Bislett Games, OSLO 08

Saturday, 07 June 2008 Dibaba’s World record and Kaki’s World Junior mark leaves Oslo in awe - ÅF Golden League

Oslo, Norway - Tirunesh Dibaba said last night that she wanted to run “very fast” and 14:11.15 for 5000m is certainly very fast!

The Ethiopian’s World 5000m record* was the shock while Sudan’s Abubaker Kaki’s World Junior 800m mark provided the awe of a wonderful evening’s athletics at the ExxonMobil Bislett Games, the second meet of the ÅF Golden League 2008.

In the season long hunt for the $1 Million ÅF Golden League Jackpot, seven contenders started the evening and five emerged undefeated to fight again next month when the ÅF Golden League resumes in Rome on 11 July.

Those who continue in the hunt for $1 Million:

400m Hurdles - Bershawn Jackson (USA)
Long Jump - Hussein Al-Sabee (KSA)

800m - Pamela Jelimo (KEN)
100m Hurdles - Josephine Onyia (ESP)
High Jump - Blanka Vlasic (CRO)

Dibaba “pushes forward” to World record

Having witnessed Meseret Defar slash the World 5000m record here last year by nearly eight seconds, it was accepted before the start that while her compatriot Dibaba would undoubtedly run fast that the World mark of 14:16.63 was beyond reach.

So much for excepted wisdom!

Paced until the sixth lap by Russian Anna Alminova (1000m 2:48.08; 2000 5:43.64), Tirunesh Dibaba accompanied by her sister Ejegayehu and Kenyan Lucy Wangui were well clear of the other 15 competitors. Ejegayehu was the one to take the race through 3000m (8:38.83) but as soon as that mark was reached Tirunesh leapt to the front realising that they were three seconds outside the record schedule. One kilometre later and the reigning double World champion at 10,000m was one second in front of the required pace (11:28.44). Nothing was going to stop the World Indoor record holder tonight.

There is nothing quite like a Bislett crowd roar in distance running folklore and tonight it brought with it the 5000m record echoes of not just Defar but Moorcroft, Aouita and Kristiansen. Dibaba had chosen well for the venue of her first outdoor World record – 14:11.15. She had managed to take five and half seconds off Defar’s existing mark.

Ejegayehu exhausted by her efforts faded a little to end with 14:36.78 in third, having been passed by Wangui in the same lap which Tirunesh had first taken the lead. Wangui’s time in second was 14:33.49, a personal best.

“My sister was telling me I could do it,” said Dibaba, “that I am in my best shape ever. I could see that I was off the pace after the first 3km, and therefore I pushed forward.”

“I was not expecting such a record but it is very important to me. It was my dream to break a high quality World record. God helped me today to achieve something special.”

Kaki and Jelimo – 800m 18-year-old revelations!

We experienced the pleasure of watching two solo 800m performances today by two of the most inexperienced runners on the international circuit, the manner of whose victories belied their ages.

18-year-olds they are but Sudanese Abubaker Kaki and Kenyan Pamela Jelimo are seniors in every other definition of an athlete. Their racing embodied all the accomplishments of Olympic champions and on their current form don’t bet against them ending this season with the Beijing laurels atop their naturally mature racing brains.

Kaki’s 1:42.69 of course takes the major plaudits, as it removed the World Junior mark of 1:43.64 set by the Kenyan Japheth Kimutai [Japhet is now assisting Rudisha. KK] back in Zürich on 13 August 1997.

400m was passed in 50.17sec (compatriot Abdullah Abdulgadir in lead), and 50 metres later after the rabbit dropped out Kaki was in the lead. He was fleetingly challenged with 200m to go by David Rudisha, the reigning World Junior champion, that attack was enough, if he noticed it at all, to send Kaki away from the field with even more zeal.

The Kenyan finished second in a personal best of 1:43.72, while South Africa’s Olympic silver medallist Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, who is acknowledged to have one of the best tactical heads in the game, came home in 1:44.04 for third.

“Great pace, great race. I felt the power. My first World record. I’m extremely happy,” said Kaki who then spent the best part of the next 10 minutes looking for his kit!

After only three months as an 800m runner we have already become used to the sensation that is Pamela Jelimo. She has accomplished the African senior title and last week the World Junior record in Berlin (1:54.99) in that short period. Even the shouts of a near capacity Bislett crowd (15,800 is the venue’s maximum) wasn’t enough on this occasion to propel her to a new PB but her 1:55.41 was more than enough to triumph.

