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Rudisha falls short of record, Cherono soars

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RUDISHA-BIRMINGHAMNAIROBI, Kenya, August 25- Olympic champion, David Rudisha, fell just short of owning another world record whilst motoring to a commanding victory in the rarely competed men 600m race at the Birmingham Grand Prix IAAF Diamond League meeting.

World champion, Asbel Kiprop, Commonwealth titleholder, Mercy Cherono, African gold winner, Jairus Birech also scored emphatic victories as Worlds and Commonwealth crown holder, Eunice Sum was stunned in her 800m speciality.

Birmingham saw the Kenyan force bounce back with vengeance after the ignominy of failing to register victory at the preceding leg of the 14-meet Diamond League in Stockholm last Thursday.

All eyes were on the men 800m record holder and he stepped to the plate with a commanding performance where he looked to have regained some of his old front running thrust in stopping the clock at 1:13.71.

Rudisha’s run went down as one of the meeting’s three world leads (the others coming in the two mile races).

The target was Johnny Gray’s world record of 1:12.81 and the Olympics champion certainly attacked.

Eschewing pacemakers, he went through 200m in 23.25 before hitting the 400m mark between 46 and 47, bang on his predicted schedule.

The task from there was to push over the last 200 metres and that’s what he did, striding ever further away from the field around the bend to raise everyone’s expectations before he tired over the final 50 metres

“Today wasn’t so bad,” said Rudisha, who went through 600m in 1:14.30 when setting his 800m world record. “

This is my first 600m, so I guess it was difficult to judge the pace. I think I tried my best.”

It may not have been the world best everyone had hoped for, but it was still the fourth quickest of all time and less than a second off his target; not bad for a man still on the comeback trail from injury.

There may have been no record for Rudisha but there was for his fellow Kenyan Cherono, who led home a clean sweep in the women’s two miles.

Cherono tracked Ethiopian rival Genzebe Dibaba in the leading group of seven over the last four laps, then burst past the World Indoors champion and compatriot Viola Kibiwot at the top of the finishing straight to cross the line in a world-leading 9:11.49.

Kibiwot chased her to the line to record a personal best of 9:12.59 while Dibaba slipped back to fourth.

Kiprop’s finish was impressive too as he took the 62nd Emsley Carr Mile in 3:51.89, following a litany of famous names into the historic book where the event’s winners sign their names.

The world 1500m champion made it look easy when swept off the final bend to pass three men down the home straight.

Djibouti’s Ayanleh Souleiman prevented a Kenyan sweep by hanging on for second ahead of Vincent Kibet and James Magut as 14 men broke four minutes.

Birech continued his brilliant form this summer with a solo run in the steeplechase that brought him home in 8:07.78.

It may have been much closer to eight minutes but for the 21-year-old slowed to wave at the crowd as he rounded the final bend and stopped completely at the last barrier before hitching himself over with his hand.

It didn’t make much difference to the result, however, as he had a 70-metre lead and strolled across the line to break the meeting record by almost 12 seconds.

Beijing Olympics and Osaka Worlds champion Brimin Kipruto followed him home in 8:16.61 as Kenyans filled the first seven places.

Lynsey Sharp got revenge on Sum in the women’s 800m, the Commonwealth Games silver medallist beating the woman who took gold in Glasgow with a late run in 1:59.14 and Kirani James wrapped up his season with a second Diamond League win, holding off Botswana’s Isaac Makwala in 44.59, just 0.10 outside Iwan Thomas’s 17-year-old meeting record.

Home favourite, Mo Farah, blasted to history by improving on a 36-year-old European best for two miles to bring the Birmingham Grand Prix to a rousing finish at the Alexander Stadium.

It was the last in a series of ‘non-standard’ distance bests at the Diamond League meeting.

Farah produced a solo run second mile of almost exactly four minutes to win in 8:07.85, eclipsing Steve Ovett’s 1978 mark for the non-championship event by six seconds.

-Sourced from iaaf.org

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