SHANGHAI, China, May 19- After his London Olympics nightmare, world men 1500m champion, Asbel Kiprop, has signalled his strongest intent to hold on to his crown in Russia after sealing his second straight IAAF Diamond League victory of the season in Shanghai, China over the weekend.
Heading to London as the man to beat, Kiprop bombed out of the Olympics final, finishing last in a performance the save for the drama elsewhere, would have been rated as the most spectacular fall from grace since he was the overwhelming favourite for the gold.
Then, he blamed his no show at the biggest sporting stage on the globe on a hamstring injury sustained during the final light training session before Team Kenya boarded the plane for London.
With 3:32.39 reading on the clock, Kiprop duly added the Shanghai crown to the Doha title he scooped a week ago to serve notice to his rivals that once again, he is the man to beat in the Metric Mile should he remain fit for Moscow.
It’s still early in the season but comprehensive wins at the elite global circuit places Kiprop on the pedestal to carry the favorite’s tag at this summer’s biennial showpiece in Russia.
Runners from Kenya and Ethiopia again showed their dominance in distance events. The women’s 5000m title went to Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia who clocked a world leading 14:45.92. Kenya swept the top nine spots in men’s 3000m steeplechase with Conseslus Kipruto, the World Junior champion, setting the world leading time and meet record in 8:01.16.
Elsewhere, London Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica outran her arch-rival Carmelita Jeter again as she won the women’s 100m sprint. The 1.52-meter-high Jamaican set a world leading time of 10.93 to claim the title, 0.15 seconds ahead of London Olympic runner-up Jeter of United States.
“I feel very relaxed. I came here to win and just to see how I would do,” said Fraser-Pryce who grabbed the gold in women’s 100m and the silver in 200m event at London Olympics as well as 100m gold at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin and 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
“I am looking forward to the rest of the season. I will focus on the 100m and 200m at the World Championships. I am planing to do both. I will do the best I can.”
Jeter only finished third in 11.08s while Blessing Okagbare of Negeria finished second in 11.00s.
Kirani James of Grenada, also an Olympic gold medalist at London Olympics, set a world leading time of 44.02 seconds to win the men’s 400m race and his winning time also level with the meet record. 2008 Beijing Olympic champion Lashawn Merritt of United States clocked 44.60s as the second placer while Luguelin Santos of Dominican Republic finished third in 45.11.
Women’s 800m runner Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi, Colombian triple jumper Caterine Ibarguen, Czech 400m hurdler Zuzana Hejnova, Finn javelin thrower Tero Pitkamaki as well as local long jumper Li Jinzhe also set a world leading result in Shanghai.
Rising sprinter Zhang Peipeng from China continued his tip-top form as he improved the national record of men’s 200m event by 0.07 seconds on Saturday.
The former national record of 20.54 was set in 1996 by Han Chaoming. Zhang’s national teammate Xie Zhenye also shared the record as he set his personal best of 20.54 in 2012.
Local favorite Gong Lijiao, bronze medalist at 2012 London Olympic Games, failed to bring home the women’s shot put title as 2013 European indoor champion Christina Schwanitz of Germany set a new personal to claim the title.
The 27-year-old took the leading position from the first hurl in 19.76 meters, bettering her former personal best of 19.31, and went on to reach a mark of 20.20 in her fifth throw to secure the top podium.
“I improved my personal best from 19.31m to 20.20m. I am super surprised and it is a big improvement for me,” said Schwanitz. “The result is because of the change in my training. I changed my weight lifting and also polished my technique.”
World 110m hurdling record holder Aries Merritt only finished one hurdle before he stopped to watch his compatriot Jason Richardson win the race. Merritt said he did not feel good in his leg and decided not to take any risk.
Merritt’s cautiousness was shared by Yelena Isinbayeva although the Russian pole vault “queen” only need one attempt to clinch her victory by leaping over 4.70 meters. After failing twice at 4.85m she stopped charging for further height due to a small pain in her leg.
Poland’s Piotr Malachowski notched the men’s discus title with a winning mark of 67.34 while Qatari Mutaz Essa Barshim jumped over 2.33 with just one attempt to seal the men’s high jump title.