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LetsRun.com's Rome Golden League Recap
by: LetsRun.com
July 11, 2008
*Watch the Meet on Demand on Trackshark

The Golden League season resumed in Rome on Friday and the highlights were a world record in the pole vault by Yelena Isinbayeva and Jeremy Wariner squeaking out a thrilling duel with LaShawn Merritt in the 400. In the distances, teenagers stole the show. Teen 800m phenom Pamela Jelimo continued her perfection by dominating an 800 field that all broke 2:00, and teen phenom Asbel Kiprop got the biggest win of his career in the 1,500. We start with Isinbayeva and Wariner/Merritt, then recap the distances.

Women's Pole Vault: World Record for Isinbayeva

When you win your event at a Golden League meet by 28 centimeters, and that event is the women's pole vault, you are officially a badass. When you win by a foot, set a world record, and do it all in your first meet of the year, you are a super-badass. Yelena Isinbayeva is in a universe of her own right now, no offense to Jenn Stuczynski.

IAAF Golden Gala Rome
Image details: IAAF Golden Gala Rome served by picapp.com
IAAF Golden Gala Rome
Image details: IAAF Golden Gala Rome served by picapp.com

1 Yelena Isinbayeva RUS 5.03 20+6(WR)
2 Monika Pyrek POL 4.75 16
3 Silke Spiegelburg GER 4.70 14
4 Svetlana Feofanova RUS 4.65 12
5 Fabiana Murer BRA 4.65 10
6 Yuliya Golubchikova RUS 4.55 7
6 Tatyana Polnova RUS 4.55 7
8 Carolin Hingst GER 4.55 4
9 Natalya Kushch UKR 4.45
10 Joana Costa BRA 4.35

IAAF Golden Gala Rome
Image details: IAAF Golden Gala Rome served by picapp.com

Men's 400m: Merritt Passes Wariner, Leans and Loses

Jeremy Wariner / LaShawn Merritt
... & Blade Runner.

Wariner vs. Merritt round 3 for 2008. Merritt was 2 wins, 0 losses in 2 big events. This time, Wariner ran a faster first 250 from lane 4 (Merritt was in lane 5) and came into the last 100m (even the last 50m) with a substantial lead. Merritt, however, runs a great last 100m usually, and this race was no different. He closed the gap and leaned for what looked like the win! Unfortunately, he leaned a couple of feet too early, and Wariner leaned correctly to get him by 1/100th of a second. It looked to us that Wariner was beaten, but the FAT proved us wrong. Wariner must have spent the last week working on two things: getting out harder (check) and leaning (check). He seemed to run his race, but barely (luckily?) held off Merritt. He does not look unbeatable, in fact he was pretty fortunate to avoid going 0 for 3 vs. Merritt this year. Unless Wariner gets gold in Beijing, his decision to dump Clyde Hart will be criticized, but part of Wariner's problem this year is unrelated to Hart. Merritt has definitely raised his game in 2008.

In Paralympic news, Oscar Pistorius, Blade Runner, came up a second short of the Olympic standard, coming in 7th in the B race in 46.62, a substantial improvement over his time from this weekend.

Pos Athlete Nat Mark Pts
1 Jeremy Wariner USA 44.36 20
2 LaShawn Merritt USA 44.37 16
3 Chris Brown BAH 44.73 14
4 Ricardo Chambers JAM 44.96 12
5 Reggie Witherspoon USA 45.33 10
6 Joel Milburn AUS 45.40 8
7 David Gillick IRL 45.52 6
8 Lionel Larry USA 45.59 4
Oscar Pistorius RSA 46.62

Women's 800m: More Domination by Jelimo

IAAF Golden Gala Rome
Image details: IAAF Golden Gala Rome served by picapp.com

The women's 800m was a one woman show put on by the seemingly unbeatable Pamela Jelimo. Following the rabbit right from the get-go out of lane 8, Jelimo gapped the field within 150m and made the field look ridiculously bad. Jelimo won in 1:55.69. The rest of the field was bunched up the entire way, and Jelimo was way out in front running strong. The amazing thing is that the rest of the field, 25m behind with 100m to go, ALL broke 2:00. American Hazel Clark was entered in the race but did not start. An interesting note - the rabbit took Jelimo through 400m very well, but in the ensuing 100m totally fell apart. Instead of stepping off the track, the rest of the field, still clumped together as they were for the remainder of the race, had to pass her on the outside before she stepped off. Apparently her rabbit contract wanted her to go 500m.

