Jake Wightman wins the 1000m in Monaco
The world champion is back on the road to Diamond League victory as fellow Briton Lizzie Bird smashes the national record in the 3000m steeplechase
Jake Wightman returned to form after his defeat at the Commonwealth Games by winning the Diamond League 1000m in Monaco on Wednesday August 10.
The 1500m world champion destroys many of the world’s best 800m runners over the neutral one kilometer distance as he improved his Scottish record from 2:16.27 to 2:13.88 to become n No. 3 on the UK all-time chart and No. 9 on the world all-time charts.
Seb Coe’s long-standing British record of 2:12.18 remains an elusive target and Steve Cram is No. 2 all-time at 2:12.88, but Wightman has now passed Steve Ovett and James McIlroy in the standings.
In Monaco, pacemaker Erik Sowinski led the 400m in 51.02 and Marco Arop was on pole in the 800m in 1:45.46, but Wightman, who spent much of the race running alone in no man’s land just yards from the main peloton, finished strong to overtake Arop in the final meters as Clayton Murphy was third, Commonwealth 800m champion Wycliffe Kinyamal fourth and Olympic and World 800m champion Emmanuel Korir 12th.
“I didn’t really know I was in shape to do this today. It was just very, very difficult because I had raced on my own,” Wightman said. “I knew Arop was a little faster on the straight, so I had to judge the right moment. I had to stay strong to be able to catch him.
Wightman will race the 800m at the European Championships next week and said: “It’s a great step to Munich. The main difference between the 1500m and the 1000m is just the speed of the first two laps. You go from 55 to 52.”
Bird flies to British record
Lizzie Bird broke the British record for the 3000m steeplechase by bettering Aimee Pratt’s national mark by almost eight seconds at 9:07.87.
Pratt set a British record twice at the World Championships last month as she ran 9:18.91 in her heat and 9:15.64 to place seventh in the final. But Bird ran in 9:17.79 to win silver at the Commonwealth Games and here in Monaco she snatched an extra 10 seconds at her best as she edged former world champion Emma Coburn to the finish to qualify third behind Ethiopian duo Workua Getachew and Zerfe Wondemagegn.
Bird, 27, was encouraged to try the steeplechase while studying at Princeton in the United States. She was a reluctant hurdler at first and struggled with injuries from 2016 to 2018, but set a British record of 9:19.68 finishing ninth at the Olympics last year and Shaftesbury Barnet athlete is now closing in on the nine-minute barrier while combining athletics with a career in Colorado-based immigration law.
Like Wightman, she will go to Munich with high hopes as that race placed her fourth in the European all-time rankings and No. 1 in Europe this year.
Kipyegon nearly breaks 1500m world record
The Monaco track is known for its fast performances in the middle distance and in the women’s 1500m, Faith Kipyegon came within three tenths of a second of Genzebe Dibaba’s world record in 3:50.37.
Allie Wilson led over the 400m in 59.89 and 800m in 2:01.64 before Adelle Tracey took over to keep the pace as strong as possible. Kipyegon took the lead with 600m to go and despite being hammered on the final lap, she fell terribly short of the mark but still remained No. 2 in the all-time standings.
Behind, Americans Heather Maclean (3:58.89) and Elise Cranny (3:59.06) finished second and third with performances below four.
“I’ve been looking for time for some time, but I’m happy with my personal best,” said the Olympic and world champion. “I knew it was the best place to get the world record, but I’m so disappointed to have lost it in the last meters. I hope next time will be better. We’ll see when.
“I was definitely ready for it today. Now I’m going home and I want to get a good Diamond League final in Zurich.
Fraser-Pryce and Lyles on fire
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce established a 10.62 (0.4) world lead in the women’s 100m with another outstanding sprint performance as fellow Jamaican 200m world champion Shericka Jackson finished second with a PB of 10.71.
Ivory Coast’s Marie-Josée Ta Lou set an African record of 10.72 while Britain’s Daryll Neita was sixth in 10.91.
“I can’t be disappointed with the season,” Fraser-Pryce said. “Being able to run 10.6 consistently means a lot to me. It’s remarkable. It’s very difficult to keep the speed at that high level.
“It is important for me to achieve fast times, because I am looking forward to having a good season. I’m in my late thirties and I think I feel like I have more to give.
Noah Lyles set a meet record in the 200m with 19.46 (0.8) finishing well behind fellow Americans Erriyon Knighton and Michael Norman. Knighton clocked 19.84 while world 400m champion Norman ran 19.95.
There was also a fast men’s 3000m as Thierry Ndikumwenayo of Burundi clocked 7:25.93 – a time only six men have ever beaten.
The event was billed as an ambitious attempt at Daniel Komen’s long-standing world record of 7:20.67 and in the final lap 2021 Diamond League winner Berihu Aregawi was clear and clear.
Ndikumwenayo, who missed the World Championships through injury, chased hard and passed the Ethiopian on the straight as Aregawi held second and the speedy Grant Fisher broke the American record for Bernard Lagat with 7:28.48 in third.
Elsewhere, Grant Holloway ran 12.99 (0.6) in the men’s 110m hurdles to beat fellow American Trey Cunningham in 13.03. Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas won the women’s 400m convincingly in 49.28, while Natoya Goule was an impressive winner in the women’s 800m in 1:56.98.
On the court, Yulimar Rojas looked a bit vulnerable for once as she leaped 15.01m to beat Commonwealth champion Shanieka Ricketts at 14.91m.
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