Where Your Dreams Become Reality
Golden League Oslo - Bislett Games - Recaps
July 3, 2009
Premier Event: Dream Mile Upset And Ethiopian Record Overshadowed By World Junior Mile Record!
Cheered on by celebratory pockets of colorfully-dressed Ethiopian fans, Mekonnen was overjoyed after his major victory over one of the world's best milers.
Australian Jeff Riseley ran great for a 5th-place personal best of 3:51.25, while Canadian Nate Brannen was next in 3:53.18. And, despite the loss, Choge still set a mile personal best of 3:50.22.
Despite the announcer's comments to the contrary, the pacing was perfect and the race was a very good one. The first lap was rabbited in 57.0, the second circuit in 57-mid and the third was about 58 before a 56-second close for the race winner. In fact, LetsRun.com's John Kellogg points out that 3:48.95 is exactly the time run by Sebastian Coe on July 17, 1979 at the Bislett Games to set a new world record at the time, a performance that no doubt produced astronomically more attention than Mekonnen's now "mundane" performance.
Looking some more at the fastest-ever junior miler, we see that William Biwott Tanui was a 3:42 guy heading into this season, running that time at altitude in Kenya when he was 18 years old. This year, he had already run 3:32.34 at the first Golden League meet in Berlin, roughly equivalent to his mile time today in Oslo. He is only 19 years and 120 days old as of July 3, 2009. Tanui's time of 3:49.29 is almost a second faster than the old record held by Kenya's Alex Kipchirchir, who ran 3:50.25 while only 18 years of age in 2003.
Interestingly, Kipchirchir won both the Pre Classic Mile and the Dream Mile in 2005 and 2006, but never ran faster than his world junior record. His mile time slowly deteriorated over his career and he has not competed in 2009.
Men's 800m - Kaki Trips Himself And Injures Hamstring! Borzakovskiy Wins
But up front, the pacemaker delivered the pace of 49-mid through 400m and 1:16-high through 600m as only Saudi Mohammed Al-Salhi clung to his shoulder. Determined to stay on the pace after the pacemaker exited with 350m to go, Al-Salhi was well clear of the field. But in the final 150m, it was clear he would have company at the front as he started to fade off of the 26-second pace he would need to hang on. First came Thomas Chamney of Ireland, but around wide soon came the at-times powerful Yuriy Borzakovskiy. This was one of his powerful times, as he rallied from way back in the pack to negative split a 1:44 800m to win 1:44.42 to 1:44.96 over Al-Salhi.
This race proves a turning point for the Russian half miler, who was badly beaten at Pre just a few weeks ago. But if Kaki were in the race, likely Borzakovskiy would have been kicking for second place by at least a second.
The race finished and competitors departed, but Kaki remained on the track in lane 8, face down and looking completely miserable. We hope his entire season is not derailed, but from the looks of things his training will suffer significantly after a legitimate injury.
Women's 5,000m - No World Record, Not Even A Fast Pace, But Defar Wins In Typical Fashion
Oddly enough, with 200m remaining, the three heavily-favored women were in a line kicking for the finish: Defar, Melkamu and Kenyan Vivian Cheruiyot. All three had blistering finishes but Defar, despite buckling over in discomfort after the finish, was noticeably in control as Cheruiyot just managed second. The world record outdoors belongs to Defar's compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba at 14:11.15, and that pace was barely touched aside from the first and final 200m segments of the race. Defar won in 14:36 and the rest were strung out behind her after many of the interior laps were between 70 and 73 seconds. Strangely enough, even with the pace lingering around 72 seconds, nobody really started to kick until less than 300m to go when Melkamu sprinted around Defar. That prompted an immediate response from the great Ethiopian track runner, and she kicked up to her highest gear to maintain her lead.
The opening 200m was blazing fast in under 33 seconds, but from there on out it was 34s and 35s at the fastest.
Men's 5,000m - Kenenisa Bekele Controls, Stays Alive In Jackpot
Almost comically, the rabbits tired themselves out after about 5 laps thanks to the ridiculous opening sprint, and the field passed them running 64-second pace. The first 1,600m ended up being about 4:09 for the field leaders (the rabbit got himself out ahead and was of no use) while the second 1,600m was closer to 4:20.
Kenenisa Bekele had no interest in pushing the pace because his mission was to win the race as easily as possible and continue on in the jackpot hunt. As runners shuffled around after the initial burning pace, Bekele kept himself in ideal position. As the remaining race distance dwindled, Bekele sifted his way to the front, joined noticeably by Ali Abdosh, Sileshi Sihine, Abreham Chebii and Britain's Mo Farah, who decided to lead a few laps around the 3,200m mark. Farah, disappointingly, faded pretty badly in the final laps and finished way back after talk of a sub-13:00 performance.
The race did get exciting in the final 2 laps as Bekele took the lead, running 62 for the penultimate lap. But nobody jumped him until well after the bell, then the sprint was on. With 200m to go, James C'Kurui (Qatar) made it clear he would be the only one to challenge Bekele, but his challenge was certainly a game one. Bekele had to ramp up the velocity to maximum to win the race in 13:04 while C'Kurui was right behind. The rest were left behind, as their final laps simply could not match that of the two leaders.
Australia's Collis Birmingham, the only white guy in the race, was dropped at the mile (he was the only one off the back of the pack) but as the pace slowed up, he caught the pack and ended up sticking in there to record a personal best of 13:14. One has to think he can get down to Matt Tegenkamp (13:04-13:06) range on a cooler day in a more evenly-paced race. In fact, with the crazy pacemaking, one could make the argument that Birmingham could challenge 13:00 and get near Craig Mottram range on the perfect day.
To get an idea of the terrible pacemaking, the kilometers were 2:33 (with a 57.9 first lap), 2:39, 2:42, 2:41 and 2:28 (for Bekele, more like 2:32 last 1k for most). The rabbits clearly exhausted themselves and left the race in a position where nobody would take the lead in a decent pace. Every lap after the first 1,800m was over 64 before Bekele ramped the pace down.
Women's Steeplechase - Ruth Bisibori Nyangau Wins As Expected
Men's 1,500m - Essentially A JV Race Made Relevant Thanks To Australian Junior Ryan Gregson
Premier Event: Women's 400m
The women's 400m started immediately after a hugely intense thunderstorm. The fans were wringing out their shirts in the stands and in good spirits. Richards got a huge ovation for her world's best performance.
Churandy Martina only ran 10.24 for 7th in a -0.4 wind.
U. Texas' and USA's Alexandria Anderson was a "Did Not Start" after winning NCAAs 3 weeks ago.
Men's 110m Hurdles
Hicks started signing autographs looking like nothing really happened, then Turner realized the mistake and went to give the flowers to Hicks. And the best part is that Hicks ignored him and wouldn't take the flowers. In a women's race, they would have hugged and laughed and jumped around, but Hicks just nonchalantly kept signing autographs, looking nonplussed about the whole event. I guess if they screw up the flower ceremony, I wouldn't really want the flowers either.
Women's 100m Hurdles
Quow looked like the only legitimate world class guy in the race as he sandbagged the first half of the race before pouring it on in the final 200m and winning in 45.18.
Premier Event: Men's Javelin
Women's Pole Vault
Women's High Jump