1 Pamela Jelimo KEN 1:55.69 20
2 Janeth Jepkosgei KEN 1:58.74 16
3 Yuliya Krevsun UKR 1:58.75 14
4 Maryam Yusuf Jamal BRN 1:59.34 12
5 Lucia Klocová SVK 1:59.42 10
6 Tamsyn Lewis AUS 1:59.43 8
7 Elisa Cusma Piccione ITA 1:59.48 6
8 Élodie Guégan FRA 1:59.50 4
9 Brigita Langerholc SLO 1:59.57
10 Kenia Sinclair JAM 1:59.77

Amy Mbacke Thiam SEN DNF

Hazel Clark USA DNS
IAAF Golden Gala Rome
Image details: IAAF Golden Gala Rome served by picapp.com

Men's 1,500m: Young Kiprop Gets the Biggest Win of His Career
The 1,500m featured a strong field highlighted by Asbel Kiprop (19-yr-old Kenyan), Mehdi Baala (FRA), Abdalaati Iguider (MAR) and Canadian Nate Brannen (who needed the A standard to go to Beijing). The rabbits did a nice job and there was a big pack of guys in contention still with 200m left to go. Asbel Kiprop cruised alertly through this race, won with a cool finger point after a 55 second lap, and calmly walked off the track. He looked like he had done that about 20 times, when in reality it was one of his first even half-way decent races ever in Europe (last year, his best European finish was 5th) and he's still a teenager. Baala ran very smart (he went out in the middle of the pack and slowly moved up as compared to Kiprop who went out near the front) and turned in a nice 3:32.00 4th-place clocking. Iguider from Morocco held the lead for much of the last lap, but was overtaken by the long-legged phenom from Kenya who will likely battle Lagat, Baala, Ramzi and others for an Olympic medal in August. Brannen is probably the happiest 12th place finisher of the day because he hit the A standard and can now compete in Beijing. He beat it by a bunch, too, running 3:34.65. He ran from the back and stayed in the race mentally. 3.01 seconds separated him from first, but so did 10 competitors.

Splits: 27.0 (200), 40.8 (300), 54.41 (400), 1:52.4 (800), 2:50.0 (1,200), 41.5 (last 300 for Kiprop)

1 Asbel Kiprop KEN 3:31.64 20
2 Abdalaati Iguider MAR 3:31.88 16
3 Tarek Boukensa ALG 3:31.98 14
4 Mehdi Baala FRA 3:32.00 12
5 Mohamed Moustaoui MAR 3:32.06 10
6 Juan Carlos Higuero ESP 3:32.57 8
7 Arturo Casado ESP 3:33.14 6
8 Kamal Boulahfane ALG 3:33.33 4
9 Shedrack Kibet Korir KEN 3:34.11 3
10 Daniel Kipchirchir Komen KEN 3:34.30 3
11 Deresse Mekonnen ETH 3:34.59 3
12 Nathan Brannen CAN 3:34.65 3
13 Jeffrey Riseley AUS 3:36.03
14 Alex Kipchirchir KEN 3:39.26
15 Christian Obrist ITA 3:41.25

Philemon Kipkorir Kimutai KEN DNF

Vickson Naran Polonet KEN DNF
IAAF Golden Gala Rome
Image details: IAAF Golden Gala Rome served by picapp.com

Dibaba Wins Bizarre Race
As expected, Tirunesh Dibaba won the women's 5k but it was an unusual race. Olga Komyagina took the field out at quick pace (2:52 for 1k, and 5:42 for 2k (14:15 pace)). But when she dropped out the pace slowed considerably, as the fast early pace took its toll on every one including Dibaba.

Dibaba and Meselech Melkamu were the only two up front but they slowed the next 2 kilometers, running 2:59 the next k and 3:03 the fourth k.

