Athletics Athletics

Korir scorches to 800m world lead in London

Emmanuel Korir en route to his stunning 1:42.05 victory in London

LONDON, United Kingdom, Jul 23- Emmanuel Korir ran the fastest 800m since 2012, clocking 1:42.05, to light up the second day of the Anniversary Games in London on Sunday, the 11th meeting in the IAAF Diamond League.

The 23-year-old Kenyan takes the accolade from Nijel Amos, who illuminated Friday night’s Monaco meeting by winning in 1:42.14, but was helpless as Korir produced a powerful front-running, head-turning performance.

He took up a spot behind pacer Bram Som, who took them through the first lap in 49.87.

Though Wycliffe Kinyamal was probing in his wake, Korir – who won the Kenyan 400m title in 44.21 last month – clung to the rail to repel the challenge.

He then pulled away through the final 200 metres to lower the world lead and smash the meeting record. It catapults him to sixth on the world all-time list, a feat not even Korir expected so soon.

“I am happy because that is a huge performance from me,” he said. “My personal best I set last year, and I wanted to break that maybe next year, but I managed it earlier than planned. It’s important to beat those guys because they’re all really strong.”

Kinyamal was overtaken through the final bend by USA’s Clayton Murphy, just holding to claim second in 1:43.12.

Kinyamal was awarded the same time, a PB, to finish third and stay atop the IAAF Diamond League standings. Amos was fourth in 1:43.29 – impressive given his exploits less than 48 hours earlier.

-Hassan shows her range in classic mile

Sifan Hassan takes the London mile ahead of Kenya’s Hellen Obiri

The middle-distance fun did not end with that race. In the final event of the day, Sifan Hassan won the women’s mile in 4:14.71 – a time that rockets her third on the world all-time list.

Just nine days ago, the Dutchwoman set a European 5000m record in Rabat. Here, she and Hellen Obiri – who won that race in Morocco – held back over the first two laps as Gudaf Tsegay was the only athlete to follow the pacer.

Overall IAAF Diamond League leader Laura Muir was heading that chase but couldn’t cover Obiri and Hassan as they began to move through the third lap.

Hassan took up the lead at the bell and never looked like being caught.

“It’s unbelievable how fast I ran today,” said the 2016 world indoor 1500m champion. “I have the endurance and speed but don’t normally have the last kick and today I did.

“It will be incredible to see how fast I can actually run in the future.”

Tsegay rallied to finish second in 4:16.14, while Obiri’s efforts saw her record 4:16.15 to improve on her own Kenyan record. USA’s world silver medallist Jenny Simpson once again showed her racing smarts to claim fourth in a PB of 4:17.30.

A smartly-run final lap saw Olympic champion Matthew Centrowitz prevail in the non-ranking men’s 1500m in 3:35.22.

Keeping near the front of a chasing pack that was unbothered by the break of Izaic Yorks and Youssouf Hiss Bachir, who were the only racers to go with the pacers, Centrowitz moved to the lead with 150 metres remaining.

Australian Ryan Gregson made a late push but could not make a decisive move. He finished second in 3:35.35.

The women’s non-scoring 800m produced a fast finish. USA’s Ce-Aira Brown and Jamaica’s Natoya Goule led into the home straight and went stride-for-stride through to the line.

Brown just edged it, recording 1:58.57 to win by 0.10. Briton Lynsey Sharp closed well to make it three under two, recording 1:59.34 for third.