Distance Stars Shine On The Fast Track In Paris

Alminova returns with world-leading 3:57,65 in women’s 1,500 meters.

Click here to see images from the Diamond League meeting in Paris.

Written by: David Monti
(c) 2010 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

Russia’s Anna Alminova got her 2010 campaign back on the fast track after serving a three-month doping suspension for the nasal decongestant pseudoephedrine by winning 1,500-meter races at both the Russian Championships on Thursday in Saransk and the Meeting Areva on Friday in Paris, the latter in a world leading 3:57.65.  The Paris meet was the ninth stop of the 2010 Samsung Diamond League series.

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On Friday night in Paris, she followed the pacemaker Tamara Tverdostup of Ukraine through the first 400 meters in 61.32 seconds, and 800 in 2:05.99. Alminova had a commanding lead when Tverdostup dropped out 100 meters later.  Only American Christin Wurth-Thomas gave serious chase, after Ethiopian Gelete Burka dropped out, clutching her hamstring. The 2009 European Indoor 1,500-meter champion was able to build her lead with every stride, running away from a very strong field to win by almost two seconds in what was also a career best time.

Behind her, Wurth-Thomas ran a personal best 3:59.59, and Frenchwoman Hind Dehiba clocked a national record 3:59.76.  Britain’s Lisa Dobriskey, the 2009 IAAF World Championships 1,500-meter silver medallist who will be Alminova’s main rival at the upcoming European Championships in Barcelona, finished fourth in a season’s best 3:59.79.

Vivian Cheruiyot of Kenya won the women’s 5,000 meters from the front, running the final kilometer in 2:44.98 to clock a world-leading and meet record 14:27.41.  Cheruiyot fought off a serious challenge by Ethiopia’s Sentayehu Ejigu, who was running right on Cheruiyot’s heels through the final two turns, but the reigning world champion had the superior closing speed.  Nonetheless, Ejigu set a personal best of 14:28.39 and became the 11th woman of all-time to crack 14:30.  Twelve women broke 15 minutes, including Americans Molly Huddle (14:51.84) and Lisa Koll (14:55.74) who both set personal bests.  Elvan Abeylegesse of Turkey ran a European-leading 14:31.52 to place third.

In other action in Paris, Abubaker Kaki of Sudan ran away from a very strong field in the men’s 800 meters, clocking a winning time of 1:43.50, his third-fastest time of the season.  Brimin Kipruto, the 2008 Olympic steeplechase champion from Kenya, won a fast steeplechase in a world-leading and meet record 8:00.90.  Kenyan compatriots Paul Kipsiele Koech (8:02.07) and Ezekiel Kemboi (8:03.79), finished second and third, respectively, both clocking season’s best times.  Interestingly, French steeplechase stars Bob Tahri and Mahiedine Mekhissi Benabbad did not compete.

The Samsung Diamond League moves to Monaco next Thursday for the Herculis Meeting.

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