News Archive

News Archive

Chirchir sets world junior 1500m mark on a night of records in Monaco

By IAAF Staff / - real,- BERLIN-MARATHON thanks the IAAF for its


Romania’s world 1500m and Olympic 5000m champion Gabriela Szabo

improved on Sonia O’Sullivan’s European 3000m record of 8:21.64

(set in 1994) with a brilliantly sustained sprint attack over the last 300m of

the women’s 3000m (the bell lap had sounded at 7:19), which finally took

her past Britain’s world cross country champion Paula Radcliffe with 200m

to go, bringing the Romanian home in 8:21.42 (2002 world lead).

Radcliffe’s 8:22.20 was a British record for the London Marathon winner

(contesting her first race since then) and Kenya’s Edith Masai’s

8:23.23 for third was an African record.

Gabriela Szabo (ROM)

Within minutes the men’s 1500m was underway and in a closer than

expected battle down the home straight, Morocco’s world record holder

Hicham El Guerrouj held off the closing challenge of Kenya’s Bernard

Lagat, the second fastest man in the world. The Moroccan’s winning time

of 3:27.34 was a meeting record and, like Szabo’s, the fastest time in

the world in 2002. Lagat’s 3:27.91 was a season’s best and in their

wake Portugal’s Rui Silva (3rd 3:30.07) and Driss Maazouzi (6th 3:31.45)

were drawn to national records. Even Cornelius Chirchir, in fourth, set a world

junior record of 3:30.24.

An important factor for El Guerrouj was that the victory kept him on the

road for the IAAF Golden League Jackpot and, by the end of the evening, all

five jackpot hunters would remain in the hunt for 50 kilos of gold at the next

Golden League meeting in Zurich in August.

The men’s triple jump produced a Swedish record for Christian Olsson.

He leapt to a 17.63 national record in round three which even Britain’s

world record holder Jonathan Edwards could not surpass despite a 17.59m in the

same round. The young Swede effectively knocked the stuffing out of, not just

Edwards, but the whole field, as no-one jumped further than 16.83 in the final

three rounds, with the two principal players fouling or passing all their last


In the men’s 800m World indoor and outdoor record holder,

Denmark’s Wilson Kipketer swept aside all opposition in a race which

included the two men - world champion Andre Bucher (returning from injury) and

world indoor champion Yuriy Borzakovskiy - who in recent years had stolen his

throne as the world’s best 800m runner.

With a sustained sprint finish over the last 200m, Kipketer killed off all

opposition with a world season’s lead of 1:43.76. A typically late

finishing Borzakovskiy (1:45.44) and an out of form Bucher (1:46.38) were left

for dust in this race which threw up the much improved American David

Krummenacker, second 1:43.95, as Kipketer’s only serious challenger. The

Dane now resembles the three time world champion of old and there is no doubt

that - in this one race - he has become the outstanding favourite for the

European title in Munich next month, especially as Borzakovskiy has already

elected to run 400m there.

Ana Guevara and Lorraine Fenton continue to get faster and faster this

season in what is probably the closest balanced head to head struggle in the

IAAF Golden League this summer.

Maurice Greene (USA)

At the start of this evening’s track programme Mexico’s Guevara,

the world bronze medallist, was one of five athletes remaining in the hunt for

the Golden League Jackpot of 50 kilos of gold.

Shoulder to shoulder for 350 metres of today’s race - running in lanes

3 and 4 - there was nothing to separate Guevara from Fenton, who is the world

and Olympic silver medallist. But over the final desperate 50 metres the

Mexican began to edge ahead and with a dive at the line won in 49.29, the

fastest time in the world this year, a national and Central American record.

Fenton’s 49.30 was also a Jamaican national record beating Grace

Jackson’s 1988 mark of 49.57. Great racing with marvellously fast times

as well.

World champion Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic was not going to let

his dreams of a share of the Golden League Jackpot vanish into the warm humid

Monaco night. After a wonderful first 300m, France’s 1997 world champion

Stephane Diagana still retained a lead coming into the final hurdle but a late

surging Sanchez flew off the last barrier to establish his own two metre

advantage by the line.

