NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 30 – Kenyan 800m runner Wycliffe Kinyamal grabbed the headlines at the 53rd edition of the Palio della Quercia Memorial Edo Benedetti in Rovereto.
Competing in warm and nearly ideal conditions, Kinyamal set the meeting record of 1:43.94, the fourth fastest time in the world this year.
Pacemaker Tamas Kazi led at the bell clocking a fast 49.80 ahead of Burundi’s Antoine Gakeme, who went to the front at 500 metres
Kinyamal launched his kick with half a lap to go, and came off the bend with a big lead over Gakeme in the final straight to smash his previous personal best of 1:45.65 set in Hengelo last June. Kinyamal improved the meeting record of 1:43.97 held by Youssef Saad Kamel since 2005.
Gakeme clocked 1:44.49 in second, just 0.05 outside of his season’s best. Former world bronze medallist Amel Tuka from Bosnia & Hercegovina finished third in 1:44.62, a season’s best. Guy Learmonth set his personal best in fourth place with 1:45.10.
Olympic and world 800m silver medallist Francine Niyonsaba from Burundi won the final race of her season clocking 2:01.14. Pacemaker Ilona Usovich led at the bell reached in 58.80.
Five runners were in contention with 200 metres remaining, including Niyonsaba, Noelie Yarigo from Benin and Kenyan Emily Tuei. Niyonsaba pulled away in the home straight to take the win ahead of Yarigo (2:01.68) and Tuei (2:02.03).
Niyonsaba crowned a successful year in which she also set a lifetime best of 1:55.47 in the Monaco Diamond League meeting and dipped under 1:56 again a few weeks when finishing second to Caster Semenya at the World Championships clocking 1:55.92.
“It was great to end the season with a win,” said Niyonsaba. “My goal was to win the silver in London and I am really happy. I have no regrets.”
-Kasait wins 3000m-
Kenya’s Lilian Kasait took the women’s 3000m in 8:51.04 ahead her compatriot Joyline Cheroytich, who set a lifetime best with 8:52.59.
Birhanu Balew from Bahrain won his second consecutive 5000m race in as many days, clocking 13.22.81 just two days after his victory in Berlin.