Sekgodiso clocks world 800m lead in Marrakesh

Sekgodiso clocks world 800m lead in Marrakesh
Fecha de publicación: 
21 May 2024
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South Africa’s Prudence Sekgodiso achieved her first ever victory in a Wanda Diamond League meeting, winning the 800m at the Meeting International Mohammed VI d’Athlétisme in Marrakesh in a world-leading 1:57.26 on Sunday (19).

There were also meeting records for Chase Jackson in the women’s shot put and Lazaro Martinez in the men’s triple jump, while home favourite Soufiane El Bakkali once again delivered in the steeplechase.

Sekgodiso had been undefeated so far this year on home turf, but this was the 22-year-old’s first international race of the season and she duly raised her game. Olympic finalist Habitam Alemu of Ethiopia led through the first lap in 57.07, but Sekgodiso timed her finish to perfection to emerge victorious with her second PB of the year, taking 0.79 off the mark she set in Pretoria in March.

Alemu was second in 1:57.70 and Noelie Yarigo was further back in third in 1:59.96.

In the final race of the night, El Bakkali ensured the fans in the stadium went home happy as he triumphed in the steeplechase.

The Moroccan was contesting his first steeplechase of the season and was up against talented Ethiopian duo Getnet Wale and Samuel Firewu, as well as Kenya’s Amos Serem. After an opening kilometre of 2:42.62 from the pacemaker, Wale took up the running and led through 2000m in 5:30.66.

He ended up as El Bakkali’s toughest challenger in the closing stages, but the world and Olympic champion crossed the line first in 8:09.40 to maintain his winning streak. Wale was a close second in 8:09.78 with Serem a further second back in third.

There was an even closer finish in the women’s 5000m. A breakaway pack of five women – comprising Kenya’s Edinah Jebitok and Ethiopia’s Medina Eisa, Fotyen Tesfay, Melknat Wudu and Likina Amebaw – emerged in the closing stages. That was reduced to three on the final lap as Tesfay, Eisa and Jebitok started to sprint for the line.

Just when it looked as though Tesfay was going to hold on, her compatriot Eisa came charging through to take the win by 0.05 in 14:34.16. Tesfay was at least rewarded with a PB, as was Jebitok (14:35.64).

Shortly before the Ethiopian 1-2 in the 5000m, there was a Kenyan 1-2 in the men’s 800m.

The consistent Emmanuel Wanyonyi, still just 19 years of age, held off a strong challenge from compatriot Wyclife Kinyamal to win in 1:43.84. Kinyamal followed in 1:43.98 while France’s Yanis Meziane was third (1:44.13).

France’s Azeddine Habz stole a march on a competitive 1500m field to run away with victory in 3:32.86. Contesting his first outdoor race of 2024, the European indoor bronze medallist positioned himself near the front of the pack from the outset while Ethiopia’s Lamecha Girma initially stayed towards the back of the field.

Girma, along with British duo Elliot Giles and George Mills, moved up through the field with a lap to go, but Habz had already started his long run for home by then and could not be caught. He finished 0.61 ahead of Mills, who just caught Giles on the line. Girma was fourth in 3:33.54.

National and meeting records fall on the field

Serbian teenager Angelina Topic notched up her second high jump victory in this year’s Wanda Diamond League, this time with a national record.

Nine days after winning in Doha with 1.94m, the European bronze medallist dominated the competition, winning with a first-time clearance at 1.95m and then going on to clear a Serbian record of 1.98m on her third try. Germany’s Christina Honsel was second with 1.91m.

Chase Jackson broke a 10-year-old meeting record in the shot put with a second-round heave of 20.00m, adding 31 centimetres to Valerie Adams’ mark from 2014. The two-time world champion took an early lead with 19.62m, then threw her winning mark in the next round. Germany’s world indoor silver medallist Yemisi Ogunleye was her closest challenger, throwing 19.40m.

Recent world record-breaker Mykolas Alekna racked up his third consecutive competition beyond 70 metres in the discus. The Lithuanian fouled his first attempt but then took the lead in round two with 69.94m. He then unleashed a 70.70m throw in round four – just eight centimetres shy of the meeting record – to extend his lead over Australia’s Matt Denny (67.74m). World and Olympic champion Daniel Stahl was third with 67.49m.

The meeting record – admittedly one of the more vulnerable ones in the books – fell with the first attempt in the men’s triple jump. Olympic champion Pedro Pichardo bounded out to 16.76m in round one to break a 10-year-old meeting record of 16.62m that had stood to Nelson Evora. Cuba’s 2022 world indoor champion Lazaro Martinez then exceeded it with 17.10m in round three, which remained the best mark of the day.

Elsewhere, Switzerland’s Angelica Moser won the women’s pole vault with 4.73m as Italy’s Roberta Bruni placed second with 4.65m.

Doom strikes at 400m

World indoor champion Alexander Doom opened his individual outdoor campaign, and the Belgian clearly picked up where he left off from the indoor season.

Nigeria’s Emmanuel Bamidele got off to a strong start and led at half way, but Doom, Muzala Samukonga and Bayapo Ndori were all close behind on the final bend. As they came into the home straight, Bamidele’s challenge started to fade, while the other three forged ahead.

Just as he had done at the World Indoor Championships over 400m and in the 4x400m, Doom timed his finish well to claim victory in a PB of 44.51, which puts him second on the Belgian all-time list in between Jonathan (44.43) and Kevin Borlee (44.56).

Samukonga was second in a season’s best of 44.54 and Ndori took third (44.59).

Two-time world champion Shericka Jackson made her long-awaited 200m season debut and emerged with a victory – but only just.

Jackson, the second-fastest woman of all time, crossed the line in first place in 22.82 (-1.0m/s) but instead of pulling away from the field to win by a clear distance, as she often does, the Jamaican appeared to be fighting for victory all the way. Maboundou Kone of the Ivory Coast was second in 22.96.

Cameroon’s Emmanuel Eseme got the better of Olympic 200m champion Andre de Grasse in the men’s 100m, winning in 10.11 (-0.8m/s) to the Canadian’s 10.19.

World bronze medallist Rushell Clayton led a Jamaican 1-2 in the women’s 400m hurdles, winning in 53.98 from compatriot Shiann Salmon, who clocked a season’s best of 54.27.

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