Brimin Kipruto en route to his sizzling 7:53.64 in Monaco (© Philippe Fitte)
MonteOlympic champion Brimin Kipruto, with a fantastic 3000m Steeplechase victory, outshone even Usain Bolt the world's fastest man with his success in a Kenyan record time at the Herculis/Samsung Diamond League meet on Friday (22).
Bolt, in the millionaires principality of Monaco, was made to fight every inch of the way to earn his pay packet before winning an explosive 100m but it was Kipruto who produced the finest performance of the meet and definitely the best track performance of the summer season when clocking the second fastest ever Steeplechase time of 7:53.64.
Just 0.01sec from World record!
Kipruto, with a marvellous last lap of around 60 seconds, narrowly missed the World record time of 7:53.63 which Saif Saaeed Shaheen a fellow Kenyan who switched allegiance to Qatar in 2003, achieved at the 2004 Golden League meet in Brussels.
That something special was on the cards became apparent as early as the first kilometre which, led by Haron Lagat, was passed in 2:36.55 and saw the field lowered to a pack of four with 2004 Olympic gold medallist Ezekiel Kemboi and world leader Paul Koech looking particularly frisky.
On a night of Kenyan domination it was Koech, savouring the windless conditions and delighting the near packed house at the Stade Louis II, who took up the running with four laps remaining as Kemboi and Kipruto, nine days before his 26th birthday, followed in his footsteps as he forced along the pace.
The trio raced through two kilometres in 5:15.28 and approaching the bell in 6:53 it was apparent that not only the first sub-8min time of the season was on the cards but that it would be broken by a substantial margin.
Koech, who had born the brunt of the donkey work, was left for dead 30 metres after the final lap got underway and then Kipruto unceremoniously blew away the threat of Kemboi with a sustained burst from 250 metres which ended with him missing Shaheen's world mark by a narrowest of margins.
Behind, both Kemboi and Koech were rewarded with lifetime bests, the former moving to fourth position on the all-time list with 7:55.76 while Koech's clocking of 7:57.32 lifted him to seventh.
"The race was so fast for everyone I didn't even know it was a world record pace," said Kipruto after his extraordinary feat. "When I saw the clock I was just so grateful. Next time at the World Championships (27 August-4 September) I will try and break the world record.”
Bolt, but just barely
Bolt, who admitted he was not in the best of shape and certainly not in world record-breaking form, eventually came up trumps when lowering his season's best by 0.03sec with his victory in 9.88.
But there was nothing vintage about this performance from the reigning Olympic and World Champion at both 100m and 200m who was sluggish until after the halfway point.
Bolt was the last sprinter to rise out of his blocks and at 50 metres looked vulnerable as fellow Jamaican Michael Frater, with another three rivals in contention, was half a stride ahead.
But then the long legs of Bolt began to extend and he eventually crossed the line ahead of fellow countryman Nesta Carter who lowered his season's best by 0.02sec with Michael Rodgers of the USA third in 9.96.
Bolt, content with his first ever appearance in Monaco and aided by a wind +1.0, said: "Technically-wise it was a good race. It wasn't the best start. Other than that I think I executed well overall."
World lead for Rudisha but Montsho denied in 400
World record holder David Rudisha added to his SDL victory in Lausanne when scorching to a new world leading time of 1:42.61 but on this occasion the Kenyan was chased much harder by his opponents.
Olympic 1500m champion Asbel Kiprop, the 800m winner at the series opener in Doha, may not have gotten within five metres of his fellow countryman but was rewarded for his eyeballs effort with a personal best by 0.02sec clocking 1:43.15.
Kiprop led a hungry chasing pack down the home straight with the US pair of Nick Symmonds and Khadevis Robinson - the Rome leg winner - setting season's fastest marks of 1:43.83 and 1:44.03 while there was a PB 1:43.99 for Kenya's David Mutua behind them.
Rudisha led through the first lap by pacemaker and training partner Sammy Tangui in 49.61 and improving his 1:43.46 world lead, said: "I felt great. I knew my shape was coming along nicely and it's nice to see such a fast time.”
Amantle Montsho continued her magnificent SDL form when storming to a fourth consecutive victory in a time of 49.71 which would have been a world lead if Anastasiya Kapachinskaya had not run 49.35 earlier in the day at the Russian Championships.
