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After a 3 week break the IAAF Diamond League returned to as meet in north Paris where there some brilliant athletics to watch as the world’s best prepare for the World Champs at Beijing on August 30. Three distance event really caught my eye.
The women’s 5000 attempt by two Ethiopians on the world record where they had to average 68 second laps. Earl pace makers let them down with a muddling pace for the first 2km then Almaz Ayana and Genebe Bibaba threw them selves into the lead and swapped laps to keep the pace honest. Ayana did most of the work but her laps were in consistent as she dashed into a few mid race laps at 64 seconds. When Dibaba led her laps were closer to 70 seconds and it was obvious that the race win became the main focus for her rather than a world record bid. She sat on Ayama for the last 3 laps and then dashed to the front and ripped off a startling last lap of 61.17 to win 14.15.41 to 14.21.97. Their battle for the world title in 7 weeks will be a classic.
There was a very high quality field in the men’s 1500 won by Kenya’s Kipligat in 3.30.12 narrowly from Souleman Djbouti 3.30.17 and Kwenboi Kenya 3.30.43.
The men’s 3000 steeplechase normally a Kenyan benefit nearly saw an upset. Evan Jager USA really cranked up the pace over the last 3 laps and led regular winner Kenya’s Birech. Over the last lap the gap widened to over 15 metres when Jager clipped the last hurdle and fell so that Birech went on to win in a quick 7.58.85. Jager sprang to his feet and chased and still ran a PB 8.00.45.
Valerie’s Adams 57 run of consecutive wins came to end in Paris. After two operations some 10 months ago Adams’ training at her Switzerland base has slowly improved and international competition was vital to get her right for the worlds. Sadly she was off the pace with her best throw of 18.79 placing her 5th behind winner Christina Schwanitz Germany 20.51. The next Diamond League event is at Lausanne on Thursday.
Meanwhile at a British Milers Club meet at Watford Angela Petty qualified for Beijing with a win in the 800 in 2.06.62 under the 2.01.00 standard. Her next race is at the World University Games in Gwangju South Korea. 30 young Kiwis NZ”s biggest ever team to attend this event will start their competition on Thursday. Hawks will be represented there by at least five athletes. Camille Buscomb 1500,5000, Cameron French 400 Hurdles and 4 x 400 and Julia Ratcliffe a Business Studies student at Princeton University in the USA will compete in the hammer. Mariah Ririnui was a late addition after excellent long jump performances in the USA. Aaron Pulford 5000 and 10,000 has been given a choice and also been selected in the half marathon. Nicki Hamblin 1500 has been added to the team to give her top quality racing prior to the world champs. The biggest news is that Ratcliffe has been appointed flag bearer for the NZ team which is a huge honour for her as she leads the 67 person team.