Day 2 World Athletics Final Distance Recap: Soi Gets 3000, 5000 Double, Defar Impresses By Bob Ramsak (c) 2007 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
Germany – Meseret Defar produced an impressive front-running victory in
the 3000 while Edwin Soi became the first man to capture the 300/5000m
double to highlight the second and concluding day of the 5th IAAF/VTB
Bank World Athletics Final.
After a slew of world records and
bests, her first world title and an undefeated season, Defar raced as
though she wanted to get her 2007 campaign over as quickly as possible.
And that’s precisely what the 23-year-old Ethiopian did with her
captivating 8:27.24 gun-to-tape victory.
Taking control of the
race from the gun, she upped the tempo throughout before covering the
second half in just over 4:10 and the final kilometre in 2:45.22. But
in Defar’s personal universe, the year’s second fastest performance
wasn’t all that fast.
“Without a pacemaker, it’s difficult to
run fast,” she said. “But 8:27 is still alright.” The world leader in
the event after her 8:24.51 en route performance in the Brussels
two-miler nine days ago, Defar said she’s targeting 8:20 next year.
With a 14:16.63 world record in the 5000 behind her, her target for the
shorter distance is well within reach.
After one more outing
--the 5000 in Shanghai on Friday-- Defar said she’s planning a brief
getaway in Greece to celebrate what she describes as “a very special
Behind her, Vivian Cheruiyot and Priscah Jepleting were
pulled to an epic battle of their own, with the former prevailing after
a stride-for-stride battle in 8:28.66 to the latter’s 8:29.06. Both
were career bests, capping the Kenyan pair’s solid season. Cheruiyot
was second behind Defar in her World record run in Oslo and again in
Osaka. All three dipped under the previous competition record of
8:34.22 set by Defar last year.
In pure money terms, Edwin Soi
was the weekend’s big winner after becoming the first man to clinch the
3000/5000 double. The 21-year-old Kenyan, who missed a trip to Osaka
after taking fourth in the Kenyan Trials 5000, won that race here in
13:38.16 to leave Stuttgart $60,000 richer after the weekend. Kenyans
Micah Kogo (13:39.91) and Moses Masai (13:39.96) had nothing in reserve
when Soi shifted gears with 200 to go. Soi apparently likes late-season
competitions. Last year, he finished runner-up at both distances.
another commanding front-running performance, Janeth Jepkosgei
dominated the 800 with her 1:57.87 win. The margin of victory –Osaka
bronze medallist Mayte Martinez of Spain was second in 1:58.14—was
somewhat deceiving, so in control of the proceedings was the
recently-minted world champion.
“I like to run from the front
because I can control my self and the other girls,” said Jepkosgei, who
has produced the season’s three quickest performances, topped by her
1:56.04 national record in Osaka, the fastest in the world since 2003.
“It’s much easier for me to do it this way.”
here easily eclipsed the 1:59.02 meet record set by Zulia Calatayud
last year, the woman Jepkosgei succeeded as world champion.
Marilyn Okoro’s feisty performance, a 1:58.76 for third, was a career
best, and a memorable gift for her 23rd birthday, which she celebrated
Paul Kipsiele Koech also illustrated that’s clearly the
world’s finest steeplechaser at the moment. Controlling the race from
the outset, he ran to a surprisingly fast 8:00.67 to win handily.
Behind him, Richard Mateelong (8:07.66) and Brimin Kipruto (8:11.05)
took the minor spots, altering slightly their third and first place
finishes in Osaka.
Daniel Kipchirchir Komen continued his late
season on a high. After victories in Brussels and Berlin, the 22-year
old kicked to a seemingly effortless victory in 3:37.96, well ahead of
Frenchman Mehdi Baala (3:38.35). Alan Webb’s decision to return to
Europe for one more contest was a worthwhile one. Next to last at the
bell, the U.S. champion and world leader fought his way to fourth over
the final stretch, reaching the line in 3:38.84.
late date, the second day of competition was clearly an unabashed
success, with a significantly larger crowd of some 25,000 on hand. On
Monday, discussions will take place about the location of next year's
WAF, but a decision isn’t expected until later in the fall.