Obiri Scorches Dibaba, Manangoi Goes 1-0 Up On Cheruiyot In Doha DL

May 04 - by IAAF for SportPesa News

Semenya returns to action with victory in the women 300m at the opening IAAF elite circuit meet in Qatar

Kenya's Hellen Obiri celebrates after winning the women's 3000m during the IAAF Diamond League competition on May 3, 2019 in Doha. PHOTO/AFP

  • The Olympics 5000m silver medallist, who took a dramatic victory at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships Aarhus 2019 just over a month ago, waged and ultimately won a fierce last lap battle with 1500m world record holder Genzebe Dibaba en route to an 8:25.60 triumph
  • He led until Hillary Bor took command with just over half a lap to go, which sent the far end of the stadium into a frenzy
  • Kenyans took the first seventh spots, rounded out by Manangoi’s younger brother George, the world U18 and U20 champion, who clocked 3:34.00, a personal best

DOHA, Qatar- World champion and Kenya's Hellen Obiri continued her strong racing momentum with a sensational 3000m performance to highlight track action at the Doha 2019 IAAF Diamond League meeting in the Qatari capital on Friday night.

The Olympics 5000m silver medallist, who took a dramatic victory at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships Aarhus 2019 just over a month ago, waged and ultimately won a fierce last lap battle with 1500m world record holder Genzebe Dibaba en route to an 8:25.60 triumph.

“The final lap was very tough but I've always posted a good result in the final 100 metres," said Obiri, who displayed brute strength over the final 200 metres that belies her tiny frame.

With just over a lap remaining, Obiri blasted past compatriot Gloriah Kite to take command of the race, with Dibaba shadowing in stiff pursuit.

But every time the Ethiopian managed to nudge a bit closer, Obiri managed to fight back as she eventually lead the first six finishers across the line in under 8:30. The only other time that has happened was in Doha five years ago in a race that was also won by Obiri.

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Among those in that 2014 race was Dibaba who clocked 8:26.21, a lifetime best that lasted until tonight when she crossed the line, drained, in 8:26.20. 

Lilian Kasait Rengeruk, who ran fifth and sixth for much of the race, finished strong to take third in 8:29.02.

As such, the thunder inside the temperature-controlled stadium was loudest during the middle distance races. One of the loudest roars that blasted through this district of southwest Doha came when Ethiopian Chala Beyo made a move for the lead in the steeplechase with just over 500 metres to go.

He led until Hillary Bor took command with just over half a lap to go, which sent the far end of the stadium into a frenzy.

But behind them, Soufiane El Bakkali of Morocco bided his time as he entered the final straight, first passing Beyo at the top of the stretch, and then Bor as he approached the final barrier.

He reached the finish in 8:07.22 just after blowing two kisses to the crowd, one to his left and another to his right.

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Bor clocked 8:08.40 and Beyo 8:08.61, career bests for both.

Homestretch tussle

There was fireworks too in the men’s 1500m, which again come down to a homestretch tussle between world champion Elijah Manangoi and training partner Timothy Cheruiyot, last year’s Diamond League champion. 

This time, it went in Manangoi’s favour, the lanky Kenyan taking the victory in 3:32.21 after leading for the final 400 metres. Cheruiyot was second in 3:32.47 and Bethwell Birgen third in 3:33.12.

Kenyans took the first seventh spots, rounded out by Manangoi’s younger brother George, the world U18 and U20 champion, who clocked 3:34.00, a personal best.

The men’s 800 was a thriller, another neck-and-neck homestretch war between Emmanuel Korir and Nijel Amos of Botswana. This time, Amos prevailed, pulling ahead of his Kenyan rival in the final 50 metres to take a hard-earned victory in 1:44.29.

Amos, who handed Korir his only loss of 2018 to snatch the African title, shadowed his taller rival for much of the final lap until the pair passed Qatari Abubaker Haydar Abdallah with just over 100 metres to go. As Abdallah faded, Amos made his move.

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“I was expecting the win but it was tough out there,” said the winner, who is tied with Sebastian Coe as history's third fastest man at 1:41.73. “Winning my first race of the season gives me a good feeling.”

Korir clocked 1:44.50 and Donovan Brazier of the US 1:44.70 in third.

In the women’s race, world and Olympic champion Caster Semenya pulled away from the pacesetter midway through the back straight en route to a dominant victory in 1:54.98 to smash her own meeting record.

Francine Niyonsabo of Burundi was second in nearly three seconds back in 1:57.75, with Ajee Wilson of the US third, clocking 1:58.83.

For the 10th consecutive year, Doha kicked off the IAAF Diamond League, a series of the 14 finest one-day athletics competitions on the planet, and with it, the season-long chase for a slice of the $US8 million Diamond League prize pie.

Athletes will collect points in the first 12 stops to earn qualification for the two final winner-takes-all meetings to be held in Zurich (29 Aug) and Brussels (6 Sep).

Kenya's Elijah Motonei Manangoi celebrates after winning the men's 1500m during the IAAF Diamond League competition on May 3, 2019 in Doha. PHOTO/AFP


A crowd of some 13,000 gathered at Khalifa Stadium, the venue that will host the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 in just under five months time. And they were loud too, with rival Ethiopian and Kenyan camps lining the bends at opposite ends of the track, roaring as their runners came past.

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-Report by Bob Ramsak for the IAAF