13 May, 2017

Faith first of four more world leads

Thompson wasn’t the only woman in world leading form this evening, as Faith Kipyegon became the first woman this year to break four minutes for 1500m as she held off Dawit Seyaum of Ethiopia.

The Olympic champion was never troubled as she followed pacemaker Jenny Meadows through 800m in 2:11.44 before kicking on to victory in 3:59.22.

And Shaunae Miller-Uibo was the first to break 50 seconds in the 400m, the Olympic champion repeating her Shanghai victory from last year in 49.77. The Bahamian led for the whole circuit and strode across the line a full four-tenths ahead of the fast-finishing American, Natasha Hastings.

While it was a welcome return for her and Kipyegon, there was no victorious comeback for David Rudisha. The world and Olympic champion finished fifth on his Shanghai debut last year and improved to third this time as two of his countrymen overtook him on the home straight.

It was Kiyegon Bett who pulled clear to win in 1:44.70 with Robert Biwott dipping ahead of the fading Rudisha on the line.

I've have had a different build up with not running in Australia this year and it was my first race of the season” reflected Rudisha. “I ran a 1:45, which shows me where I'm at and it is something to build on.”

Rudisha’s compatriot Helen Obiri was in more jubilant mood after she moved a couple of places up the 5000m world all-time list to sixth. The Olympic silver medallist took three seconds from her personal best to win in 14:22.47, easily the quickest in the world this year.

Obiri never looked troubled as she ran away from Ethiopia’s world silver medallist Senbere Tesferi of Ethiopia.

The surprise of the night came in the men’s 200m where 19-year-old Noah Lyles, a two-times world junior champion, went under 20 seconds for the first time in his young career.

The man from Virginia is tipped as USA’s next Olympic sprint champion, and he looked every bit the part this evening as he outran a string of Rio Olympic finalists to equal Wayde van Niekerk’s world lead of 19.90.

It says much for Lyles talent that the former world and Olympic 400m champion, LaShawn Merritt, was left some two metres behind with Olympic fourth placer Adam Gemili third.

There was joy for the home crowd too as Xie Zhenye broke his own national record finishing fifth in 20.40.