Nevertheless it was a national record for Botswana by 0.12sec as her elegant figure pushed early in the race, first by the USA's Debbie Dunn and Francena McCorory, before she took charge of the proceedings going into the final bend.
McCorory, who has come on leaps and bounds this year and was runner up at the US Championships, snatched second in 50.29 with fast finishing Novlene William-Mills of Jamaica taking third in 50.61.
Jamal back to winning ways but faster time was expected in strong field
World 1500m champion Maryam Jamal showed her best form for some time, triumphing over a strong field in 4:00.59.
The Bahrain star, after the 400 and 800 markers were passed by an unchallenged pacemaker Molly Beckwith of the USA in 1:00.84 and 2:07.65, won comfortably ahead of Ibtissam Lakhouad of Morocco who clocked a season's best 4:01.09 with Morgan Ucency third.
Ucency after her wins at the last two SDL meets didn't have the pace to make it a third success when Jamal struck for home with 200 remaining although she was rewarded when lowering her PB by 0.89sec to 4:01.51.
Farah adds to blossoming reputation with world lead and British record
Mo Farah added to his blossoming reputation when after defeating the World's best 10,000m runners in Eugene at the beginning of June, scored another world class victory in a British record time of 12:53.11.
Farah, with his 2011 World best time lowered his national mark from the 12:57.94 he set in Zurich last summer when producing a brilliant turn of speed in the final lap which he covered in just under 53sec to hold off a sustained challenge to defeat former World champion Bernard Lagat.
Lagat himself reaped the benefit of a great race when breaking his USA record in a time of 12:53.60 while in third place Kenya's 17-year-old Isaiah Koech, who ran a World Youth Best of 12:54.59 at the SDL Rome meet two months ago, lowered that outstanding mark to 12:54.18.
The contest, after the field went through 3000 metros five seconds behind the scheduled 7:42, then began to come alive although Farah was content to sit down in 12th place until approaching the last 800.
Then the US-based Briton was jostling alongside a strong Kenyan contingent, Lagat, and Tariku Bekele of Ethiopia and with 500 metros remaining, his frame sporting a large goatee beard, moved to the front.
The final circuit was run at a blistering speed but Farah maintained his momentum and with Lagat finally slowing 30 metres from the line blew out a sigh of relief with victory assured.
Pearson proves her mettle again with third series 100m Hurdles win
Olympic silver medallist Sally Pearson, leading from gun-to-tape, again proved herself the World No. 1 when scoring a third SDL victory in three weeks with a time of 12.51.
It wasn't easy for the Australian who had to maintain 100 per cent concentration and speed after coming off the final barrier as US champion Kellie Wells mounted a late challenge.
But despite the threat it would have taken a miracle for Wells to recover the space which seperated them as she lost by 0.07sec and for a third time this season to her rival.
Former American and European Indoor 60 hurdles silver medallist Tiffany Ofili-Porter also excelled in the stellar field and was rewarded by lowering her British record to 12.60.
"Today it wasn't my best race and I ran 12.51, so it's a major confidence boost," said Pearson. "I am the strongest runner at the moment but all the other girls are on my tail.”
Jeter blunts Felix’s homestretch threat
Carmelita Jeter, the world's second fastest ever 100m performer, showed how she is also now excelling at 200 when scoring an inspirational win at the distance ahead of Allyson Felix.
Jeter sliced 0.01sec from the PB of 22.23sec she ran behind Shalonda Solomon a month earlier at the U.S. championships as she sprung a shock defeat on Felix the three-time World gold medallist.
Felix was first out of the blocks but had no response when Jeter powered away in the final 50 metres and had to settle for second although in a season's best of 22.32.
Behind the pair Solomon, the world leader with the 22.15 which won her the US title and a place in next month's World Championships, made it an American clean sweep finishing in 22.63.
Taylor back to his best in 400m Hurdles
Two-time Olympic champion Angelo Taylor produced his most impressive 400m Hurdles performance of the year when with a superfast burst down the home straight won in a time of 47.97.
His strength saw him hold off the challenge of his fellow American and reigning SDL champion Bershawn Jackson who flew out of his blocks and over the first two hurdles in the defence of his Herculis title.
But coming off the final bend Taylor thwarted not only the challenge of his countryman but also this year's fastest man LJ Van Zyl of South Africa and Great Britain's current SDL leader David Greene.
