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Eight world leads, European 5000m record for Farah in BirminghamBirmingham, UK – There was no World record for Abubaker Kaki in the men’s 1000m but his 2:17.76 was one of eight world leads at the Aviva Grand Prix in Birmingham today (19) on an afternoon of pulsating athletics that climaxed with a European 5000m record by the indomitable Mo Farah.
Those were just two of five brilliant distance performances at the IAAF Indoor Permit meeting, which also included the top men’s and women’s 1500m of the year from Augustine Choge and Abeba Aregawi, and a superb women’s 3000m from Sentayehu Ejigu.
Choge won a thrilling 1500m from Derese Mekonnen in 3:33.23, Aregawi front ran to 4:03.28, and Ejigu ran away from a high class field with half the race still to go to clock 8:30.26.
There was also some impressive sprinting with world leads for Bianca Knight in the women’s 200m, for Michael Rodgers, who matched Kim Collins 6.50 in the men’s 60m, and for Sebastian Ernst who recorded an equal world lead in the men’s 200m.
There was also a near world best for Felix Sanchez who won an eventful 400m hurdles in 49.76.
Ejigu moves up to No. 4 all-time over 3000m
Ejigu produced the performance of the day as she strode away from the rest of the field to smash the previous world lead by 11 seconds in 8:30.26, the fourth fastest of all time by the Ethiopian world bronze medallist in her first race of the year.
Led through the first kilometre in 2:53.01 by Ireland’s Rose-Ann Galligan, Ejigu took up the running with 1500m remaining and simply stretched away from a chasing trio made up of Kenya’s Mercy Njoroge, her compatriot Kelkidan Gezahegn and Briton Helen Clitheroe.
She sped through 2000m 25 metres clear in 2:43.45 and hit the bell in 7:57.95 before powering home.
Gezahegne won the battle for second, smashing her PB by nine seconds in 8:37.47. Njoroge was third in 8:39.70, three seconds inside her best, and Clitheroe fourth in 8:39.81, the 37-year-old smashing her PB by some 11 seconds. There were also PBs for athletes in places six to nine.
Aregawi was almost as impressive in the 1500m as the 20-year-old ran away from her opponents with two laps to go and came home in 4:03.28, more than two seconds quicker than Yevgeniya Zolotova’s world lead.
Irene Jelagat was stretched to the limit by the powerful Ethiopian but still broke the Kenyan record in second as she clocked 4:06.90 with two Britons, Hannah England and Stacey Smith, recording PBs in third and fourth – 4:07.24 and 4:07.42.
Ingvil Makestad took advantage of the blistering pace to hang on for a Norwegian record of 4:09.17 in fifth.
Choge evens the score with Mekonnen
It was a case of sweet revenge for Choge in the men’s 1500m after he suffered defeat at Mekonnen’s hands at this meeting last year when the Ethiopian ran the fastest time of 2010, 3:33.10.
Choge had to be satisfied with second that day, but the Kenyan seemed determined not to let the same happen this time.
The pair were taken through 800m in 1:53.48 and 1200 in 2:37 before Mekonnen burst past the Kenyan with 300 metres left. He passed the bell in front, but Choge responded immediately, squeezing round the World indoor champion on the penultimate bend and racing away to win by five metres.
It was a personal best for the former Commonwealth 5000m champion.
“It felt really good, although I really wanted something more out there, I thought I could go a bit faster,” he said. “I’m really happy to have run my personal best, I’m happy I did that for the fans and everyone that made the meet here today.”
Mekonnen finished in 3:33.97 with a second Kenyan Bethwel Birgen in third, 3:37.07.
Behind them there were a string of PBs for athletes in places five to 10, including 3:38.17 for USA’s Russell Brown, 3:33.71 for Britain’s Colin McCourt, 3:39.16 for compatriot Andy Baddeley, and 3:40.69 for Nick McCormick – the last three inside UKA’s qualifying standard for the European Indoor Championships.
Kaki beats back Lalang’s challenge
Wilson Kipketer’s 11-year-old world 1000m mark proved just too good for Kaki, although the world indoor 800m champion won a tough battle with Boaz Lalang over the five laps.
After going through 600m in 1:19.88, it was Lalang who came by Kaki to lead at the bell. The Kenyan appeared to be pulling away down the back straight but the Sudanese champion attacked off the bend and sneaked past in 2:17.76, nearly three seconds outside the target of 2:14.96.