BRUSSELS, Belgium- Kenyan World champions; Faith Chepng’etich Kipyegon, Conseslus Kipruto and Hellen Obiri added the 2017 IAAF Diamond League titles to their rich curriculum vitae on Friday night in Brussels, Belgium.
The second IAAF Diamond League (DL) final of the season produced fireworks with the Kenyan trio underlining their supremacy at the end of the summer they scaled the heights at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London.
On a night when a major power cut in northern Brussels affected operations at the second DL final of the season at the King Baudoin Stadium, world champion Kipyegon and Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands lit up the AG Memorial Van Damme.
The rivals sparked an all-out surge around the final lap of the women 1500m which eventually saw the Kenyan edge ahead to claim her first Diamond Trophy.
Kipyegon clocked a season’s best of 3:57.04, with Hassan – who leads this year’s world list with 3:56.14 – taking second place in 3:57.22, well clear of the nearest challenger, Kipyegon’s compatriot Winny Chebet, who clocked 4:00.18.
Organisers were unable to switch on the main floodlights, but managed to keep the whole show going thanks to the use of separate generators, enabling the gathered athletes to see out their season’s finale in front of a large and appreciative crowd.
“I’m so happy to end my season this way. Last year I was so disappointed but now I have won the Diamond League, proving I’m in good shape,” Kipyegon told the IAAF.
The DL crown was the latest in an imposing honours list that includes Olympics, Worlds, World Cross, African, World Youth and World Junior titles.
The men’s 3000m steeplechase provided huge drama in the final lap as Kenya’s world and Olympic champion Conseslus Kipruto uncorked a huge burst of energy that would have been most welcome in the nearby blacked-out areas of the city.
The Rio 2016 and London 2017 gold winner edged past Soufiane El Bakkali to win his third Diamond Trophy in a time of 8:04.73, with the Moroccan clocking a personal best of 8:04.83.
Kipruto and El Bakkali had been led through the bell by Olympic silver medallist and world bronze medallist Evan Jager.
The tall and powerful US runner, blond hair tied back, had pushed the pace all the way through, but in the back straight of the final lap his two rivals got away from him and his weariness became evident as he fell at the final water jump and lost his placing.
But Jager found energy from somewhere over the final 30 metres to accelerate past his compatriot Stanley Kebeni to reclaim third place, finishing in 8:11.71 to Kebeni’s 8:11.93.
Another compelling middle distance spectacle saw Kenya’s world 5000m champion Hellen Obiri prevail after a huge battle with her compatriot Caroline Kipkirui.
Obiri won in 14:25.88, with Kipkirui clocking a personal best of 14:27.55 ahead of third-placed Senbere Teferi of Ethiopia, who recorded 14:32.03.
-Material from the IAAF used to compile this report for SportPesa News