NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 8 – Olympic silver medalist Hellen Obiri ran the race of her life, completely blitzing away reigning world 1500m champion Genzebe Dibaba to win the 5,000m race at the Rome Diamond League in a national record time of 14:18.37 the fastest in the world this year.
The pre-race talk was about Dibaba’s assault at the world record but once Obiri saw that the Ethiopian was not in the right shape to attack the pace, she took the bull by the horns and opened a gap of almost 300m to win the race.
With five laps to go, Obiri punched up the pace to move to the front with Dibaba who seemed to be struggling shuttling herself to the back of the leading pack of four athletes.
Obiri then threw the gauntlet down, pushed the pace more and opened a gap of close to 100 metres as she approached the 4,000m mark. The Kenyan never looked back and with her eyes on the clock pushed from the home stretch, taking the race in record time.
On the way of setting the world lead, Obiri took almost four seconds off her personal best time over the distance, a huge morale booster as she prepares for the national trials ahead of the IAAF World Athletics Championships in London come August.
-Kipruto beats El Bakkali-
Earlier on in the 3,000m steeplechase, Olympic champion Conseslus Kipruto held off a late challenge from Moroccan Soufiane El Bakkali to win his first race of the season, crossing the line in a world lead time of 8:04.63.
El Bakkali came home second in a personal best time of 8:05.17 while Jairus Birech narrowly piped World Junior champion Amos Kirui to third. Kirui had given Conseslus a chase up to the final bend when he drained off.
Conseslus kept his calculations close, spending most of the race closely in front. He perched just behind the two pace setters up to the 2,00m mark when he strode to the front and never looked back from then.
Youngster Kirui tried to challenge him in the final lap but every time the 19-year old took a stab at the pace, Kipruto doubled his steps.
The Olympic champion and El Bakkali cleared the final water hurdle together but in the final 50 metres, Conseslus kicked in his trademark strong finish to win the race.
Multiple world champion Ezekiel Kemboi who plans to run on the track for the final time during the World Championships in August faced a tough evening finishing a distant 17th in a time of 8:33.07, just two places above the last finisher Italian Yuri Floriani.
-Bett floored by Pole-
In the 800m race, World Junior champion Kipyegon Bett failed to match his heroics from Shanghai, finishing second in a time of 1:46.00 behind Polish star Adam Kszczot who crossed the line in a time of 1:45.96.
It was a scrappy race with bodies coming together in the final lap, something that caused Ferguson Rotich to lose precious time and finish second from bottom with Botswana’s Nijel Amos crossing the line last.
Elsewhere, World javelin champion Julius Yego threw a season best throw of 82.19m as he stepped up his preparations for the title defense.
He should be however wary of German Olympic Champion Thomas Rohler who once again surpassed the 90m mark, throwing 90.06.