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Boulami storms Zurich with World Steeplechase Record

By IAAF Staff / www.iaaf.org - 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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