Slovak Lucia Klocova (1:58.89) and Jamaican Kenia Sinclair (1:59.00) headed Jelimo’s pursuers. Even deeper in that pack was World champion Janeth Jepkosgei, who made a brave early bid to follow the 18-year-old wonder an effort which ultimately led to her being swallowed up with 200m to go.

Vlasic makes it number 26

Blanka Vlasic mentioned yesterday that “I’m here to repair some damage from last year!” The Croatian World High Jump champion was referring to her defeat here last year which is currently her last and which caused her to miss a share of the Jackpot in 2007.

Tonight was Vlasic’s 26th victory in a row and cemented her position as the present peerless queen of the event, her effortless 2.04m first time clearance being a one centimetre improvement of her season’s world lead.

Vlasic went on to try a ‘would-be’ World record of 2.10m but none of her three attempts were close.

Wariner keeps his word

At yesterday’s Strawberry Party Jeremy Wariner told the media that you could “count on a fast time” to make up for his 400m defeat last Sunday (1 June) to LaShawn Merritt in Berlin at the opening of the ÅF Golden League 2008. That’s exactly what the double World champion delivered.

Pacing himself better in the first half of the race on this occasion, Wariner came into the final stretch with a lead over Christopher Brown of the Bahamas but it was only a marginal one.

Were we to see the same neck and neck duel down the final 80metres as occurred between Merritt and Wariner in Berlin?

No, this was a more assured Wariner in Bislett who had judged his expended effort and remaining strength well, and that left him with fifth gear to engage and, when he did, he comfortably pulled away from an increasingly heavy legged Brown.

No wonder Brown looked tired as he crossed the line in a national record of 44.40. He had shared the previous best of 44.45 with Avard Moncur (2001), Brown’s previous PB being set last summer at the World Champs in Osaka when he finished fourth.

Wariner’s reward was a world season lead of 43.98 seconds. You can count on his word!

World season lead for Galkina

Gulnara Galkina, the World record holder, may not have been close to her global mark (9:01.51 – 2004) in the 3000m Steeplechase but her solo run of 9:14.77 was the current season’s world lead and meet record.

Never opposed after the pace maker (Mercy Njoroge) dropped out after three laps, Galkina was pursued at a distance by a posse of World champion Yekaterina Volkova, Australia’s world season leader (going into this race) Donna MacFarlane, and World Junior record holder Ruth Bisbori of Kenya. Never closing on Galkina, this trio were drawn to 9:18.24, 9:18.35 and 9:18.43 times respectively as we witnessed a great tussle to the line. MacFarlane’s performance was a new Oceania record improving on Melissa Rollison’s 9:24.29 set in 2006.

Back in sixth came an Ethiopian record for the young Zemzem Ahmed, who was recently crowned the African champion (9:25.80), improving her PB from 9:32.53 in Belem on 18 May.

Jackson looking confident

USA’s 2005 World champion Bershawn Jackson looks to be running into good racing form. He judged tonight’s 400m Hurdles so well. He fed off the slight lead that Jamaican Danny MacFarlane, in the lane outside him (5), had established coming into the last 100 metres, and jetted past his opponent to register a clear and unopposed 48.15 season’s best (his previous, 48.32 on 19 April). Jackson looks likely to be wearing the yellow bib number, which signifies a Jackpot contender, for a few races more if this form is anything to go by.

MacFarlane finished second in his 2008 best of 48.58, and LJ Van Zyl of South Africa was also at his season’s fastest (48.84).

Onyia keeps on course

A simple gun to tape win for Josephine Onyia, who had been one of the real surprises of Berlin last Sunday, confirmed the Spanish record holder is anything but a flash in the pan. She won the 100m Hurdles in 12.59 secs, well clear of USA’s World Indoor champion Lolo Jones (12.66) and Sweden’s World Indoor 60m Hurdles record holder Susanna Kallur (12.71). There was no one else in the challenge and Onyia was never threatened.

Quietly does it for Al-Sabee

He is going quietly unnoticed but Saudi Hussein Taher Al-Sabee is very much still in the hunt for the $1 Million. He might not be setting records but he is winning and that’s all you need to do…’just’ six times! Tonight, the 21-year-old Asian Games champion won the Long Jump with a second round 8.19m leap (1.1m/s wind) ahead of European champion Andrew Howe with a last round 8.16m (+0.3).

