The men’s 5,000m in Brussels will go down as one of the greatest in world history, which is a sentence that seemed all but impossible to write ahead of Friday’s spectacular race.
Not a single man had broken 13:00 in 2018 entering the Brussels Diamond League finale, but when the dust had settled on a thrilling 12 and a half laps in Belgium— won by 18-year-old Ethiopian Selemon Barega in a world junior record and No. 4 All-Time 12:43.02— eight men had broken 13:00 and three men moved into the top seven all-time in the event.
The winning time was the fastest 5,000m since Kenenisa Bekele ran 12:40 in 2005. For a season that was shaping up to be one to forget in the event, the field in Brussels made sure that 2018 will never be forgotten due to one of the greatest spectacles the 5,000m has ever seen.
Behind Barega’s winning 12:43.02, his Ethiopian countrymen Hagos Gebrhiwet and Yomif Kejelcha were relegated to second and third place, but their respective 12:45.82 and 12:46.79 performances make them the fifth and seventh best performers in history. Friday's Brussels race is the first 5,000m ever to produce three sub-12:47 times.
Barega’s 12:43.02 has several ramifications for the event going forward. Not only did it smash Hagos Gebrhiwet’s previous world junior record of 12:47.53 from Paris in 2012, but it also seemingly puts Kenenisa Bekele’s 12:37.35 world record within reach for Barega in the coming seasons.
The teen’s last kilometer was estimated at 2:27, with his final two laps clocked at around 1:56.
Updated 5,000m List All-Time After Brussels
Kenenisa Bekele (ETH)
Haile Gebrselassie (ETH)
Daniel Komen (KEN)
Selemon Barega (ETH)
Hagos Gebrhiwet (ETH)
Eliud Kipchoge (KEN)
Yomif Kejelcha (ETH)
The race was a scorcher from the gun, as the pacer took the field through 1k in 2:31.66. But it wasn’t until Kejelcha split 7:44.56 at 3000m that the record books were truly put on notice. Another kilometer just over 2:30 as the top group hit 4000m in 10:15 showed that this was for real— Kejelcha, Gebrhiwet, and Barega were hammering with the finish line still two and a half laps away, and with the trio well ahead of the rest of the field by this point. The Ethiopians were steadily clicking off a breakneck pace of right around 60 seconds per lap.
The three men were still together as they hit the bell, with Kejelcha holding the lead until Barega stormed past him with 200m to go. Barega’s move would prove to be definitive, as he continued to accelerate all the way to the line while Kejelcha struggled and was ultimately passed by Gebrhiwet in the last 50m.
Barega celebrated his momentous victory with a reactionary dance with his arms that seemed totally fitting for a performance that took nearly everyone by surprise. The 18-year-old had just cemented himself as one of the fastest men in 5,000m history, who can blame him for a little shoddy showmanship?
The top five spots belonged entirely to Ethiopia, as 2017 World champion Muktar Edris was fourth in 12:55.18 and Abadi Hadis fifth in 12:56.27.
Behind the Ethiopian party, American Paul Chelimo had a great day of his own even though he finished well back in sixth. Chelimo’s 12:57.55 is his first sub-13:00 performance ever, and the fourth-fastest in American history. Kenya’s Richard Yator and Ethiopia’s Getaneh Molla also cracked 13 minutes, with Yator seventh in 12:59.44 and Molla eighth in 12:59.58.
Christian Coleman Crushes Men's 100m In 9.79, #7 All-Time
Christian Coleman was in the midst of a so-so outdoor season upon his arrival to the Diamond League finale in Brussels, as injuries had limited the sprint superstar to just a 9.94 season’s best ahead of the 100m in Belgium. Fortunately for Coleman, things can sure change fast in the 100m.
The American stunned the sprinting world on Friday by scorching a 9.79 PR to utterly dominate the field, matching the No. 7 time in world history. The 22-year-old was just 10th on the world list in 2018 entering the competition, but after his sparkling time on Friday, Coleman became the third-fastest in U.S. history behind only Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin, and tied with Maurice Greene.
Coleman’s time is the fastest in the world since 2015.
