Friday, July 20, 2012

Diamond League: Monaco

The Meeting Herculis from Monaco is the last Diamond League stop before the London Olympics. Incredible fields have been assembled, as Monaco is known to produce great results.

Men's 1500m

Asbel Kiprop sets the world leading mark of 3:28.88. He looked so incredibly comfortable, it was seriously like he was jogging. He better win gold. Nick Willis sets a New Zealand National Record, really solid race for him. He was sitting in the middle of the pack with 150m to go and the commentator counted him out - but he gobbled dudes up in the homestretch. Guess that London race worked! A number of personal best times run in this one. Robby Andrews DNFd, looked pretty awful from the gun. Opening lap of under 54 seconds is straight FIRE (for the rabbit, field was just behind).

1 Asbel Kiprop 3:28.88 WL
2 Nixon Chepseba 3:29.77 PB
3 Nick Willis 3:30.35 NR
4 Amine Laalou 3:30.54
5 Taoufik Makhloufi 3:30.80 PB
6 Bethwell Birgen 3:31.00 PB
7 Benson Seurei 3:31.61 PB
8 Collins Cheboi 3:32.08 PB
9 Alvaro Rodriguez 3:34.50
10 Yoann Kowal 3:35.03 SB
11 Gregory Beugnet 3:38.00

Splits: 400m 53.69; 800m 1:52.23; 1200m 2:49.43

Men's 800m

Rotich runs a World Junior Record for 800m, Duane Solomon runs a HUGE PR to crack 1:44. For a guy who had to run the Olympic A standard as well as finish 3rd at Trials to make the team, you would never have guessed it was a huge PR for Solomon. He looked smooth and strong, forced to the edge of lane 2 in the homestretch. Nick Symmonds finishes 5th with a season best. Rotich is just 17 and Kosencha is only 19, the future of 800m running. One thing I know, unless Abubaker Kaki is hustling us, he's not headed for a medal spot in London. Matt Scherer rabbited to perfection again, splitting 400m at 49.55. Field wanted 49.5, he delivered.

1 Abraham Rotich 1:43.13 PB
2 Leonard Kirwa Kosencha 1:43.40 PB
3 Duane Solomon USA 1:43.44 PB
4 Kevin Lopez 1:43.74 PB
5 Nick Symmonds USA 1:43.78 SB
6 Andre Olivier 1:44.29 PB
7 Marcin Lewandowski 1:44.37
8 Andrew Osagie 1:44.48 PB
9 Abubaker Kaki 1:44.89
10 Andreas Bube 1:44.89 PB

Women's 3000m (open)

In this infrequently run event it's not hard to see this many personal bests. Normally they'd be jumping over some big hurdles. Shannon Rowbury looked strong, no doubt she and Jenny Simpson were running this to build a little strength ahead of the 1500m rounds. Rowbury was in the mix, which bodes well for her. For Julie Culley, she's in the middle of some heavy volume/intensity so she was pleased with the 7 second PR, as she works on a little speed for the 5000m.

1 Mercy Cherono 8:38.51 PB
2 Sylvia Kibet 8:39.14 SB
3 Buze Diriba 8:39.65 PB
4 Shannon Rowbury USA 8:39.83
5 Azembra Gebru 8:40.01 PB
6 Veronica Nyaruai 8:40.81
7 Emebet Anteneh 8:43.20 PB
8 Gabriele Anderson USA 8:43.52
9 Mimi Belete 8:43.64
10 Julie Culley USA 8:45.57 PB
11 Jenny Simpson USA 8:48.72
12 Yuliya Vasilyeva 8:51.62
13 Christine Bardelle 9:05.68

Women's 800m

Alysia Montano leads at 600m, but gets outkicked. Molly Beckwith breaks 2 minutes and earns some more diamond points (for that booty). Caster Semenya, who has said she/he would like to win gold AND break the WR (1:53:xx), ran pretty terrible.

1 Yelena Kofanova 1:58.41
2 Francine Niyonsaba 1:58.68 NR
3 Alysia Montano USA 1:59.05
4 Molly Beckwith USA 1:59.37
5 Marilyn Okoro 1:59.75
6 Yuneysi Santiusti 2:00.18
7 Irina Maracheva 2:00.29
8 Maryam Jamal 2:00.76
9 Caster Semenya 2:01.67
10 Elodie Guegan 2:01.76

Men's Steeplechase

You wouldn't have believed it unless you watched it. There is a full field of Kenyans (none of whom are competing in the Olympics, unfortunately) and a floppy-haired white kid with a headband. In just his 5th steeplechase race EVER, Evan Jager lowered his PR by over 10 seconds and hung with the big boys into the final lap, finishing 3rd and setting a new American Record. This is a guy who has run a 3:54 mile, and a 13:22 5000m (2009). He has strength, he has speed, and most importantly, he looks like he's really enjoying it. This was the biggest meet of his life and he now knows he has what it takes to compete. The Olympic final will not be run faster than today's winning time, and who knows - since there are only 3 possible Kenyans that can beat him, maybe he can sneak into the top 3. How sick would that be?

1 Conselus Kipruto 8:03.49 PB
2 Paul Koech 8:03.90
4 Bernard Nganga 8:09.23 SB
5 Jairus Birech 8:10.62
6 Brahim Taleb 8:14.11
7 Richard Mateelong 8:16.26
8 Jukka Keskisalo 8:27.96 SB
9 Ion Luchianov 8:29.69
10 Youcef Abdi 8:32.86
11 Alexandre Genest CAN 8:36.69
12 Tanguy Pepiot 8:39.90

Men's 400m

Kirani James was all over the place, his form is very strange anyway but he couldn't overcome his slow start and finished 2nd to Belgium's Jonathan Borlee (44.75 to 44.76). Kevin Borlee was 3rd. Jeremy Wariner has running 45.28 down to a science as that must be the 4th time this season he's been around that time. LaShawn Merritt pulled up lame at the 200m mark.

Women's 100m

World: watch out for Blessing Okagbare. Confidence is sometimes all you need to pull off something special at the Olympics, and she's got it right now, having won two consecutive Diamond League meets, and lowering her personal best along the way. She beat a good - not great - field tonight and her smile said it all. She's ready to go.

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