ExxonMobile Bislett Games Recap

Sanya Richards continued her quest for the Golden League Jackpot. Photo: Victah Sailer

Dream Mile continues tradition of record setting performances.

An Ethiopian record and world junior record made the final event of the ExxonMobile Bislett Games, in Oslo, Norway, a true Dream Mile.  After a sluggish start due to poor pacing duties, an issue throughout the program, Ethiopian world indoor champion Deresse Mekonnen

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(PR 3:48.95) took control over the final 50 meters to take the Dream Mile title while setting a new national record.  Kenyan William Biwott (PR 3:49.29) outdistanced countryman, and world 1500m leader, Augustine Choge (PR 3:50.22) to take second and establish a new world junior record.  The 19 year old took almost a full second off the previous record (3:50.25) set by countryman Alex Kipchirir in 2003.

In the men’s 5000m, Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele (13:04.87) was taken to the line for the second consecutive meet, but triumphed with a 53:38 final lap, to stay in contention for the Golden League jackpot.  He was given his second literal run for his money by Kenyan James Kwalia (13:05.46), but kept his composure over the final 200m to secure the victory.  As with the mile, simply abysmal pacing kept the race over 13:00.  After taking the race out in a blistering 2:00 for the first 800m the pacers slowed to a 2:09 second 800m.  The pacing suffered as the, poorly monikered, pacemakers fluctuated from 62-64 on each lap, with one actually cresting the 65 second mark.

The women’s 5000m suffered the same fate as the men’s, with even more horrendous pacing turning a potential world record attempt in to a tactical affair.  Former world record holder Meseret Defar of Ehiopia used her patented kick, covering the final 400m in 61.39, to outdistance her opponents and finish in 14:36.38.  Number three all-time performer Vivian Cheruiyot (14:37.01) of Kenya held off Ethiopian rising-star Meselech Melkamu (14:37.50) for the runner-up position.

Sudanese world 800m indoor champion Abubaker Kaki had planned a triumphant return to Oslo where he set a world junior record in 2008.  However, only 100m in to the race Kaki fell to the ground, with an apparent leg cramp, taking him out the race off the first turn.  Former Olympic champion Yuriy Borzakovskiy (1:44.42) of Russia ended up taking advantage in the fairly tactical race over Saudi Mohammed Al-Salhi (1:44.96), setting a new European best for 2009.

Elsewhere around the track, American Sanya Richards (49.23) looked virtually unstoppable in the women’s 400m setting a new world leading time, Croatia’s high jump world champion Blanca Vlasic (2.00m) returned to the top of the podium and Russian world record holder Yelena Isinbayeva (4.71m) won the pole vault, keeping her on track for the Golden League jackpot payout.

For More: IAAF Recap

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