Kiwi record holder and former Providence star Kim Smith was leading Kenyan Priscah Cherono in the battle for 3rd. They were probably 70 meters behind at one point, but were closing on Dibaba and Melkamu. The pace was uneven up front as Smith and Cherono would get closer and then Dibaba and Melkamu would pick it up again.

By the bell, however, Smith and Cherono were only 1 second behind Melkamu and Dibaba. Then Dibaba, who has run an incredible 14:11 this year, did what you'd expect - she blew everyone away on the final lap. Melkamu stayed closest but was no match for Dibaba the final 200. Dibaba went 60.03 the final lap to finish 2 seconds ahead of Melkamu and nearly 9 ahead of Cherono and Smith. Smith ended up with a nice 14:45 personal best which serves as an area record.

1 DIBABA, Tirunesh
2 MELKAMU, Meselech
SB 14:38.78
SB 14:45.12
4 SMITH, Kimberley
AR 14:45.93
PB 15:00.26
6 DIBABA, Ejegayenu
7 MRISHO, Zakia
SB 15:13.34
8 KIROS, Aheza
SB 15:16.80
10 FUKUSHI, Kayoko
11 PAPP, Krisztina
12 SULTAN, Simret
13 WACERA, Mary
14 BEJARANO, Sonia
SB 15:53.82
15 BAHTA, Meraf
1000m 248 Komyagina, Olga (RUS) 2:52.43
2000m 248 Komyagina, Olga (RUS) 5:42.14
3000m 244 Melkamu, Meselech (ETH) 8:41.54
4000m 247 DIBABA, Tirunesh (ETH) 11:44.88

IAAF Golden Gala Rome
Image details: IAAF Golden Gala Rome served by picapp.com

Men's 5k: Mr. Silver Gets Rare Win
The men's 5k was totally a Kenyan and Ethiopian show. The matchup came down to world 10k silver medallist Sileshi Sihine (ETH), former 5k World Champ Eliud Kipchoge (KEN) and little brother Tariku Bekele (ETH). Bekele had the lead in the last lap, pushing the pace hard. But he was overcome in the last 110m by Sihine, who would be known as one of the greatest runners ever if not for Kenenisa Bekele. Sihine clocked 53.8 for his last lap. The plan was to go through 3,000m in 7:38 or 7:40, but that pace was not hit (7:53). Overall, times were not that fast across the board in the Rome meet. That being said, the 5th Kenyan finisher was 13:13, so they were still moving pretty fast.

It was stated on the American broadcast that this race was going to serve as the Ethiopian trials for the Olympics, but we don't know (and they didn't seem too confident themselves) about that.

1000m splits
2:38.90 (7:53)
2:30.70 (53.80 last lap)

1 Sileshi Sihine ETH 13:04.94 20
2 Eliud Kipchoge KEN 13:05.26 16
3 Tariku Bekele ETH 13:06.00 14
4 Mark Kosgei Kiptoo KEN 13:06.60 12
5 Joseph Ebuya KEN 13:06.61 10
6 Ali Abdosh ETH 13:06.93 8
7 Abraham Chebii KEN 13:07.88 6
8 Boniface Kiprotich Songok KEN 13:13.23 4
9 Bekana Daba ETH 13:21.15 3
10 Markos Geneti ETH 13:26.28 3
11 Juan Luis Barrios MEX 13:28.77 3
12 Gebre-egziabher Gebremariam ETH 13:36.67 3
13 Anis Selmouni MAR 13:40.06
14 Samir Khadar ALG 13:45.45
15 Daniele Meucci ITA 13:45.90
16 Imane Merga ETH 13:49.17
17 Christopher Thompson GBR 14:08.60

Josphat Mitunga Kithii KEN DNF

Joseph Kosgei KEN DNF

Tilahun Regassa ETH DNF

Men's 800: Laalou Loves Rome
After the rabbit Sammy Tangui took the field through a respectable 50.69 and 1:17.6, Youssef Kamel (World Indoor bronze medallist, son of double world champ Billy Konchellah of Kenya) was in the lead.

