DOHA, May 9 – Over a dozen world leads and meet records emphasized yet again the quality of the Qatar Super Grand Prix in Doha, on Friday evening.2004 Olympic gold medallist and three times world silver winner Ezekiel Kemboi made a claim for ‘chaser of the early 21st century with a sub-eight minutes victory (7:58.85) over the best field of the night.
And the only man to challenge that claim, of course, Saif Saaeed Shaheen made a return to the track after 18 months out with injury (which required surgery), and ran 7.32.46 for 3000m – and finished fourth!
Nevertheless, having said the day before that he would be happy with 7:35-7:37, Shaheen clapped his hands exultantly after he crossed the line, evidently overjoyed that he had finished so close to last lap runaway winner, Eliud Kipchoge’s 7:28.37.
Abubaker Kaki Khamis of Sudan was an early contender for top performer, with a front-running victory (1:43.09) in the 800m, which held off the late charge of Olympic 1500m silver winner, Asbel Kiprop of Kenya.
Kiprop’s medal speciality was dominated by two colleagues, who swapped the lead three times in the last 10 metres, and Haron Keitany should learn never to relax when he’s racing Augustine Kiprono Choge ‘til he’s crossed the line.
Keitany clawed five metres back in the last 50, but allowed Choge to nip him by 2/100ths, in 3:30.88.
Allyson Felix is adamant she is staying at 200 metres for the World Championships, but another elegant win at 400 metres, this time over the Olympic silver medallist, Shericka Williams of Jamaica, should be more ammunition for those like me who feel she would dominate the one-lap.
Felix won going away in 50.75sec, with African champion Amantle Montsho of Botswana outleaning Williams on the line, both given 51.08sec.
Kerron Stewart underlined her early season form by winning the 100m with ease, in 10.93sec, just one hundredth outside her 2009 world-pacing effort from Kingston six days ago.
David Oliver didn’t repeat his sub-13sec breakthrough of last year, but he did more than enough to win the 110m Hurdles in 13.09.