David Rudisha Fades in Strange 800m Race: Shanghai Diamond League Recap

The Shanghai Diamond League provided more scorching times and grand statements for us to analyze in this Olympic year. So let's do that... 

Strange Men’s 800m Race Sees Rudisha Lose, Nick Symmonds Run 1:48


In what should have been a sub 1:45 race, Ferguson Rotich grabbed the victory in the men’s 800m in 1:45.68. There was confusion at the start, and according to pacemaker Bram Som there were field athletes on the track at the start, so some of the field thought they would be delayed in the race.

“There were high jumpers and javelin throwers on the track and I held my hand up for the starter to stop the race,” Som told the IAAF. “He did but then the race started. I was waiting for a recall but it never came and I was 30m behind the field.”

The start did not set well with World record-holder Rudisha, who was gunning for a sub 1:45 mark. He finished sixth in 1:46.24.

“I’m so upset! I lost 2 seconds because of the start,” Rudisha told the IAAF. “There were high jumpers in the lane and they start…” 

Watch the race below for yourself. 

Americans Erik Sowinski and notably Nick Symmonds, in his first Diamond League sine 2013, faded to 1:47.22 and 1:48.39. Those times pale in comparison to some of the marks NCAA athletes have been running this season, but mind you this was Symmonds first race since 2015 and Sowinski is coming off an indoor season where he earned a medal in Portland. I wouldn’t worry about Symmonds… yet.


In a Dibaba-less Field, Faith Kipyegon Shows Excellent Form in Women’s 1500m 


Genzebe Dibaba wasn’t present. Neither was World Indoor Champion Sifan Hassan. But that didn’t matter in Shanghai as Kenyan Faith Kipyegon stole the show to set a new National record and win in 3:56.82. Kipyegon closed brilliantly in 43.5 over the last 300m.

With Dibaba and Hassan pulling out of Shanghai with early season setbacks, Kipyegon’s performance puts her in the conversation for Rio. (Although it’s still not certain if Dibaba will contest the 1500m. She says 5k. I’m not buying it.) She was the World Indoor silver medalist, so keep on eye on Kipyegon throughout the season.

Jenny Simpson had an unimpressive European season debut to finish sixth in 4:04. She did not compete during the indoor season, so we imagine this is still a lot of rust busting, but a tactical error (not closing the gap when Kipyegon was leading four others away from the field) may have cost her a faster time.

Hyvin Kiyeng Runs Sixth Fastest Steeplechase All Time


The women’s steeplechase did not disappoint as World Champion Hyvin Kiyeng won in a glorious 9:07.42, the #6 mark all-time. For Kiyeng, this was a huge statement. In 2015 she opened her season with a third place showing in Doha in 9:22 and only won one Diamond League meeting all season. She closed out the year a World Champion with a 9:10 PB. 

Does any of that matter now that she just shaved three second off her PB and 15 seconds off her 2015 debut? Partial creedit must go to Ruth Jebet who led for most of the race. As they hit the bell, Kiyeng had been closing the gap and eventually passed her with about 300m to go. With 80m to go Kiyeng had won, but Jibet took a solo tumble to the ground that cost her a few seconds. She still managed to run 9:15.98, a five second PB, for second.


Sam Kendricks Becomes First American Man to Win Diamond League Pole Vault


U.S. Indoor Champion and World silver medalist Sam Kendricks became the first U.S. man to win the pole vault at a Diamond League with a new PB leap of 5.88m. He took down Olympic and World Champions Renaud Lavillenie and Shawn Barber in the process.

Kendricks remained flawless through his first four heights and the announcers took notice, commenting on how confident he looked on the runway. He recorded seven misses in the entire competition but he was the only competitor to clear 5.88m in Shanghai.


Justin Gatlin Wins 100m Race in 9.94, Looks in Good Form After Ankle Injury


Justin Gatlin blew away the competition in the men's 100m race, finishing in 9.94 with virtually no wind. The announcers referenced an ankle injury that kept him away during the winter season, but Gatlin showed no signs while he dusted the field as the only sub 10 finisher. "There's only one man who can beat him, and he 's not here," and boy are they right. Usain Bolt will be opening his season at the Cayman Invite this weekend and we love a good rivalry.

"I came out here to execute and I know being an Olympic year, it is a long season and my coach and I have a plan," Gatlin told the IAAF. "He is training me like Mike Tyson to knock out the opposition and keep swinging! The ankle injury over the winter made it difficult preparation, but Diamond League races are important to win."


Omar McLeod Continues Dream Season with 12.98 Hurdle Victory


Fresh out of Arkansas, Omar McLeod is handling his first full Diamond League circuit like a seasoned veteran. He won today in 12.98 after two detrimental false starts by Orlando Ortega and Aries Merritt. Having to execute a perfect start after those mishaps can be mentally exhausting, but McLeod showed no signs of faltering. He’s two-for-two in Diamond League victories and the first man under 13 seconds this outdoor season. Oh, and he’s only 22.

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