Kenyan runners were in dominant form during the Sainsbury’s Birmingham Grand Prix held on Sunday August 24.
Rudisha misses world record but dominates
In the rarely run 600m race, David Rudisha was going for Johnny Gray‘s 1:12.81 the world’s record (technically called a world’s best as it’s not an official distance). In the end he missed the record but thoroughly and utterly dominated the race thus signaling that he is regaining the kind of form that saw him set world records in 2012.
Rudisha and Cas Loxom of the USA were the only racers who went out hard. The others seemed to forget that this was a 600m race and not the 800m. Loxom eventually faded to last. Rudisha started to tire and crossed the finish line grimacing but still way ahead of second placed Adam Kczot. Rudisha’s time was 1:13.71.
“I thought maybe I’d get a bit closer to the world record and probably (run) 1:12,” said Rudisha with a smile after the race to the BBC. “It’s a little bit tricky (of a distance) as it’s hard to get the first 400 right. It’s very difficult to get the right pace.”
“I felt so good except for the last 100 I felt my leg tiring up,” said Rudisha who added he’d like to try a 600 again in the coming years. “Maybe I’ll be in the world record bracket.”
Asbel Kiprop earns a measure of revenge
In the metric mile (1600m), Asbel Kiprop soundly beat Ayanleh Souleiman of Djibouti, the man who had beaten him to gold at the 2014 Commonwealth games. Vincent Kibet was third with James Magut taking second. Silas Kiplagat who has the world’s fastest time this year was 10th. Not shocking since consistency is not his strong point. When he gets his tactics right he is capable of beating anyone. But he is also capable of shocking disappointment.
The win proves that Kiprop is at his best when he focuses on winning and does not go after world records. In Monaco he lost to Silas Kiplagat specifically because his quest for the world record sapped his strength.
Jairus Birech dominates the steeplechase
Jairus Birech has thoroughly dominated the steeplechase this year in the Diamond League. The Birmingham Diamond league was no different as he beat the rest of the field by a good 9 seconds.
Coming off the final water jump, Birech had the race wrapped up so he waved to the crowd and approached the final barrier. The problem wasHe did not realize he was too closeto the barrier and did not have enough momentum to jump it. So he had to crawl over it, but still won in 8:07.80. Former Olympic champion Brimin Kipruto was a distant second in 8:16.61.
As usual Kenyans thoroughly dominated this race. The top 7 positions and 9 of the top 10 positions were occupied by Kenyans.
There is no event in any sport that is dominated by one country as much as Kenyans dominate the steeplechase.
Youngster Conselus Kipruto looked like the heir apparent to Ezekiel Kemboi when he won the silver medal at the world championships. But this year he has experienced a loss of form. He was 5th in this race.
Eunice Sum settles for second
Going into this race, Sum who recently won the Commonwealth games and African championships gold medals knew it was going to be difficult, given the presence of American youngster Ajee Wilson who beat her in their last diamond league race.
In the end it was Briton Lynsey Sharp who beat Sum to 2nd place. It was a reversal of the Commonwealth games when Sum beat Sharp into second place.
Sum is likely tired after having run several rounds in the Commonwealth games and African championships. While Sharp was spurred by the home crowd and looked much stronger down the straight.
Mercy Cherono leads Kenya 1-2-3 in 2 mile race
Cherono, the Commonwealth games champion put behind her poor performance in the African championships to win the women’s 2 mile race in 9:11.49. This is the second fastest time ever recorded in this distance outdoors. Genzebe Dibaba , the Ethiopian who earlier this season set a new indoor world record in the 3000m, did not have enough firepower to match the Kenyans. Viola Kibiwot was second in 9:12.59. Irene Jelagat was 3rd in 9:14.28
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