Cross Challenge on 24 October 2021

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Boulami storms Zurich with World Steeplechase Record

Morocco s Brahim Boulami produced a defiant front running victory in the face of the best Kenyan steeplechasers to lower his own World 3000m steeplechase record to 7:53.17, to produce the highlight of a great night at Zurich s Weltklasse IAAF Golden Leagu


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

At yesterdays press conference Boulami, who has owned the world steeplechase record since last summers Brussels meeting, said that breaking the world record in Zurich would have an extra special feeling.

Running solo for most of the final three circuits of the race, Boulami powered his way to a new world mark of 7:53.17, obliterating his old record of 7:55.28. Although Stephen Cherono, the Commonwealth champion finished second in 8:05.14 and Paul Koech third in a 8:05.44 personal best, the Kenyan charge never materialised. In fact, the World and Olympic champion Reuben Kosgei didn even finish the race.

"After a very good training period, I knew that it was possible for me to run the world record race", commented Boulami. "The first kilometre was not very quick. So I pushed the pace in the second. When I saw the split of 5:17, I started to think that I can really break the record. For the moment, its the end of Kenyan dominance but Im sure they will try to come back and win the record again."

A world record looked on the cards too in the mens 1500m, and again it was a North African who came close: Moroccos Hicham El Guerrouj, who like Boulami is the current world record holder. Steaming down the home straight after a near solo 1500m effort, El Guerrouj came agonisingly close - running just 0.89 of a second slower than he did to set the world record in Rome in 1998. Once again, the Kenyan challenge failed to materialise with World silver medallist Bernard Lagat back in 4th (3:31.52), behind Portugals World Indoor champion Rui Silva (3rd 3:31.22) and Kenyas Cornelius Chirchir (2nd 3:30.68).

Outside these two middle distance record bids, the most dominant track performance of the night came from Mexicos Ana Guevara in the womens 400m. Guevaras win, which kept her on the trail of the IAAF Golden League Jackpot, can only be described as crushing. The rest of the field, including the entire European championship medal podium - Zykina, Breuer and McConnell - was left for dead in a race which took the Mexican to a new Area record and world seasons lead of 49.16.

The womens 800m provided a classic duel between the newly crowned European champion Jolanda Ceplak of Slovenia and World and Olympic champion Maria Mutola of Mozambique. The Slovenian, who has run a 1:55.19 national record this season, likes to front run but on this occasion when the race entered the second lap she was fourth behind the pace makers with Mutola on her shoulder.

Entering the final straight in second and third respectively, the pair were quickly in the lead and running side by side. But it was Mutola who first got the edge, and then went well clear of her opponent to win in 1:57.24, to Ceplaks 1:57.78.

Mutola has sharpened up her racing act in the last week. The African champion had first run to a 400m win in Helsinki on Tuesday and had also studied Ceplaks European Championship races on video. Mutola got an "A" grade for her studies in tonights examination.

The womens 100m was fast, as expected, with Marion Jones winning in 10.88 but the closeness of the result was a surprise. The USAs Chryste Gaines ran a 10.95 seasons best in second. The earlier "B" womens 100m was taken by Jamaicas world indoor 200m champion Juliet Campbell in 11.15.

Jones was the first of the five IAAF Golden League Jackpot contenders to perform on tonights programme. The second to enter the ring was Felix Sanchez in the mens 400m hurdles and he was in his usual dominant form coming off the final barrier strongly to win from Americas James Carter (47.57 PB).

It is was not just the confident manner of Sanchezs performance which impressed, since his time of 47.35 was both an Area record for the Dominican Republic athlete and a world seasons best performance.

"The most important thing was to win," said Sanchez. "I got a special motivation when Boulami broke the world record."

The "B" 400m hurdles was won by Polands 1998 European champion Pawel Januszewski in 48.65, which would have placed him 6th in tonights main race.

Gail Devers was the only one of the "famous five" chasing the Jackpot to fail in the task, finishing third (12.73) in the womens sprint hurdles behind Spains Glory Alozie who notched up a fine 12.63 win. Jamaicas Brigitte Foster was second in 12.71.

Devers will be disappointed by the manner of her loss, since the winning time was poor when compared to all her four Golden League wins this season, the best of which was a 12.42 in Monaco.

