Ethiopian middle-distance runner Gudaf Tsegay (© Jean-Pierre Durand)
World indoor record-holder Gudaf Tsegay and European indoor champion Patryk Dobek claimed middle-distance victories at the Orlen Janusz Kusocinski Memorial – a World Athletics Continental Tour Silver meeting – in Chorzow on Sunday (20).
Tsegay produced the fastest outdoor 1500m performance of her career, stopping the clock at a Polish all-comers’ record of 3:54.01. Dobek, meanwhile, ran a world-leading 1:43.73 to win the men’s 800m.
The women’s 1500m had been billed as a world record attempt, and Tsegay certainly didn’t hold back in the opening stages, following the pacemakers as they went through 400m in 1:00.5. But, competing in 31C heat, Tsegay’s pace dropped slightly on the second lap as compatriot Hirut Meshesha, acting as the second pacemaker, went through 800m in 2:04.9.
Tsegay took the lead with 500 metres to go and maintained a swift pace, but it wasn’t quite enough to make a dent on Genzebe Dibaba’s world record of 3:50.07. Nevertheless, the 24-year-old Ethiopian was rewarded with an outdoor PB of 3:54.01. Meshesha crossed the line in second place in a PB of 3:59.43 while the rest of the field followed eight seconds later.
Dobek, who switched from the 400m hurdles to the 800m just earlier this year, continued his impressive breakthrough in his new event.
After being paced through the first lap in 50.18, Algeria’s Takieddine Hedeili found himself at the front of the pack, being chased down by Elliot Giles. The Briton moved into the lead with 200 metres to go, but Dobek was right behind and moving well. The Pole hit the front coming off the final bend and pulled away from the rest of the field, going on to win in 1:43.73.
Jamie Webb caught Giles just before the line, taking second place in a PB of 1:44.14, while Giles was rewarded with an outdoor best of 1:44.20. Further back, Polish youngster Krzysztof Roznicki made up significant ground on the home straight to finish fifth in 1:44.51, a national U20 record and European age-17 best.
Twelve days after winning Ethiopia’s Olympic trial race over 1500m, Freweyni Hailu stepped down in distance to win the 800m in Chorzow.
The 20-year-old positioned herself behind the pacemaker, who went through the first lap in 56.41, and then took up the running in the second half, holding off a strong challenge from Australia’s Catriona Bisset. Hailu held on for victory in a PB of 1:57.57 while Bisset took second place in 1:58.09, breaking the Oceanian record that had stood to New Zealand's Toni Hodgkinson since 1996.
France’s Renelle Lamote (1:58.11) and Germany’s Katharina Trost (1:58.68) also finished inside 1:59.
Fajdek and Kopron earn domestic bragging rights in hammer
World champion Pawel Fajdek and 2017 world bronze medallist Malwina Kopron came through in the latter stages of the hammer contests to take victories over their esteemed compatriots.
Fajdek opened with two fouls before recording a valid, albeit below-par, 72.21m in round three. European champion Wojciech Nowicki led at the half-way stage with 79.92m from 20-year-old Ukrainian Myhaylo Kokhan, who threw a PB of 78.57m in round three.
Fajdek round his rhythm in the fourth round, throwing 79.97m before improving to 82.14m in the fifth round to secure the victory.
Kopron’s route to success was eerily similar, starting with two fouls before taking the lead in the fourth round. Her 73.63m throw displaced world record-holder Anita Wlodarczyk as the leader. Kopron improved to 74.93m with her final throw, while Wlodarczyk finished second with 73.59m.
Commonwealth champion Isaac Makwala produced his best run for three years to win the men’s 400m. The African record-holder from Botswana won by a significant margin, stopping the clock at 44.47 – his fastest time since May 2018. Poland’s Karol Zalewski was second in 45.14.
Namibian younger Beatrice Masilingi was similarly dominant in the women’s one-lap sprint. She attacked the first 100m then dropped down a gear for the next 200m before picking up the effort again down the home straight, crossing the line in 49.88. Cuba’s Roxana Gomez was second in a PB of 50.76.
Elsewhere, heptathlon specialist Marthe Koala of Burkina Faso won the 100m hurdles in 12.86 (0.3m/s), European indoor 60m champion Lamont Jacobs, racing for the first time since breaking the Italian 100m record with 9.95, won the men’s short sprint in 10.06 (0.2m/s), while Gina Bass of The Gambia took the women’s event in 11.17 (0.7m/s).
Jon Mulkeen for World Athletics