Sum silences critics as Birech stuns seniors in Rome

PHOTO | FILIPPO MONTEFORTE Kenya's Jairus Kipchoge Birech celebrates after winning the 3000m men's steeplechase event on June 5, 2014 at the Rome’s Olympics stadium during the Golden Gala, as a part of the IAAF Diamond League.

What you need to know:

  • Sum, who was among the athletes that Athletics Kenya had banned from taking part in any further events owing to alleged poor from, clocked in 1:59.49 as Diago, who ran a lifetime best of 1:57.74 this year, finished second in 2:00.01.
  • World champion Asbel Kiprop, who had been barred alongside Sum, and World Indoor champion Ayanleh Souleiman from Djibouti, fell to the 2009 World silver medallist Silas Kiplagat in men’s 1,500m race.
  • Kenya’s Jairus Birech produced one of the greatest upsets of the evening winning men’s 3,000m steeplechase race in a seasonal best of 8:06.20. Birech clipped 2004 Olympic bronze medallist Paul Kipsiele Koech by a massive 4:33 seconds.

World 800m champion Eunice Sum silenced her critics once again when she pulled away in the final straight holding off 18-year-old Cuban rising star Sahily Diago to win women’s 800m race at Rome’s Diamond League on Thursday night.

Sum, who was among the athletes that Athletics Kenya had banned from taking part in any further events owing to alleged poor from, clocked in 1:59.49 as Diago, who ran a lifetime best of 1:57.74 this year, finished second in 2:00.01.

The 2007 World champion Janeth Jepkosgei finished ninth in 2:01.70 just ahead of the 2009 World champion Caster Semenya from South Africa in her season's best 2:02.66.

KIPROP COMES THIRD

World champion Asbel Kiprop, who had been barred alongside Sum, and World Indoor champion Ayanleh Souleiman from Djibouti, fell to the 2009 World silver medallist Silas Kiplagat in men’s 1,500m race.

Kiplagat won the race in 3:30.44 after he pulled away in the final straight to hold off Eugene Bowerman Mile winner Souleiman (3:31.19) and double world champion Kiprop (3:31.89) in the final sprint. Young German Homiyu Tesfaye, fifth at the World Championships in Moscow last year, dipped under 3:32 for the first time in his career setting a personal best of 3:31.98. Two more runners ran under 3:33: Moroccan Abdelati Iguider (3:32.09), Collins Cheboi (3:32.36).

KENYA'S CLEAN SWEEP

Kenya’s Jairus Birech produced one of the greatest upsets of the evening winning men’s 3,000m steeplechase race in a seasonal best of 8:06.20. Birech clipped 2004 Olympic bronze medallist Paul Kipsiele Koech by a massive 4:33 seconds.

Brimin Kipruto, Olympic champion in Beijing 2008, completed the Kenyan sweep in third place with 8:11.39 in a race where Olympic and World champion Ezekiel Kemboi failed to finish as was the case in the 2012 London Olympics. London Olympics bronze medallist and Africa champion Abel Mutai finished fourth in a season best of 8:16.20.

Kenya’s World 5,000m silver medallist Mercy Cherono lost the 5,000m race battle to Genzebe Dibaba, who set the world leading time with 14:34.99.

Cherono slumped to fourth 14:43.11 behind second placed Almas Ayana (Ethiopia) 14:37.16 and Viola Kibiwott (Kenya) 14:40.05.

Kenya’s Job Kinyor clocked 1:44.90 to wind fifth in men’s 800m race that went to Mohamed Aman, World champion in Moscow. It was Aman’s second consecutive victory in Rome with 1.44.24.

Sudanese Abubakher Kaki showed that he is returning to his best form finishing second in 1:4.57 five days after running 1:44.09 in Eugene. Marcin Lewandowski from Poland ran an excellent race taking third place in 1:44.60 ahead of USA's Duane Solomon (1:44.90).

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