He led down the homestretch, but 1:42.89 800m man, Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, was closing slowly on him and Amine Laalou was coming up fast on the outside. Both would pass him the final 30, but Laalou closed the fastest for a nice win.

Laalou clearly likes the Rome track as the other big win of his career and his PR came in Rome back in 2006. Mulaudzi's consistent 2008 continued as he was 3rd in Bislett and 2nd in Berlin. Defending World champ Alfred Kirwa, third at the Kenyan Trials, but named to the world team over teen sensation David Rudisha, was fifth in 1:45.05.

1 LAALOU, Amine
SB 1:44.27
2 MULAUDZI, Mbulaeni
3 KAMEL, Youssef Saad
4 MANSEUR, Nadjim
PB 1:44.75
5 KIRWA YEGO, Alfred
6 ISMAIL, Ahmed Ismail
7 AL-SALHI, Mohamed
8 RIFESER, Lukas
PB 1:46.12
9 SOM, Bram
SB 1:46.83
10 SCIANDRA, Livio
11 OLMEDO, Manuel
Intermediate times:
400m 47 TANGUI, Sammy (KEN) 50.69
600m 47 TANGUI, Sammy (KEN) 1:17.60

Men's Steeple: World Champ over Olympic Champ

The steeple was not blazing fast today, aside from a meteoric 58-high last circuit from Brimin Kipruto, the 2007 World Champ, who defeated the 2004 Olympic Champ Ezekiel Kemboi.

1 Brimin Kiprop Kipruto KEN 8:15.71 20
2 Ezekiel Kemboi KEN 8:16.91 16
3 Tareq Mubarak Taher BRN 8:17.65 14
4 Patrick Kipkirui Langat KEN 8:19.13 12
5 Nahom Mesfin ETH 8:21.09 10
6 Jukka Keskisalo FIN 8:22.35 8
7 Abubaker Ali Kamal QAT 8:23.04 6
8 Andrey Farnosov RUS 8:25.78 4
9 Rabia Makhloufi ALG 8:26.91 3
10 Abdelatif Chemlal MAR 8:27.33 3
11 Yuri Floriani ITA 8:28.90 3

Bjřrnar Ustad Kristensen NOR DNF

David Lagat KEN DNF

Matteo Villani ITA DNF

Roba Gary ETH DNS

Bouabdellah Tahri FRA DNS

IAAF Golden Gala Rome
Image details: IAAF Golden Gala Rome served by picapp.com


Women's High Jump: Perfection for Vlašic

There is one name, and one name only in the women's high jump these days. The Croatian bombshell Blanka Vlasic is in the running for the Golden League Jackpot, is the favorite for the Olympic gold, and even her celebratory dance has become famous around the world. She took down the Rome Golden League meet, and appears to be accustomed to beating all comers on all days.

1 Blanka Vlašic CRO 2.00 20
2 Elena Slesarenko RUS 1.98 16
3 Tia Hellebaut BEL 1.98 14
4 Marina Aitova KAZ 1.95 11
4 Antonietta Di Martino ITA 1.95 11
6 Ruth Beitia ESP 1.90 6
6 Anna Chicherova RUS 1.90 6
6 Emma Green SWE 1.90 6
9 Amy Acuff USA 1.90
10 Iva Straková CZE 1.85
11 Tatyana Kivimyagi RUS 1.85

Women's 100 Hurdles: Onyia's Golden Chances Gone
Some impressive times were laid down here by the Jamaicans, but the story here was Josephine Onyia losing out on her shot for the Golden League jackpot. She finished 6th, well-beaten.

1 Brigitte Foster-Hylton JAM 12.60 20
2 Delloreen Ennis-London JAM 12.62 16
3 Candice Davis USA 12.72 14
4 Sally McLellan AUS 12.73 12
5 Priscilla Lopes-Schliep CAN 12.77 10
6 Josephine Onyia ESP 12.85 8
7 Reďna-Flor Okori FRA 12.93 6
8 Micol Cattaneo ITA 13.16 4
9 Virginia Powell USA 13.17

