Thursday, June 19, 2014

Seven World Leads and Five Meeting Records in Ostrava – IAAF World Challenge

Genzebe Dibaba on her way to an African 2000m record in Ostrava
Genzebe Dibaba on her way to an African 2000m record in Ostrava, June 17, 2014
June 18, 2014, OSTRAVA, CZECH REPUBLIC (IAAF) — Brave efforts in the middle distances by Genzebe Dibaba and Caleb Ndiku and Justin Gatlin’s world-leading dash in the 100m were among the highlights of a thoroughly entertaining 53rd edition of Ostrava’s Golden Spike on Tuesday (17).
The IAAF World Challenge meeting played host to three world record attempts. Although none of them materialised, the near-capacity crowd at the Mestsky Stadium did not leave disappointed as five meeting records were broken and seven world-leading marks were set.
Near miss for Dibaba in 2000m record bid
Near the end of the evening’s programme, Genzebe Dibaba brought the stadium to life with a brave assault on the world 2000m record. She came up a bit short, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.
She reached the midway point in 2:42.67, within half a second of the pre-race target, before forging on alone for the final 900 metres. She passed the bell in 4:20.62, needing to close in less than 65 seconds to take down Sonia’ Sullivan’s 5:25.36 record set 20 years ago.
Urged on by the crowd’s clapping, stomping and screaming, the double world indoor record-holder gritted her teeth as she entered the final stretch before crossing the line in 5:27.50, the third fastest performance in history and an African record.
Her compatriot Senbera Teferi was a distant second in an African junior record of 5:34.27.
World leads for Ndiku and Gatlin
A similar scenario played out in the Zatopek Memorial 3000m earlier in the evening – albeit without a record assault – where Caleb Ndiku, the world indoor champion over the distance, also found himself running alone over the final two laps.
Unfazed, he forged on to produce an impressive 7:31.66 victory, a world lead and just inside the previous meeting record.
World youth champion Yomif Kejelcha of Ethiopia edged New Zealand’s Olympic medallist Nick Willis for second, 7:36.28 to 7:36.91, personal bests for both. Kejelcha’s time was the second-fastest performance in history by a youth athlete.
At the other end of the age spectrum, fourth-placed Bernard Lagat clocked 7:38.30. In doing so, the 39-year-old became the oldest ever man to run faster than 7:40 in the 3000m.
Poster boy Gatlin was among the chief protagonists at the meeting and his evening-capping performance in the 100m didn’t fail to impress.
Powering from the blocks, he was well ahead some 40 metres into the race en route to a 9.86 performance that knocked 0.01 seconds from the world lead he brought with him to this eastern Czech city.
“I almost broke the (9.83) meet record so I’m pleased,” said the 2004 Olympic champion, who extended his unbeaten streak in the event this season to eight.
Mike Rodgers held off Kim Collins 10.08 to 10.12 to finish a distant second

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