The world record hunt of Saif Saaeed Shaheen in the 3,000 m steeplechase ended with a fall in the water jump. But at first the women’s 3,000 m were held at the TDK Golden-League-Meeting in Zurich. Among the participants were Berhane Adere (Ethiopia), second in the 10,000 m at the World Championships, and the 20 year-old Ethiopian Maryam Jamal, who now runs for Bahrain. From the beginning the favourites took the lead. Maryam Jamal and Berhane Adere passed the 1,000 m mark in 2:50,94 minutes, followed by Isabella Ochichi from Kenya and Bouchra Ghezielle (France).
In the last lap Maryam Jamal took the lead and got away from Berhane Adere. She couldn’t follow and had to let her go. Jamal won in 8:29.45 minutes and just missed her own world leading time of the year. “The wind was kind of strong and therefore I am happy with that time,” said the winner. Meanwhile it had started raining heavily. Adere finished second in 8:31.89 minutes, and Isabelle
Ochichi was third (8:34.51).
At the men’s 1500 m the Kenyan Daniel Komen Kipchirchir won after a thrilling duel with the 10 year older former countrymen Bernard Lagat (USA). Komen clocked 3:30.49 minutes. The ‘new’ US-American was second in 3:31,04 ahead of the other, white American Alan Webb (3:33.40). At the World Championships in Helsinki Webb had finished only ninth, but here the 22 year-old showed that you have will have to watch him. Daniel Komen Kipchirchir, who had failed already in the heats in Helsinki, said: „I would have loved to have had this result in Helsinki, but I was blocked by another runner in the race. So Zurich were my World Championchips.” The 20 year-old predicts a great future for himself. „In the coming years I want to break the world record and become Olympic Champion,” said a self-confident Daniel Komen Kipchirchir.
The men’s 3,000 m steeplechase featured a high-class field. World Champion Saif Saaeed Shaheen was facing the silver medal winner of the World Championships, Ezekiel Kemboi, and the bronze medal winner Brimin Kipruto (both Kenya). Shaheen was a Kenyan himself and his name was Stephen Cherono, before he transferred to Qatar. The sky over Zurich had become dark in the meantime and it poured down as in Helsinki. Since 2002 Shaheen had not lost a steeplechase race. His 2,000 m split of 5:18.79 showed that he intended to break his own world record.
But in the end it went all wrong – ahead of Paul Koech and Brimin Kipruto he came to the last water jump … and fell into it. But he was able to get up and still won. At the end he had a lead of eight seconds (8:02.69 minutes). Second was Brimin Kipruto (8:10.69) and third was Paul Koech with 8:11.79 minutes. „I wanted to break the world record, but it started raining and I thought it would be quite difficult to do so. But before the last water jump I thought I could make it. I don’t know what happened. I have no idea why I fell – I just don’t know. I will try it in Brussels again,“ said Saif Saaeed Shaheen.
Kenenisa Bekele showed another convincing performance at the 3,000 m. Right from the start he dominated the pace and was in the lead relatively early. He finally finished more than five seconds ahead with 7:32.59 minutes. Behind him it was getting much closer. Four other runners, the Australian Craig Mottram and Benjamin Limo (Kenya) among them, fought for second and third. The Algerian Ali Saidi-Sief finally took second in 7:37.56 minutes and Craig Mottram was third (7:38.03).
The 800 m B-Race was won by the Spaniard Antonio Reina in 1:44.32. Second with a new personal best was Mouhssin Chehibi (Morocco) with 1:44.46 minutes. The A-Race was slower and ended with a photo finish. Wilfred Bungei won with 1:44.87 ahead of the Canadian Gary Reed (1:44,88) and Kenyan William Yiampoy (1:44.90).
In the women’s 800 m Maria Mutola was once again beaten by younger runners. World Champion Zulia Calatayud from Cuba won with 1:59.16 minutes. Second was Hasna Benhassi from Morocco (1:59.18) while Russian Svetlana Cherkasova (1:59.93) took third.