Men's 110 HH: Dayron Robles Assuming Role As Olympic Favorite
Robles, the new world record holder in the high hurdles, looked smooth, strong and dominant against this field, stamping himself as at least a co-favorite for the gold in Beijing. He was .35 seconds faster than David Payne, the 3rd place finisher at the Olympic Trials, and .52 faster than Anwar Moore, the guy who stumbled and lost the 3rd place position at the U.S. Trials. Robles looked dominant, even though his time was not blazing into a slight headwind. Again, sprint times and even most distance times didn't seem too fast across the board.
1 Dayron Robles CUB 13.08 20
2 Sergiy Demidyuk UKR 13.40 16
3 David Payne USA 13.43 14
4 Marcel van der Westen NED 13.50 12
5 Ladji Doucouré FRA 13.51 10
6 Anwar Moore USA 13.60 8
7 Tyrone Akins USA 13.70 6
8 Jeff Porter USA 13.73 4
9 Dominic Berger USA 14.05

Women's 400m: Allyson Felix

We think it's really, really too bad that Allyson Felix can't try the 200/400 double in Beijing, because she is a stunning 400m runner, perhaps even better than she is at 200. But they can't alter the schedule of events to make the double possible, so we'll have to be happy with Felix running the open 200m, and perhaps the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400. Felix was clearly the class of the field, powering to make up the stagger, and then holding her lead after a blazing first 200 (23.7). Remember, times were modest overall for the day, so her 50.25 would have been much faster on a faster day. She beat Mary Wineberg (second at US Olympic trials) by 1.02 seconds. The Jamaicans took 2nd and 3rd.

1 Allyson Felix USA 50.25 20
2 Novlene Williams JAM 50.79 16
3 Shericka Williams JAM 50.83 14
4 Amantle Montsho BOT 51.17 12
5 Mary Wineberg USA 51.27 10
6 Kaliese Spencer JAM 51.56 8
7 Ebony Floyd USA 51.66 6
8 Libania Grenot CUB 51.81 4
9 Natasha Hastings USA 52.30
Men's 400m IH

"Batman" won at the Olympic Trials, but would he trade that win for a win in the Golden League? Coming into Rome, Bershawn Jackson was in the running for the jackpot. But as he left the track after navigating the oval and hurdles, Kerron Clement had spoiled his dreams with a very strong last 100m. Clement is not known for his consistency, especially his hurdling in the final straightaway, but he finished with conviction this time and no one could hold him off. Danny McFarlane of Jamaica was leading most of the race and the Americans had to run him down in the homestretch, which they ended up doing with ease.

1 Kerron Clement USA 48.23 20
2 Bershawn Jackson USA 48.34 16
3 Danny McFarlane JAM 48.57 14
4 L.J. van Zyl RSA 48.79 12
5 Isa Phillips JAM 49.31 10
6 Markino Buckley JAM 49.51 8
7 Adrian Findlay JAM 49.66 6
8 Pieter de Villiers RSA 49.82 4
9 Angelo Taylor USA 50.93
Women's 200m

Super Sanya couldn't keep up today in her 2nd event, losing handily to the Jamaican speedster, Kerron Stewart.

1 Kerron Stewart JAM 22.34 20
2 Sanya Richards USA 22.49 16
3 Muriel Hurtis-Houairi FRA 22.50 14
4 Rakia Al-Gassra BRN 22.65 12
5 Carmelita Jeter USA 22.83 10
6 Sherone Simpson JAM 22.88 8
7 Vincenza Calě ITA 23.20 6
8 Susanthika Jayasinghe SRI 23.36 4

Cydonie Mothersill CAY DNS

Men's 100m: Asafa Powell Injured?

Obikwelu, the silver medallist in 2004 at 100m, won today, but the story of the day was the pull-up of Asafa Powell. Powell pulled a Tyson Gay with groin problems in his heat and didn't run the final.

1 Francis Obikwelu POR 10.04 20
2 Derrick Atkins BAH 10.04 16
3 Nesta Carter JAM 10.05 14
4 Jaysuma Saidy Ndure NOR 10.10 12
5 Michael Frater JAM 10.12 10
6 Kim Collins SKN 10.14 8
7 Simone Collio ITA 10.29 6
8 Michael Rodgers USA 10.32 4

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