the second DL victory for Ayana after Rabat. Kenya’s Mercy Cherono was a distant second but she could still set her PB with 14:33.95 ahead of compatriot Viola Kibiwot, who finished third in 14:34.39.
In men’s 3000m steeplechase, it was 1-2-3 for Kenya. Conseslus Kipruto dished out another superb performance that took his DL victory total to three after Doha and Rabat. By clocking 8:01.41, Kipruto improved his world seasonal best. Jairus Birech was a distant second in 8:11.39 and Paul Kipsiele Koech third in 8:14.46. In women’s 800m, South African Caster Semenya proved her superiority by winning the season’s third DL race after Doha and Rabat and equaled her world seasonal best time of 1:56.64. Burundi’s world Indoor champion Francine Nyonsaba was second in 1:58.20 while Great Britain’s Linsey Sharp finished third in 1:59.03. Jamaica’s Janieve Russell won women’s 400m hurdles with the world-lead time of 53.96. South Africa’s Wanda Nel Theron was second in 54.61 and GBR’s Eilidh Doyle third in 54.81.
USA’s Justin Gatlin won men’s 100m sprint with a new world-lead time of 9.93 and recorded his fifth consecutive win at Golden Gala. Gatlin’s compatriot Ameer Webb was second in 9.94 while French runner Jimmy Vicaut finished third in 9.99s. Barely 80 minutes earlier, Webb had already won the 200m sprint in 20.04s ahead of Canada’s Aaron Brown, who clocked 20.24. Panama’s Alonso Edward was third in 20.25. In women’s 100m sprint, two women clocked less than 11 seconds. Elaine Thompson of Jamaica won her second DL race in 10.87 and Eugene winner USA’s English Gardner clocked 10.92 to finish second ahead of her compatriot and Portland’s world Indoor champion Barbara Pierre (11.13).
In men’s 400m, South African’s world champion Wayde Van Niekerk topped the event in 44.19 ahead of Grenada’s Bralon Taplin, who clocked 44.43. Botswana’s Isaac Makwala was third in 44.85. Van Niekerk is the first man in athletic history to clock under 10 seconds in 100m, under 20 seconds in 200m and under 44 seconds in 400m. European champion Bohdan Bondarenko won the men’s high jump and scored his third DL win after Shanghai and Rabat with a second-attempt clearance of 2.33m. Britain’s Robbie Grabarz was second in 2.30 as he beat third-placed Italian and world