Quite a few world records have been missed at the once again high-quality IAAF Golden-League-Meeting in Brussels but one all time best has been achieved at the 30th van Damme Memorial: the team from Kenya set a new world record at the rarely run 4 x 800 metres. Joseph Mutua, William Yiampoy, Ismael Kombich and Wilfred Bungei ran the distance in 7:02,43 minutes crossing the finishing line just in front of the US team (7:02,82). They broke the 24-year-old world record of 7:03,89 minutes which the British runners Peter Elliott, Garry Cook, Steve Cram and Sebastian Coe had set in London in 1982.
Brussels is one of the few meetings which have continually featured high-quality 10,000 m races of the men. This year it was the same: the main programme had not even started when one of the highest quality 10,000 m races of all times took place. Here Micah Kogo was not only the first runner to run under 27 minutes this season with 26:35,63 but he also completed the race in the tenth-fastest time ever. Consequently, the only 20-year-old Kenyan runner who made his first international appearance only this year is now the sixth-fastest runner of all times over the 25-lap-distance. After having passed the 5,000 m in 13:19,64, Micah Kogo passed the leading runner Zersenay Tadesse (Eritrea) 700 metres before the end. Tadesse came second after all while Boniface Kiprop (Uganda) placed third in 26:41,95. Three runners under 26:45 minutes – this had been achieved only two times in Brussels before.
“I had actually just wanted to break my personal best today. I would never have expected to actually win and now I have even improved by 40 seconds. My next goal for this season is to run the 5,000 m in less than 13 minutes,” said Micah Kogo.
In the 5,000 m race Tirunesh Dibaba kept her chances for winning the IAAF Golden League’s big jackpot. After winning in Oslo, Paris, Rome, Zurich and now Brussels she will only need one more win next Sunday at the ISTAF in Berlin to get her share of a total of one million US-dollars. Once again the Ethiopian double-world champion only focused on winning and has not even shown her full potential yet. Russian runner Olga Komyagina had led Tirunesh Dibaba and her fellow countrywoman Meseret Defar passed the 2,000 m mark (5:42,01) at world record pace and even at the 3,000 m mark Defar’s record (14:24,53) was still within reach. Even though Defar seemed to be prepared to go for it, Dibaba however, did not want to participate in taking the lead. Consequently, the race slowed down a bit in between and Jo Pavey (Great Britain/14:39,96) who came third at the end was able to catch up. In the deciding finish however, Pavey was not involved as Tirunesh Dibaba could not be stopped anymore when she began her long, strong final sprint about 400 m before the finishing line. Meseret Defar was initially able to keep up but 150 metres before the end, Dibaba increased the pace once again and clearly left Defar behind. Dibaba won in 14:30,63 minutes while Defar followed in 14:33,78.
Another attempt to break a world record was made by Saif Saaeed Shaheen (Katar) over the 3,000 m steeplechase. The former Kenyan’s main problem however, is finding good pace makers which are able to keep the pace up long enough. In Brussels there were none either. The Spaniard Cesar Perez passed by the 1,500 m mark in 3:56 minutes but dropped out of the race when there were still three laps to run. Shaheen eventually won comfortably in 8:04,32 minutes but was far from his own world record (7:53,63).
Another attempt to break a world record at the 30th van Damme Memorial failed as well: Kenenisa Bekele had been dominating the 5,000 m race. When his brother Tariku led him past the 3,000 m mark in 7:34,12 minutes, Kenenisa Bekele was on his way to break his own world record of 12:37,35 minutes. But being on his own after that he slowed down significantly and reached the finishing line after 12:48,09 minutes – at least this was still the fastest time of the year. “Since the end of May I have basically been running one race a week – that is just too much. Breaking the world record was impossible today,” said Kenenisa Bekele who crossed the finishing line long in front of Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya/13:01,88).