The Dominican Republic athlete’s winning time was 47.86, second only

to his own 47.73 on this season’s world list. Diagana’s 48.11 was a

season’s best.

Marion Jones had predicted some fast running yesterday and that’s what

we witnessed tonight with a 10.84 world lead for 2002. This win kept Jones on

course for at least a share of the Golden League Jackpot.

Second was Jamaica’s Olympic bronze medallist Tayna Lawrence in a

personal best of 10.95. Of course, this was not the old 10.65A/10.70 Jones of

1998/99 but her run was far more than just a good day in the office for the

three time Olympic gold medallist. Lawrence’s continued improvement this

season is pushing Jones back into the fast lane groove and under this sort of a

challenge, the 10.75 form which Jones had predicted yesterday will soon return

to the legs of American sprint queen.

The men’s 100m was a straight forward 9.97 win for USA’s world

record holder Maurice Greene in lane four, even though he did have Bernard

Williams shadowing his shoulder in lane three throughout, to finish second with


Maria Mutola, after suffering a surprise defeat at the hands of USA’s

Nicole Teter in Stockholm on Tuesday, was defeated once more today in just as

surprising a turn over of the favourite from Mozambique. Mutola’s 1:56.09

for second place was a season’s best for the world and Olympic 800m

champion but Cuba’s Zulia Calatayud’s 1:56.09 (personal best) ran

just fast enough to separate the two after a powerful sprint by the Cuban

overhauled Mutola by the finish.

It really wasn’t Mutola’s night as she also lost her world

season’s best 4:01.50 mark for the 1500m too. Just like the women’s

400m and 800m, the 1500m resulted in an exciting tussle for the finish line

with Belarus’ Alesya Turova running 4:01.01 to take the win over

America’s Regina Jacobs who was also under the old mark with 4:01.02.

Just like Sanchez, Guevara, Jones, El Guerrouj, USA’s Gail Devers

wasn’t going to be diverted off the Jackpot path and produced an inspired

gun to tape win in 12.42 - a meeting record - which is only bettered by her own

world lead of 12.40 so far this year. Devers, of all the winners tonight,

looked the most dominant, the most reassured and the most likely to float over

the remaining barriers in Zurich, Brussels and Berlin.

For the first time at the Herculis, there were two pole vault events, and

both were excellent competitions. Among the women, Russia’s Svetlana

Feofanova narrowly failed at a new world record of 4.82, after seeing off most

of the world’s best vaulters to win the contest in 4.69. Second was

Yvonne Buschbaum (GER) with 4.59, while world record holder Stacy Dragila

finished equal third on 4.39 together with Yelena Isinbayeva. In the

men’s event, Jeff Hartwig (USA) cleared 5.80, but had to share the

victory with Germany’s Lars Borgeling.

Benjamin Limo, who had lost his battle for the Golden League jackpot in Rome

proved he still possessed his awesome sprint finish in the men’s 3000m,

engulfing Ukraine’s Sergey Lebed some 15 metres before the finish, just

when the Ukrainian, who is a former European Cross Country champion, had looked

a certain race winner. Limo’s winning time was 7:34.72 – world

season’s lead - with Lebed home second in national record 7:35.06.

Cuba’s Olympic 110m hurdles champion Anier Garcia who had held on for

a narrow win in Stockholm on Tuesday ahead of a clutch of Americans, was beaten

in today’s sprint hurdles by one of them, Larry Wade – 13.19 to

13.22. In fact Garcia lunged so strongly for the line that it looked certain at

one moment that he would lose his footing, amazingly he stayed on his feet but

by that moment the victory was already gone.

The traditional firework finale was proceeded by real fireworks on the track

in the men’s steeplechase where a fierce home straight sprint drove

Morocco’s world record holder Brahim Boulami to a world leading 7:58.09

(meeting record) ahead of Kenya’s world junior record holder Stephen

Cherono (second PB 7:58.10) and in third, a European record for Holland’s

Simon Vroemen – 8:06.91.