Pitkämäki beaten in the sixth round

Things were also looking good for World champion Tero Pitkämäki in the Javelin Throw but one round obliterated any dreams the Finn might have had of the $1 Million. With a first round leading throw of 85.82m which he improved by ten centimetres in the second, no one was coming close to Pitkämäki. Even when the Finn threw 84.15m in the fifth round he had not been challenged with Andreas Thorkildsen of Norway, the Olympic champion, on a competition best of 83.51m his nearest rival.

But in the sixth everything changed. First fellow Finn Tero Järvenpää went past with an 86.49m PB, and then Thorkildsen found a 87.73m release. Suddenly the World champion was back in third and with an 82.66 last he remained there, Jackpot hopes having vanished in a few minutes!

A reminder of Britain’s glory days

British middle distance victories in the Bislett stadium used to be almost common place in the 1980s and while, not surprisingly, there were no Coe or Ovett style World record antics, both men’s Miles, ‘metric’ and imperial distances, were won by runners from GBR & NI. The previous British Mile victory here in Oslo had been by Peter Elliott in 1991!

The men’s 1500m was decisively taken at the start of the evening by Tom Lancashire (3:35.33 PB) but this being Bislett with its long standing tradition of the Dream Mile, it was that meeting finale event which for the Oslo fixture alone in the ÅF Golden League 2008 stood as the Jackpot event. Here again it was a storming run by a Briton, Andy Baddeley, which triumphed. The 25-year-old who was a World finalist in Osaka and was third in this race last year came home in a personal best of 3:49.38 (previous 3:51.95 – 2007) which also established a new world season lead.

Kenyan Haron Keitany harried the Briton home in 3:49.70 with Ethiopia’s Deresse Mekonnen third in 3:49.72 a national record. He also had a PB at 1500 (3:33.71), while Baddeley’s time at 1500 was 3:34.36.

Last week’s 1500m winner in Berlin and the Jackpot contender Augustine Choge was back in fifth (3:50.30). It will be no consolation to Choge that it was his personal best as like Pitkämäki he has now lost the scent of the $1 Million Jackpot at least for 2008.

In eighth there was a Saudi national record for Mohamed Shaween (3:52.52).

Windy 9.98 for Atkins

World silver medallist Derrick Atkins of the Bahamas ran sub-10 in the men’s 100m but his 9.98, while impressive was wind aided (+2.3m/s). Mike Rodgers of the USA was nearest to him (10.04) but this was as straightforward a sprint victory as they come.

A close finish in the women’s 100m which had a slightly negative breeze (-0.9m/s wind) saw 2004 Olympic champion Yuliya Nesterenko of Belarus finish third (11.26) behind Jamaica’s Sherri Ann Brooks (11.24), with USA’s Bianca Knight splitting the two (11.25).

The men’s and women’s half lap sprints went to the Netherlands Antilles’ Christian Brendan (20.39 sec) and Bianca Knight of the USA (22.56 sec). Both were basically unopposed victories.

Chris Turner for the IAAF

Click here for RESULTS

*NOTE: World record subject to the usual ratification procedures


ExxonMobile Dream Mile menWinner: Andy Baddeley, GBR 3:49.38
“I am proud that I did this race here at Bislett. For me, this was a real dream mile. One lap to go, I felt very strong and said to myself that this could be my day. When there was 150 meters to go, I was sure. This was my day.”

The time, 3:49.38 was a good personal best for Andy.

“And to do it here at Bislett. It is fantastic. On this track has Steve Ovett and Steve Cram, my favourites, done so many big races. For me this is a great night.”

High Jump womenWinner: Blanka Vlasic, CRO, 2.04, world lead
“My best and valuable jumps today were at 210. Before that i was too close to the bar at 201 and 204, so technically I was not satisfied with this jumps. I changed afterwards my take-off. I won here for first time and for first time jumped two metres in this stadium, that is also very important. It is still early in the season to break the world record. The shape will culminate later.”

800m womenWinner: Pamela Jelimo, KEN 1:55.41
“I had some problems with breathing, but otherwise the race was good, pacemaker better than in Berlin. I got the necessary exposure in an Olympic year with three wins in Europe. Now I can return to Kenya for training. I think my goal is to win the Olympics and also to break the world record. I never saw the record holder Kratochvilova but I would love to meet her.”

100m hurdles womenWinner: Josephine Oniya, ESP, 12.59
“I’m afraid of false starts, I do not like it. I need to stay more focused, but I was ready. I’m happy to continue in the jackpot race. Now I might be considered one of the Olympic favorites, second big win in one week. I need to stay focused and relaxed.”

