Encore Performances for World Champions Lagat, Jepkosgei and Jamal in Zurich by Bob Ramsak (c) 2007 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved September 7, 2007
-- A trio of recently-minted world champions turned in impressive
encore performances at Zurich’s Weltklasse, as the IAAF Golden League
series resumed here tonight.
Competing in unseasonably chilly
conditions before an energetic capacity crowd of 26,500 at the rebuilt
Letzigrund stadium, Bernard Lagat, Janeth Jepkosgei and Maryam Yusef
Jamal produced victories quite similar to those which brought them
their respective world titles in the 5000, 800 and 1500 meters,
respectively, in Osaka last week.
Contesting the 3000 just five
days after completing his 1500/5000 double at the world championships,
it was no contest from the moment Lagat took the lead for good coming
off the final bend. Passing Kenyan Edwin Soi, the American crossed the
line unchallenged in 7:38.77.
“The race without pacemakers was
very exciting and challenging,” said Lagat, adding that he’s still
being propelled by the momentum and adrenaline from his Osaka triumph.
“I wanted to lead the last lap but (Soi) took over and I just stayed in
second and controlled my position.”
Soi, who tried to steal the
race at the start of the final lap, held on for second (7:39.02) with
Ugandan Moses Kipsiro (7:39.69) third.
24-year-old Kenyan who looks poised to become the leading force in the
women’s 800, followed up her impressive Osaka performance with another
front-running victory, this time in 1:59.03. While nearly three seconds
slower than her victory in Osaka, she was clearly in a class of her own
when sprinting away from the solid field over the final 100 meters.
fatigue and jetlag were a common, if sometimes unspoken underlying
theme in Zurich, Jepkosgei didn’t blame her slowish performance on the
residual effects of crossing seven time zones after three fiercely
“I think if it was warmer, we would have run
much faster,” said Jepkosgei, last year’s Commonwealth champion. To
underscore her point, Jepkosgei promised an attack on her 1:56.04 PB,
the fastest in the world since 2003, on Sunday in Rieti, Italy.
well back was Osaka bronze medallist Mayte Martinez, second in 2:00.42,
and Italy's Elisa Cusma Piccione, third in 2:00.50.
the Ethiopian-born Bahraini who spends much of the year training in
Switzerland, her victory was nearly identical to her world title run in
Osaka. Kicking past Russian Yelena Soboleva at the top of the final
backstretch, she immediately created a gap that the quick Russian
couldn’t overcome. Again unpressed, Jamal crossed the line in 4:06.32,
well ahead of Soboleva (4:07.66) and another Russian, Olga Yegorova
With Lagat skipping the 1500, the only certainty in
the men’s 1500 was that the world champion wouldn’t repeat here. And
after an opening lap of just under 62 seconds and an 800 meter split of
just under two minutes, the race was still very much up in the air
until the waning stages. Frenchman Mehdi Baala produced the decisive
move midway through the final bend, taking the lead from the tightly
wound pack to close unchallenged in 3:38.62, somewhat making amends for
his disqualification in the semifinals in Osaka. Algerian Tarek
Boukensa nipped Daniel Kipchirchir Komen over the final few meters to
take second, 3:38.84 to the Kenyan’s 3:38.96. World leader Alan Webb,
third at the bell, drifted to seventh down the homestretch, clocking
“The snap just wasn’t there,” said Webb, who still has
two or three races on his schedule this month. “I have to get back into
U.S. 400 meter record holder Sanya Richards and
Russia’s world pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva remained alive in
the hunt for the $1 Golden League Jackpot; two-time world 100m hurdles
champion Michelle Perry did not. Richards dominated the one-lap in
49.36, the fastest in the world this year, and more than a
second-and-a-half clear of the field. Isinbayeva showed some signs of
difficultly before clearing 4.80m to take the win, while Perry finished
third in a contest won by Swede Susanna Kallur.
million in prize money was awarded at the Weltklasse, making the
traditional Swiss meet the richest one-day meeting, certainly in terms
of prize money, in the world.
six-meeting Golden League series resumes next Friday at the Memorial
Van Damme in Brussels, before moving on to Berlin and the
series-capping ISTAF the following Sunday.