ROME, July 12 – Africa 800 metres champion Pamela Jelimo set a meet record as she won her specialty to stay in the hunt for a share of the IAAF $1 Million Golden League Jackpot at the Golden Gala in Rome on Friday night.
The teenage sensation clocked 1:55.69 on a night where three other jackpot contenders fell by the wayside with Croatia’s Blanka Vlasic the only other survivor in the jackpot chasers as she won high jump with 2.0 metre jump. Bershawn Jackson, Josephine Onyia and Hussein Al Sabee all fell out of contention after losing in their events.
The day’s highlight saw Russia’s Yelena Isinbayeva of break her own World record in the women’s Pole Vault with a stupendous 5.03m victory at the Olympic stadium.
Paced by 2001 World 400m champion Amy Mbacke Thiam of Senegal through 400m (58.48) and a little beyond, the race was only about one athlete and Jelimo lived up to her billing with World champion Janeth Jepkosgei finishing a distant second.
‘Sensational’ is much overused in the context of feats of sport but not in the case of this Kenyan marvel who could claim none of the superlatives mentioned in the previous paragraph before this season started. She has now won in Berlin, Oslo and Rome and further wins in Paris, Zurich and Brussels will give her a share of the jackpot.
All ten finishers went below 2 minutes and within that quality pack Australia’s World Indoor champion Tamsyn Lewis achieved a season’s best of 1:59.43 (6th).
In the men’s 1500 metres, All Africa Games champion Asbel Kiprop produced a devastating burst of speed in the final 50 metres to win in a new personal best of 3:31.67.
Behind him there was a long string of personal and seasonal bests, including a PB for Abdalaati Iguider of Morocco who had been leading coming into the home straight and finished second (3:31.88). In fourth, double European champion Mehdi Baala of France set a European season’s lead of 3:32.00.
No such performance from World 800 metres champion Alfred Kirwa Yego who finished fifth in a race won by led Morocco’s Amine Laalou in 1:44.27.
World 10,000metres silver medalist Sileshi Sihine of Ethiopia edged out World 5,000 metres silver medalist Eliud Kipchoge in 13:05.26.
In the steeplechase, World champion Brimin Kipruto gained some revenge when he edged out Olympic champion Ezekiel Kemboi who beat him at the trials on July 5. Kipruto timed 8:15.71 to Kemboi’s 8:16.9.