The mens jumps provided some excellent competition. Jonathan Edwards bounced back from defeat in Munich with a 17.63 triple jump, to gain some revenge over the new European champion Christian Olsson of Sweden who was a lacklustre third with 17.18.

However, Swedens Stefan Holm, the European silver medallist in the mens high jump was very motivated and cleared an impressive 2.35 personal best for victory over Canadas Mark Boswell on 2.33, and Russias new European champion Yaroslav Rybakov, third with a seasons best of 2.31.

In the womens 1500m, Gabriela Szabo made up for her disappointing Munich performance (silver) with a late sprint finish which guzzled up the distance separating her from Suzy Favor Hamilton (USA), who had stolen a surprise 10 metres lead coming into the final 100m. Szabo timed her finish to perfection cruising past the American no more than five metres from the tape for the victory. Her winning time of 3:58.78 was a world seasons best.

Behind Szabo, Favor-Hamilton ran a seasons best (3:59.10), Alesia Turova of Belarus was third also under 4 minutes (3:59.89 PB) and there were also personal bests for the next three runners. These included a Hungarian national record (6th 4:01.26) for Judit Varga, who had taken fourth place in Munich at the weekend.

A late switch from the 3000m did no favours for Russias world 5000m champion Olga Yegorova, as she finished way off the pace in 10th with 4:07.46.

However, it didn look like the Russian would have faired much better at the longer distance either, as the 3000m was won by Ethiopias world indoor record holder Berhane Adere with a sustained finish over the last lap which left the rest of the field gasping. Aderes winning time was 8:32.76 and there were seasons bests for Russias Tatyana Tomashova in second and for Irelands late finishing Sonia OSullivan, who nipped Kenyas Edith Masai for third on the line in 8:33.62, with the Kenyan clocking 8:33.83 in 4th.

The heats of the mens 100m brought wins for Frank Fredericks (10.06) over Coby Miller (10.07) and Maurice Greene (10.08) in the first preliminary (+0.3 m/s). But in the second the sparks really flew as Tim Montgomery grabbed the win in 9.93 from European champion Dwain Chambers 9.94 (PB), and a national record of 9.98 for St. Kitts and Nevis Kim Collins, the Commonwealth champion.

In comparison, the times of the 100m final may have been an anti-climax but the result was certainly not. Montgomery finally got his seasons win over world record holder Greene in 9.98 but so did a lot of other people!

Miller was second (10.00), with Chambers third (10.05) and Collins also dipping ahead of Greene in fourth with 10.06. Greene, after a terrible start, finished 5th in 10.10.

The "B" 800m was taken in a terrific fight to the line by Kenyas Wilfred Bungei in 1:43.64, a new world seasons lead, from compatriot William Yiampoy (1:43.69) who also dipped under the 1:43.76 previous seasons best of Denmarks European champion Wilson Kipketer.

However, Bungeis honour as world seasons leader lasted only a couple of hours as in the "A" race Joseph Mutua battled his way to a 1:43.33 win ahead of Kipketers 1:43.59. South Africas Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, the winner in Helsinki on Tuesday was third in a personal best of 1:43.81.

The mens discus was taken by Hungarys European champion Robert Fazekas with 66.81m. But he was not satisfied with his performance, blaming his excessive celebrations after Munich.

Germanys Tim Lobinger, who had kept the German crowds up-beat in Munich with a bronze medal in the mens pole vault, pleased the Swiss too tonight with a second time clearance at 5.80, to wild applause from the spectators in Letzigunds famous South Stand. His German team mate Lars Borgeling also got the same reception and the Munich silver medallist cleared the same height to share first place. Lobinger failed his three attempts at 5.91, while Borgeling - for a yet unknown reason - retired from the competition.

The mens 5000m was won by Kenyas 20 year Commonwealth champion Sammy Kipketer in a seasons best of 12:56.99, in a race which saw three men duck under 13 minutes. There was a personal best for Kenyas Abraham Chebii (12:58.98) while the first European home, Frances Smail Sghir, was 7th in 13:05.80.

The womens long jump was won by Brazils Maureen Maggi with 6.84m, Hungarys Tunde Vaszi was second (6.69) and Olga Rublyova of Russia, third with 6.51m. Olympic champion Heike Drechsler of Germany was 5th with 6.48m.

Russias Tatyana Shikolenk made some amends for her fourth place in Munich with her third Golden League win of the summer in the womens javelin, throwing 64.72m.

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