NEW YORK, June 15- Olympic champion and world record-holder David Rudisha grabbed a morale-boosting victory, signalling that his return from a knee injury that sidelined him for much of last year remains on course at the Adidas New York Grand Prix.
The victory, in a modest 1 minute 44.63 seconds, came two weeks after Rudisha made his return to competition with a seventh-placed finish at the Diamond League meeting in Eugene in 1:44.63 — far from his world record of 1:40.91 but showing the progress he desired.
Having promised to run a 1:43 before the race, the defending meet champion did not go out as fast as he had asked the pacemaker, coming to 400m in 51 seconds and on the home straight, he did just enough to seal the win.
Rudisha ran the American all comers record there in 2012, blasting to 1:41.51 en route to setting the existing world record of 1:40.91 at the Olympics final in London that summer.
Mark English of Ireland (1:45.03) and home runner Duane Solomon (1:45.13) shared the podium in second and third with national champion, Ferguson Rotich (1:45.90), trailing home in seventh.
Worlds 5000m silver medallist, Mercy Cherono, continued her hot streak in the women’s 3000m by unwrapping an 8:39.84 victory as compatriot Betsy Saina (8:40.65) sealed the 1-2.
Ethiopia’s Kalkidan Gezahegne (8:42.54) prevented the podium sweep in third ahead of Olympics silver medallist over 10,000m Sally Kipyego (8:43.43) who is also returning from a lengthy injury lay-off.
The performance of the night however, came from Ukrainian Bohdan Bondarenko who triumphed in a dazzling high jump duel with Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar that saw both clear 2.42m at the sixth stop of the 2014 IAAF Diamond League.
The pair became the first in two decades to clear 2.42m, grabbing the spotlight as it was the first time in history that two high jumpers flew so high in the same competition, and the last man to clear 2.42 was world record-holder Javier Sotomayor in 1994.
Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake, also on the comeback trail after a hamstring injury prevented him from defending his 100m world title last year, was disappointed in the 100m, unable to recover from a poor start and finishing runner-up to compatriot Nesta Carter.
Carter clocked 10.09sec in the race run in a headwind, while Blake finished in 10.21.