From the gun, Jelimo gave a glimpse to the powerful front running that made her unassailable in her golden 2008 season and was in the frame for victory in the homestretch before Akkaoui closed in and beat the Olympics champion on the line in a world leading 1:59.01.
The ‘Kapsabet Express’ returned 1:59.10, her first sub 2:00 race in almost two years, to inspire confidence that a successful title defence at the London Olympics can be mounted by the runner who won 13 out of 13 races she started in 2008.
In the corresponding men’s race, Poland’s Adam Kszczot raced 1:44.57 to force Kenya’s Timothy Kitum (1:45.96) and former Olympics champion as well as Worlds bronze winner Yuriy Borzakovskiy from Russia (1:46.08) to accept the lesser podium places.
Africa 5,000m gold medallist, Edwin Soi completed a fine 7:32.52 victory over the charging World junior champion Isaiah Kiplangat (7:32.89) in the men’s 3,000m race as Ethiopia’s Alamirew Yenem (7:33.30) came ahead of Daegu Worlds finalist Thomas Longosiwa (7:34.81) to snatch bronze.
The quality field also witnessed Olympics 3,000m steeplechase champion, Brimin Kipruto clock 7:39.07 to place fifth ahead of World Indoor titleholder, Tariku Bekele (7:42.38) in sixth.
In the men’s 1,500m event, the much vaunted Kenyan challenge spectacularly failed to spark as Morocco’s Abdalaati Iguider took top honours in 3:34.10. Kenyan born Turk, Ozbilen IIham Tanui (born William Biwott Tanui) took silver in 3:35.26 as Commonwealth champion and Worlds silver medallist, Silas Kiplagat trooped home in 3:35.26.
Ismail Kombich (3:35.49), Daniel Komen (3:36.96) and Nixon Chepseba (3:37.01) trailed their compatriot to complete the top six.