800m menWinner: Abubaker Kaki, SUD, 1:42.69, world junior record, world lead, national record
“Great pace, great race. I felt full of power. My first world record, I’m extremely happy. I think I can be even faster.”

" And senior world record? "

“Yes, maybe next year. But I must tell you I did not expect to be so fast.”

Javelin menWinner: Andreas Thorkildsen, NOR, 87.73 (SB)
“After five very bad throws, I am relieved and happy that I managed to do a good one in the last chance.”

Andreas Thorkildsen felt that he had the power the hole competition, but he was not able to get the power through the javelin.

"At last. One throw, not a perfect one, but I felt it from the first moment that the last one was 99%. Today that was good enough.

Third: Tero Pitkämäki, FIN, 85.92
“This was a painful day. Now I am going to rest for two weeks and hope my back will be better.”

“You was first when the last round startet and ended third?”

“A great last round. This kind of competition is good for the sport.”

5000m womenWinner: Tirunesh Dibaba, Ethiopia, 14:11.15, world record
“My sister was telling me that I can do it, that I’m in the my best shape. I saw I’m off-the pace after first 3 km and so I pushed. I was not expecting such a record, but it is very important for me. It was my dream to break high quality world record. God helped me today to achieve something special.”

400m hurdles menWinner: Bershawn Jackson, USA, 48.15 SB
“Yeah, I had pretty controlled race. Now the most important is to make this winning streak going in my next race at US Olympic Trials. I wanted a sub 48, but it was only my fourth race in the season. Maybe when I would go to the tape more aggresively I would be able to do it. Mission number two completed, still four to go for the jackpot.”

400m menWinner: Jeremy Wariner, USA, 43.98, world lead
“It feels great to be back on top of the times. I concentrated more for the last 100 m and it worked better than in Berlin. I felt Chris Brown on my side, but I was able to speed up. I had a kick which I missed in Berlin. I proved who is the best in the world. I never went to trials with sub 44 so that is also good. Now I still want to run a fast 300 m next week.”

100m menWinner: Derrick Atkins, BAH, 9.98
“I am very happy with this race. It is just 3/100 behind my beste race ever in Europe.”

“But what did you do in the start? The reaction time was 0.226?” “I know that I was late, but was it that bad? With a normal start this had been a 9.8 race. Fantastic. Now I am real happy.”

3000m steeplechase womenWinner: Gulnara Samitova-Galkina, RUS, 9:14.77, world lead, Bislett record
“Great crowd support helped me a lot, but we were too fast at the first km, I would prefer 3:05 pace. Something was still missing, it is too early in the season and it was my first steeple chase race since Osaka. The hot weather did not bother me. For world record I need pace support for 2 km as it was during my last record race four years ago. But my goals are clear, I want to win in Beijing and be the first under 9 minutes.”

100m womenWinner: Sherri Ann Brooks, JAM, 11.24
“Good to win, I hope to repeat it at the 200 m later tonight. As you see I&$146;m in a hurry for my next event. My first races this year in Europe and that should help me before the Jamaican trials. I want to try to qualify the for Olympics in both sprints.”

1500m menWinner: Tom Lancashire, GBR, 3:35.33 PB
“I did not expect to win the race by no means. But my training went well and I knew what time I can achieve. It is olympic qualifier, now I need to be in top three at our trials. It is very likely that I can do it, I’ m feeling confident. I will return to US after the season, now I m in Manchester.”

100 m Hurdles women B finalWinner: Adrianna Lamalle, FRA
“Actually I expected a better time. But there was no tough opposition for me. I like hot weather because I’m from Martinique. Technically a good race, but to qualify to Beijing I must run 12.88 befor June 12. I think I will be able to do it by then.”

Anyone find it interesting that after last weeks 400m with Merrit pipping Wariner, that Wariner was able to come out and run slightly faster and Merrit ran 3/4 second slower?

Does this show any indication that Wariner has improvement left and Merrit is near his peak/limit?

Clearly Wariner can run 44 flat week in week out, new territory for Merrit - the body may not like it!

everyone was slow in Eugene suggesting the wind was against on the backstraight.

thats the way the wind was going and i’m pretty sure most people were just running to get acclimated to the trials location and the best guys , spearmon, merritt, richards, darrel brown, were all just running for the win

if he was in a race with wariner it’d be alot closer than their times were.