Three world records were broken in Paris during the 4th stage of the Diamond League. And the African athletes were impressive. Faith Kipyegon and Lamecha Girma broke the world records in the 5,000 m and 3,000 m steeplechase respectively.
What a week for Faith Kipyegon. On Friday, the Kenyan dominated the Paris meeting, the 4th stage of the Diamond League. After breaking the 1500m world record in Florence, the Kenyan legend smashed the 5000m record in 14 min 05 sec 20. In the space of seven days, she set two world records.
The world and Olympic champion had not made too much noise about a possible world record attempt in the 5000m. It was, after all, only her third race over this distance and her first 5000m outing in eight years. In a tough race, Kipyegon outclassed her rivals. She set a hellish pace in the last 400m. Although Gidey followed, the 10,000m record holder finally broke down and witnessed the Kenyan's stratospheric performance. The Ethiopian thus lost her 5000m world record, which she had beaten. Despite her fine performance, Kipyegon was not expecting a world record.
"I didn't think about the world record, I don't know how I did it," exclaimed the 29-year-old. "I concentrated on the green light and tried to stay relaxed and enjoy the race. When I saw it was a world record, I was so surprised - I just wanted to improve my PB, the world record wasn't my plan. I don't know what the next step will be - I'll have to discuss it with my coach and management. If my body is healthy, anything is possible.
Gidey, who was competing for the first time since his unfortunate episode at the World Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, finished second in 14:07:94, the third-fastest time in history. Taye finished third in 14:13:31.
Girma, the new king of the 3000 m Steeplechase
Unlike Kipyegon, Lamecha Girma took to the track with the aim of breaking the world record in the 3000 m steeplechase. Girma had set an ambitious pace for the men's 3000m steeplechase - one that would enable him to reach a finishing time of around 7:52. However, the World Championships and Olympic Games silver medallist got carried away mid-race and ran well ahead in the middle section of the race. With two laps to go, the lights almost caught up with the Ethiopian, who then had a good lead over the rest of the field. But the sound of the bell and the reaction of the crowd apparently gave him an extra boost on the final lap.
The Olympic runner-up covered the final lap in around 64 seconds, crossing the line in 7mn52s11, taking 1.52 seconds off the world record set 19 years ago by Said Saeed Shaheen. "I'm happy and very proud. I felt so fast during the race, so confident. The world record is no surprise; it was my plan to beat it tonight in Paris. It's the result of my sheer determination", said the Ethiopian after the race.
Ta Lou, 3rd in the 200 m
In the other events, Kenya's Emmanuel Wanyonyi won the 800m with a blistering time of 1mn43s27. It was the best performance of the year over the distance. Algeria's Slimane Moula (1:43:38) and Djamel Sedjati (1:43:40) finished third and fourth respectively. Both set personal bests. Second place went to Canadian Marco Arop (1:43:30).
In the women's 200m, Marie-Joése Ta Lou (22s34) settled for third place behind Americans Gaby Thomas (22s04) and Abby Steiner (22s34).
In the 100m, Ferdinand Omanyala (9s97) finished second behind American Noah Lyles (9s98). Botswana's Letsile Tebogo completed the podium in 10s05.