In this season’s fourth Diamond-League meeting in Eugene, several star-studded events ended with world-leads but three women athletes came tantalizingly close to breaking World Records in their events. Bahrain’s Ruth Jebet looked like breaking Gulnara Galkina’s 2008 world record of 8:58.81 in women’s 3000m steeplechase. Second placed Kenyan world champion Hyvin Kiyeng wasn’t far away either as she finished 0.04 seconds adrift of Jebet. In women’s 100m hurdles, USA’s Keni Harrison clocked 12.24 seconds and missed the 1998 world record of 12.21 by a mere 0.03 seconds. But Harrison still broke Brianna Rollins’ American record of 12.26. Among other notable winners at Eugene were; Tori Bowie, Justin Gatlin, Asbel Kiprop, Muktar Edris, Mo Farah, Christian Taylor and Sandra Perkovic.
Ruth Jebet of Bahrain nearly set the Eugene track on fire with a great run in women’s 3000m steeplechase. No woman had ever run the SC in less than 9 minutes, except the world record holder Gulnara Galkina of Russia. During the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Galkina bettered her own world record of 9:01.59 and became the only woman to clock less than 9 minutes. Her record of 8:58.81 was seriously threatened by Jebet in Eugene, where the Bahraini woman looked like doing the race in less than Galkina’s time. All Jebet needed to do was to run the last lap in 68.8 seconds but her duel with the Kenyan world champion Hyvin Kiyeng in final stages made things complex. Although Jebet’s chase of history fell through with her finishing time of 8:59.97, she still became the second woman in history to complete the race in a sub-9 minute time. It was a new Asian Record as well. Behind Jebet, Kiyeng ran a great race too and her time of 9:00.01 was too good for a new African Record. Third-placed Emma Coburn of USA also set a new American record despite a much slower time of 9:10.67.
Another world record came under threat in women’s 100m hurdles. USA’s Keni Harrison clocked the second fastest time in history to finish in 12.24, just 0.03 seconds adrift of 1988 world record of 12.21 by Bulgaria’s Yordanka Donkova. The dominant Harrison went past the existing American record, hitherto held by 2013 world champion Brianna Rollins. While Harrison finished first, Rollins did the race in 12.53 to finish second with Jasmin Stowers third in 12.55, making it an American 1-2-3. The men’s 110m hurdles was won by Jamaica’s Omar McLeod in 13.06. McLeod has already recorded four fastest times this season and hasn’t lost in any event since 2015 Beijing World Championships. He had also finished as 60m hurdles champion in Portland’s World Indoor Meet 2 months ago. In men’s 100m, Justin Gatlin posted his fastest time of 2016 to win in 9.88 seconds and upstaged Jamaican Asafa Powell (9.94) and compatriot Tyson Gay (9.98). In women’s 100m sprint, USA’s English Gardner swept a strong field to win in 10.81. Her compatriot Tianna Bartoletta finished second in 10.94 but Jamaica’s world and Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce met with a huge disappointment as she finished last in 11.18.
USA also grabbed top three places in men’s 400m hurdles. Michael Tinsley won the race in 48.74; Kerron Clement was second in 48.87 and Bershawn Jackson third in 49.04. In women’s 400m, Bahrain’s Shaunae Miller was first in 50.15; USA’s Francena McCorory and Natasha Hastings were second and third in 50.23 and 50.86 respectively. In another keenly awaited event, USA’s Tori Bowie defeated Dutchwoman Dafne Schippers and Elaine Thompson in women’s 200m. Bowie recorded 21.99 and held off Schippers, who did the race in 22.11. Third-placed Thompson clocked 22.16.
Kenya’s Asbel Kiprop ran an effortless Bower-man Mile in 3:51.54 to finish first ahead of Morocco’s Abdalaati Iguider, who took 3:51.96 for the second place. USA’s Boris Berian won an aggressively run men’s 800m in 1:44.20. Kenya’s Ferguson Rotich was second in 1:44.56. Men’s 5000m was reduced to three men in closing stages but Ethiopia’s Muktar Edris held sway after the final curve to win in 12:59.43 to record his second consecutive DL win after Shanghai. Kenya’s Geoffrey Kamworor was second in 12:59.98 while Canadian Mo Ahmed finished third with a new national record of 13:01.74.
Mo Farah of Great Britain won 10000m in a world-lead time of 26:53.71 and recorded his career’s third-quickest time. Kenyan William Malel Sitonik was second in 26:54.66 while Ethiopia’s Tamirat Tola finished third in 26:57.33. The London Olympic winner of 5000m and 10000m, Farah is eying for a repeat performance at Rio in less than 3 months’ time. Women’s 1500m was won by Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon in a world-lead time of 3:56.41 with Ethiopian duo of Dawit Seyaum and Gudaf Tsegay taking second and third places in their personal bests of 3:58.10 and 4:00.18 respectively.
World and Olympic triple-jump champion USA’s Christian Taylor leapt 17.76m to win at Eugene. It was another 1-2-3 for USA with Will Claye and Omar Craddock taking second and third places respectively with 17.56 and 17.15m. In the men’s javelin, Egypt’s Ihab Abelrahman’s final throw of 87.37m fetched him the top spot and equaled the world-lead set by Germany’s Thomas Rohler in Ostrava eight days ago. Kenya’s world champion Julius Yego was second with 84.68m while Rohler finished third with 82.53m. World record holder Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie won men’s pole-vault from Canadian world champion Shawn Barber. Both of them missed 5.87m but Lavillenie’s first attempt of 5.81m was enough to secure the win. In women’s high jump, USA’s Chaunte Lowe won with a clearance of 1.95m. Saint Lucia’s Levern Spencer was second in 1.92m.
In throw events, USA’s Joe Kovacs won men’s shot put in a world-lead hurl of 22.13m on his final attempt. New Zealand’s world indoor champion Tom Walsh finished second with 20.84m. In women’s discus, Croatia’s Sandra Perkovic came from behind to send the disc flying to 68.57m and beat Germany’s Nadine Muller, who had been leading the field until 5th round. Muller was second with 65.31m and Frenchwoman Melina Robert-Michon finished third 63.69m.