South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk clocked a lifetime best 43.96 secs to smash the 400m African record, Kenyan Jairus Birech overcame American Jager in 3000m steeplechase while Genzebe Dibaba and Eunice Sum scored victories at the Meeting Areva, IAAF Diamond League in Paris on Saturday.
Wayde Van Niekerk became the first African to dip below 44 secs for one lap of the track, 11th man to do so, and took the scalp of the London 2012 Olympic Games champion Kirani James from Grenada in the process.
The 22-year-old Van Niekerk’s first victory in the Diamond Race, not only handed James his first defeat of the year, but moved the South African up to 10th on the all-time list for the men’s 400m event.
James settled for second in 44.17 while the US champion David Verburg finished in third place in 44.81.
Dibaba won the keen contested race in a personal best and meeting record of 14:15.41, with Ayana claiming the second spot in 14:21.97, some seven seconds outside her solo world lead from Shanghai in May.
Birech overcomes Jager at last hurdle
Kenyan Jairus Kipchoge Birech won the men’s 3000m steeplechase after American Jager failed to clear the last hurdle and tumbled flat on the track.
Birech, the 2014 Diamond Race winner, notched up another world lead to win in 7:58.83, a meeting record and the night’s first world-leading performance.
His compatriot Eunice Jepkoech Sum also claimed another world lead, taking down her personal best below 1:57 for the first time to win the women’s 800m in 1:56.99.
Cuba’s Rose Mary Amanza who also ran a personal best with 1:57.70 in second place behind the Kenyan, while Selina Buchel smashed the Swiss record of 1:57.95 in third place.
Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce edged African and Commonwealth champion Blessing Okagbare to win the women’s 100m in 10.74 secs.
Okagbare, who had beaten Fraser-Pryce easily in Shanghai back in May, settle for second place this time in a season’s best time of 10.80 secs ahead of USA’s English Gardner, third in 10.97.
(With reports and results from the IAAF)