BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom, June 5 – Sublime Kenyan 800m champion David Rudisha won a thrilling 600m whilst three-time world champion Asbel Kiprop took victory in the men’s 1500m with a meeting record at the Birmingham Diamond League meeting on Sunday.
World silver medallist Conseslus Kipruto continued his scintillating performance after improving his time once again in the men’s 3000m steeplechase to lead fellow countrymen to a 1-6 finish in a world lead of 8:00.12.
“It was a very good time but I was not expecting to run that time in Birmingham. (The) last two weeks, I have earned a hat-trick of Diamond League points, today I wanted it to be my fourth consecutive win,” Kipruto stated.
World champion Vivian Cheruiyot beat compatriot Mercy Cherono on the line to lead Kenyans to a podium sweep in the women’s 5000m, clocking 15:12.79.
Rudisha was pushed really hard in the rarely-run 600m by Frenchman Pierre-Ambroise Bosse but repelled him in the dying metres to win in 1:13.10, just outside the world record of 1:12.81 set by Johnny Gray in 1986.
“I had my eye on the world record, but I lost it in the last 100m. However, this is great preparation for my Olympic bid as running over this distance sharpens my speed,” said Rudisha.
His compatriot Kiprop coasted home in the men’s 1500m, the 26-year-old 2008 Olympic champion recording the fastest time ever run in Britain and the best in the world this term of 3:29.33.
Led through the first two laps in 54.38 and 1:51.72 by pacemaker Andrew Rotich, Kiprop was already well clear of the field at 1200m, which he reached in 2:47.79.
When he crossed the line, a wide smile came across Kiprop’s face as he bettered his own world-leading mark from the opening IAAF Diamond League meeting in Doha a month ago by almost three seconds.
“This is the time when you need to do this and deliver the results, in front of the fans,” reflected Kiprop.
“Getting the Diamond Race points are important as well. It helps in training as well and makes you confident ahead of the (world) championships,” he added.
Morocco’s Abdelaati Iguider was a distant second in 3:33.10.
Meanwhile, British athletics great Mo Farah paid a handsome tribute to the late boxing legend Muhammad Ali on Sunday as he broke David Moorcroft’s 34-year-old British 3000 metres record.
The 33-year-old two-time Olympic champion and quintuple world champion struck a boxing pose as he celebrated his win at the Birmingham Diamond League meeting paying his respects to Ali, who died of septic shock aged 74 on Friday.
“It was a tribute definitely to Muhammad Ali,” said Farah, who last year withdrew from the meeting because he felt drained by the coverage of the doping allegations against his coach Alberto Salazar, who denies all wrongdoing.
“My sympathy goes to his family, he was a great man. He was a real influence on me as I wrote in my biography, I looked up to him.”
The meet had been interrupted earlier for a minute’s applause to honour Ali, a former heavyweight champion and Olympic gold medallist.
Farah, who timed 7: 32.62 to take a 10th of a second off Moorcroft’s record, added he wanted to go and make history at the Olympics in August by defending his 5,000 and 10,000m titles.
“I’m in great shape. I’ve just got to believe in myself,” said the Somalia-born athlete. I want to make history in Rio. It’s never been done before and I know I’m going to have to dig deep.”