World and Olympic champion David Rudisha was left treading water in the home straight as countryman Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich slipped past the field on the inside lane to snatch a shock victory in 1:45.68 at the IAAF Diamond League.
Rudisha had targeted 1:43.50 and led the field with 200m to go, but the world record holder’s customary finishing kick was nowhere to be seen and Dutchman Thijmen Kupers attacked off the bend.
The Kenyan faded to fifth in 1:46.24, his slowest time for five years, as Robert Biwott and Alfred Kipketer took second and third ahead of Kupers as the delighted Rotich threw his arm up in celebration ahead of them.
“I’m so upset! I lost two seconds because of the start. There where high jumpers in the lane and they start,” a disappointed Rudisha said.
In the women’s 1500m, world silver medallist Faith Kipyegon lived up to expectations in style as she eclipsed her own Kenyan record with a storming piece of middle distance running that left compatriot Hellen Obiri and a trio of young Ethiopians in her wake.
The long-striding Kipyegon led from five at the bell and streaked through the final 200m to win in 3:56.82, consigning Genzebe Dibaba’s 2012 meeting record to the dustbin and lowering her own best by 0.16 to move to the top of the world list.
“I did not have a time in my head. I just wanted a good time in the race and to win. God knows who wins,” Kipyegon said.
Obiri, who was competing in her first international race after making a comeback from maternity leave, was way back but still clocked 3:59.34 for second as 19-year-old world indoor medallist Dawit Seyaum took third in 3:59.87.
“I gave birth to Tanya one year and one week ago, so to come back and run 3.59 in my first race since 2014 is great. My training has gone well for many months and I hope to go on and run a 3.56 later this season and win a medal at the Olympic Games,” Obiri stated.
Hyvin Kiyeng sets a new meeting record
In the women’s 3000m steeplechase, world champion Hyvin Kiyeng made up a 20m deficit over the last lap as she produced the sixth fastest time in history to defeat former world junior champion Ruth Jebet.
The Bahraini strode clear of the field after half way to establish a seemingly unbeatable lead only for the world champion to pass her down the back straight and sweep home for a world leading meeting record of 9:07.42.
The exhausted Jebet fell to her knees in the home straight but had tiime to pick herself up to claim second in an Asian record of 9:15.98. Ethiopia’s Olympic silver medallist Sofia Assefa was third ahead of last year’s Diamond Race winner, Virginia Nyambura.
“Wow, a personal best and a meeting record! I am proud of my last 400m, that was my strongest point. I was very relaxed before the race, confident about my shape. Looking forward to the rest of my season,” Kiyeng underscored.
@alexIsaboke is a Sports Journalist with Capital FM who hopes to inspire sportsmen achieve their dreams. Find him on the pitch, track, court, course….