|Benjamin Kigen on way to winning the 3000m steeplechase in Rome. Photo from Organizers|
Men 800m:After a 49.96 seconds first 400m split by the pace setter, it appeared as though it was going to be Wycliffe Kinyamal’s day as he led at the 600m mark in 1:16.87. But Nijel Amos was just at his back waiting to strike as usual on the home straight. As soon as Nijel ran past him, KInyamal began to fade rapidly. However, it was not going to be Nijel’s day either as the strong finishing Donavan Brazier came to edge him just at the finish line winning the race in 1:43.63 against Nijel’s 1:43.65. Brandon Mcbride finished 3rd in 1:43.90.
Genzebe Dibaba seemed to have perfectly timed the right time to spring away from the pack in the women’s 1500m. She overtook the pacemaker at around the 1200m point and began to open a gap in a move that might have caught the other contenders by surprise. The rest of the race remained a battle by the rest of the field to try and come in contact with her again. Despite the fact that she did not manage to close the gap, Laura Muir’s effort to catch Dibaba was amazing and it certainly puts her as one of the top contenders to watch in the next big 1500m race. Dibaba won the race in a world leading time of 3:56.28 slightly ahead of Muir who finished in 3:56.73. Tsegay Gudaf took the third position in 3:59.96.
The men’s 5000m race has in the recent past been dominated by Ethiopian runners and it was the same case at the Rome Diamond League meeting where the first five positions were occupied by Ethiopian-born runners.
A new star in the name of Tilahun Haile is now emerging to add to the big Ethiopian names already dominating this event. All eyes were on Selemon Barega and Hagos Gebrhiwet at the start of the race, but Tilahun had the quickest finishing kick after a bunch of four had remained in the lead with one lap to go. Barega seemed to have been controlling the race from the start almost to the finish, counting on his finishing speed to deliver him the victory. But, Haile would not let him have it his way.
He followed Barega closely in the last sprint to the finish and edged him just at the finish line when Barega opened up a little space for him to get past him on the inside lane. Haile ran a world-leading and personal best time of 12:52.98 ahead of Barega in 12:53.04. Hagos was third in 12:54.92.
Men 3000m steeplechase:
The evening almost ended without a Kenyan win, but a strong finish by Benjamin Kigen in the men’s 3000m steeplechase event ensured that. Kigen ran a personal best and world leading time of 8:06.13 to win the race. Wale Getnet and Chala Beyo ran 8:06.83 and 8:09.95 to finish in 2nd and 3rd positions respectively.