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Ndiku soars, Amos tops Rudisha

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NDIKU-DIAMOND-RACENAIROBI, Kenya, August 29- The impressive narrative of Caleb Mwangangi Ndiku continued in the first 2014 IAAF Diamond League final in Zurich as Olympic champion and record holder, David Rudisha, abandoned his front running strategy but fell short of overhauling Botswana’s Nijel Amos in the two-lap showdown.

Despite being clean shaven on this occasion Ndiku, 21, wrapped an effervescent season in fine style when he trumped a loaded field in the men 5000m showdown to add the Diamond Trophy to his Commonwealth Games crown at the famous Weltklasse Meet in Zurich, the only Kenyan to bag the honours from the 16 on offer on the night.

In an immensely entertaining race although slightly slower than anticipated on the basis of the expected pace, Ndiku prevailed in 13:07.01 after shifting through the gears to hold off all opponents upon taking the lead just ahead of the bell.

His maiden series victory earned him the USD 40,000 (Ksh3.538) Diamond Trophy jackpot besides the winning pursue and other bonuses as the Glasgow winner returned in fine tune after running his 12:59.17 career best in Stockholm a week earlier.

He was chased home by Ethiopia’s Muktar Edris, who set a world-leading time in Stockholm, but didn’t quite have an answer to Ndiku’s sustained acceleration and was just 0.31 behind the winner.

USA’s Galen Rupp again was caught just slightly short of speed on the last lap and was third in 13:07.82 as less than three seconds the first six men home.

Ethiopia’s Yenew Alamirew, the Diamond Race leader ahead of Zurich by seven points, he wasn’t one of them since he was reportedly ill and trailed home in 12th.

Four Rudisha, the silver lining is he managed to uncorked a 1:43.96 run for third in a shortened season that he just returned from serious injury for third in a race where he needed victory to be crowned the Diamond Race winner in the men 800m event.

Coming into the race as the leader, Rudisha slumped to 0-4 against Amos, the Botswana star who beat him to Commonwealth gold in Glasgow, this season in their head-to-head count as another favourite, World champion, Mohammed Aman (1:45.01), from Ethiopia trailed down further in a stacked line-up to eighth.

Sammy Tangui, who paced Rudisha to two of his three world records, returned for the rabbiting duties and took the field through the first lap in 49.69 with Pierre-Ambroise Bosse three metres back.

The Frenchman then took over in pole position for the next 250 metres, passing 600m in 1:17.34, before the phalanx of African runners closed around him as the field entered the home straight.

With 60 metres to go, Amos burst to the front and he stayed there all the way to the line, which he crossed in 1:43.77, and it was enough to clinch the Diamond Race.

Behind him, Djibouti’s world indoor 1500m champion Ayanleh Souleiman was second in 1:43.93 ahead of Rudisha.

“I am so exited and enthusiastic looking forward for the coming season 2015!!! @Diamond_League @rudishafilm @Lagat1500 @adidasrunning.

“Wau (wow) for sure i have nothing complain it have been fairly a good season despite coming back from the injury year!!! and missing 4months train,” Rudisha tweeted after the race.

Viola Kibiwot placed third in the women 1500m final in a seasonal best of 4:00.46 but the Diamond Race honours went to US runner, Jennifer Simpson (3:59.92) in a dramatic finish that saw her emerge victorius in a tussle against compatriot Shannon Rowbury.

Simpson and Rowbury both ended up prostrate on the track after the latter had tried to squeeze through the merest of gaps on the inside in the final 10 metres, with the pair desperate to take get the full eight points in the Diamond Race.

Commonwealth and Africa men Javelin champion, Julius Yego, who was in contention for the Diamond honours finished fourth with a best throw of 84.71m to sign off what has been another storming season for the ‘You Tube Man’.

-Material from iaaf.org used in this report

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