Rudisha, Cherono and Kiprop bounce back with world leads in Birmingham

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Aug 24, 2021
  • Mercy Cherono ran the second fastest time ever in history in the women's two mile race in Birmingham on Sunday.(Photo:SNA File)

  • Asbel Kiprop wins the men's mile race.

Kenyans David Rudisha’s world best attempt over 600m and Mercy Cherono’s African best in the women’s two miles were the highlight performance at the Birmingham Grand Prix at the Alexander Stadium in a series of ‘non-standard’ distance bests at the IAAF Diamond League meeting on Sunday .

There were also meeting records for Kenyans Jairus Birech and Asbel Kiprop in the 3000m steeplechase and one mile respectively.

Rudisha’s run will actually go down as one of the meeting’s three world leads (the others coming in the two mile races), and the Kenyan indeed showed something of his old front-running form to win in 1:13.71.

The target was Johnny Gray’s world record of 1:12.81 and Rudisha certainly attacked. Eschewing pacemakers, he went through 200m in 23.25 before hitting the 400m mark between 46 and 47, bang on his predicted schedule.

The task from there, the Kenyan had said was to push over the last 200 metres and he that’s what he did, striding ever further away from the field around the bend to raise everyone’s expectations before he tired over the final 50 metres

“Today wasn’t so bad,” was Rudisha’s verdict. “This is my first 600m, so I guess it was difficult to judge the pace. I think I tried my best,"said Rudisha, the 800m world record holder and second behind Botswana Amos Nigel at the Commonwealth Games last month in Scotland.

It may not have been the world best everyone had hoped for, but it was still the fourth quickest of all time and less than a second off his target. Not bad for a man still on the comeback trail from injury.

As the record slipped away, Poland’s European 800m champion Adam Kszczot came through for second in 1:14.69.

There may have been no record for Rudisha but there was for his fellow Kenyan Mercy Cherono, who led home a Kenyan one-two-three in the women’s two miles.

Cherono who struggled at the African championships after her Commonwealth games glory tracked Genzebe Dibaba in the leading group of seven over the last four laps, then burst past the Ethiopian and Viola Jelegat at the top of the finishing straight to cross the line in a world leading 9:11.49.

Kibiwot chased her to the line to record a personal best of 9:12.59 while Dibaba slipped back to fourth.

Dominating runs for Kiprop, Birech 

Kiprop also redeemed himself after a bungled race in Marrakech where he finished second behind Djibouti’s Ayanleh Souleiman in the 15000m final.

Kiprop's finish was impressive too as he took the Mile in 3:51.89, following a litany famous names into the historic book where the event’s winners sign their names.

The world 1500m champion made it look easy as when swept off the final bend to pass three men down the home straight.

Souleiman prevented a Kenyan sweep by hanging on for second ahead of Vincent Kibet and James Magut as 14 men broke four minutes.

Birech continued his brilliant form this season with a solo run in the steeplechase that brought him home in 8:07.78.

It have been much closer to eight minutes but for the 21-year-old Kenyan slowed to wave at the crowd as he rounded the final bend and stopped completely at the last barrier before hitching himself over with his hand.

It didn’t make much difference to the result, however, as he had a 70-metre lead and strolled across the line to break the meeting record by almost 12 seconds. Brimin Kipruto followed him home in 8:16.61 as Kenyans filled the first seven places.

Lynsey Sharp got revenge on Eunice Sum in the women’s 800m, the Commonwealth Games silver medallist beating the woman who took gold in Glasgow with a late run in 1:59.14.

Kirani James wrapped up his season with a second Diamond League win, holding off Botswana’s Isaac Makwala in 44.60, just 0.11 outside Iwan Thomas’s 17-year-old meeting record. Makwala clocked 45.02 to finish second.