Jamaicans storm to glory
PARIS: Jamaican sprinters Asafa Powell and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce made up for the absence of Usain Bolt by storming to double 100m glory in the Diamond League meet in Paris on Saturday.
But there was heartbreak for Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba who narrowly missed out on breaking her older sister Tirunesh’s world record in the women’s 5000m. Former 100m world record holder Powell held his nerve to power through the line in 9.81 seconds, Frenchman Jimmy Vicaut equalling the European record of 9.86sec in second ahead of American Michael Rodgers (9.99).
Defending two-time Olympic 100m champion Fraser-Pryce is not doubling up at the world championships in Beijing, saying her coach Stephen Francis wanted to regain her explosive start. That certainly did not hinder her at the Stade de France as she blasted to a win in 10.75sec, ahead of Nigerian Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor (10.80) and American English Gardner (10.97).
In a gripping 5000m, Dibaba and compatriot Almaz Ayana were glued together until the last lap when the former struck out. But her efforts were to no avail as she fell an agonising 4.26sec short of her sister’s record of 14:11.15 set in Oslo in 2008. The double Olympic and four-time world champion Valerie Adams finished fifth.
Another unlikely spectacle was watching American Evan Jager leading a strong field of Kenyans into the final bend of the men’s 3000m steeplechase, only to come a cropper on the final hurdle to allow Jairus Kipchoge Birech in in a world leading 7:58.83. Jager still snagged an American record after scrambling back to his feet and finishing second (8:00.45), Kenya’s two-time Olympic champion Ezekiel Kemboi down in 11th.
Wayde Van Niekerk ran a fantastic men’s 400m, the African shattering his personal best with a record of 43.96sec to beat Olympic champion Kirani James (44.17) into second.
Reigning world, African and Commonwealth champion Eunice Sum continued her unbeaten year with a victory in the women’s 800m in a world-leading 1:56.99.