Jackson won the battle for second place in 48.22 while European champion Greene, after his victories at the last two meets in Lausanne and on home soil in Birmingham, grabbed third place from a fading Van Zyl by 0.29sec in 48.43.
Spotakova and Lavillenie post world leads in javelin and Pole Vault
Olympic Javelin champion and World record holder Barbora Spotakova, somewhat overshadowed this year by German rival Christina Obergfoll, scored her first SDL win of the current programme.
The Czech, last year's overall winner, although leading throughout the competition saved her best effort and world lead and meet record, until the last round with an effort of 69.45m.
"The conditions were perfect today," said Spotakova. "I had to use them and I did it. I was in very good condition so I expected to throw fast, but not with my sixth throw."
Obergfoll took second slot throwing 64.86m with Madara Palameika third with 62.06m achieved in the last round.
Renaud Lavillenie, given massive support by the enthusiastic crowd, went to the top of the world Pole Vault rankings clearing a height of 5.90m with his third attempt.
The Frenchman dominated the competition where he extended his lead in the SDL rankings where he is defending his 2010 overall title ahead of Malte Mohr and Konstantinos Filippidis.
Germany's Mohr and early season leader took second when stretching over 5.75m and that remained his best of the night after one failure at 5.85m and two at 5.90m. The Greek bowed out with the bar at 5.60m.
2007 World champion Reese Hoffa finally chalked up his first shot victory of the SDL series when a meeting record best performance of 21.25m in the third round.
That was far enough to blunt the threat of fellow American Christian Cantwell who opened with 21.23 and match that performance in round five.
Current SDL leader Dylan Armstrong of Canada had on this occasion to play second fiddle to his cross border rivals his best effort coming with his last attempt of 20.98m.
Phillips Idowu, with arch French rival Teddy Tamgho an absentee through injury, extended his lead in the Triple Jump when clearing 17.36m in the second round.
The World champion started with 17.00m as Cuba's Alexis Copello led the first round with 17.30m which he didn't improve and earned him second place while his fellow countryman David Giralt took third with 17.29m in the third round.
Blanka Vlasic who has been on antibiotics for a week with a nasal infection scored a fourth SDL win and is now firmly in the driver’s seat to retain her overall title.
Vlasic on a day when Anna Chicherova took away her world lead with a brilliant National record clearance of 2.07m at the Russian championships claimed victory with a best leap of 1.97m. Doreen Amata of Nigeria and Melanie Melfort finished behind with leaps of 1.92m and 1.89m.
Reese prevails over Klishina, Muller takes command in Discus
The women’s Long Jump, after an unspectacular first round where Switzerland's Irene Pusterla led with a clearance of 6.70m, developed as expected into a head-to-head between Brittney Reese and Darya Klishina.
Reigning World champion Reese came out tops for a third SDL success this summer and is now well on course to retaining her overall crown with a final leap of 6.82m.
The American led after round two, when after following Klishina on the runway, she jumped 6.81m after Russia's newly crowned European U23 gold medallist cleared 6.75m which she improved by 4cm in round 5 to gain second place.
Eloyse Lesueur, who finished third at the Rome leg two months ago, claimed the same position when jumping 6.79m in the fifth round.
Nadine Muller, with a superb first round throw of 65.90m, good enough to thwart the threat of reigning SDL discus champion Yarelis Barrios, went to the head of this year's rankings.
The German No. One unleashed the winning effort just 15cm short of her season's best after following Cuba's two-time World silver medallist into the circle after she had posted her 2011 best of 65.44m.
Neither improved although Muller adding to her success in Birmingham had a 65.16m effort in round three while Barrios threw 65.44m with her second attempt and 65.01m in the fifth round.
Olympic and USA champion Stephanie Brown-Trafton went into third place with her fifth round effort of 61.37m before improving to 62.07m with her final attempt.
Kiplagat clocks 3:30.47 world lead in 1500m
The men's 1500m, a non-Diamond League event saw Silas Kiplagat improve the world lead he achieved at altitude in last weekend's Kenyan Championships with a time of 3:30.47.
Behind him there was a huge fight for second place with three of the field Nixon Chepseba of Kenya, the Sudan's Abubaker Kaki and Nick Willis from New Zealand all running under 3:32.
Chepseba took runner up in 3:31.74 while Kaki in third lowered his country's National record to 3:31.76 with Kiwi Willis reducing his to 3:31.79.
David Martin for the IAAF