Christian Coleman 9.79 ‼️ Seventh fastest in world history ‼️ pic.twitter.com/YQXWPXHHMy— FloTrack (@FloTrack) August 31, 2018
The scintillating result was set in motion by a fantastic start from Coleman, as he shot out of the blocks like someone befitting of his status as the 60m world record holder. So strong was his response to the gun that it was clear who was going to win almost immediately after the field stood up from the drive phase. Here's the race:
This is what it looks like to be one of the fastest men in the history of the worldpic.twitter.com/C2zRnQ0Y9X— FloTrack (@FloTrack) August 31, 2018
Ronnie Baker— Coleman’s chief American rival this season and a man who had beaten him twice this outdoor season— tried mightily to rally from a tremendous deficit, but could only muster a 9.93 runner-up finish. This was Coleman’s day, and the losses he suffered earlier this season to Baker have been all but forgotten after such a brilliant run.
While the time is certainly surprising based on what he had run previously this season, Coleman running under 9.80 was never a matter of if, but when he would do it. Not only did he break the collegiate record with his 9.82 in the 2017 NCAA final, but Coleman also destroyed the previous world record in the men’s 60m with his 6.34 in 2018.
9.7 was going to happen for Coleman eventually, but to do so in a year without an outdoor global championship and with a previous season’s best of 9.94 is simply unbelievable.
Complete Results of the Brussels Men’s 100m
Christian Coleman (USA)
Ronnie Baker (USA)
Yohan Blake (JAM)
Reece Prescod (GBR)
Akani Simbine (RSA)
Michael Rodgers (USA)
Chijindu Ujah (GBR)
Isiah Young (USA)
Laura Muir Ends Shelby Houlihan's Undefeated Outdoor Season, Wins Second Diamond League Title
With the way Shelby Houlihan’s incredible outdoor season had gone thus far— undefeated in each of her races and a 14:34 5k American record in July— a victory in the 1,500m Diamond League finale seemed to be taking shape.
She had, after all, beaten every major player in the field in 2018 and done so with a lethal finishing kick each time. But on Friday, Laura Muir ended Houlihan’s perfect outdoor season by holding off the American’s furious finish in the last 100m. The Brit made her signature aggressive move in the last lap before winning in 3:58.49, using every ounce of remaining energy she had to keep Houlihan at bay in the home stretch. Her 60-second last lap was just good enough to thwart Houlihan’s comeback attempt as Muir collected her second career Diamond League crown. She also won in 2016.
The U.S. champion Houlihan was second in 3:58.94, with the Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan— who took second in the Zurich Diamond League 5,000m just yesterday— third in 3:59.41.
Along with Muir and Hassan, Jenny Simpson was the other former Diamond League champion in the race. Simpson struggled in this one, however, as she ultimately placed 10th in 4:04.57.
Steeple World Record Holder Chepkoech Runs Another Top-Five Mark, Coburn Gets Revenge On Frerichs
With her jaw-dropping world record of 8:44.32 from Monaco on July 20 establishing Beatrice Chepkoech’s standard for excellence in the women’s steeplechase, her 8:55.10 victory on Friday in Brussels felt dull by comparison.
But in reality, her win in the Diamond League final was anything but; the time was good for a Brussels meet record and the No. 3 overall performance in world history.
Fellow Kenyans Norah Jeruto and Hyvin Kiyeng finished second and third, respectively, in 8:59.62 and 9:01.60.
While Chepkoech’s first place finish was pretty much preordained, American fans were watching with anticipation to see who would come out on top between American record holder Courtney Frerichs and 2017 World champion Emma Coburn. The last time they raced, Frerichs beat her counterpart for the first time ever in Monaco while breaking Coburn’s U.S. record in 9:00.85. On Friday, however, it was Coburn's turn to return the favor in Brussels.
Neither woman was at her best in the Diamond League final, but Coburn separated from Frerichs in the final kilometer en route to a 9:06.51 fourth place finish to improve her career record against Frerichs to 12-1. The American record holder wasn’t too far behind in seventh in 9:07.07.
Coburn's training partner, Jamaica's Aisha Praught, broke her own national record with a 9:14.09 eighth-place finish.
Sergey Shubenkov Ends Spectacular 2018 With Fourth Sub-13.00; McNeal Beats Harrison In 100mH
Other than a hiccup at the European Championships and a few early season losses, it’s been a dominant 2018 season for Russian hurdler Sergey Shubenkov, who won his second straight Diamond League title in the 110m hurdles on Friday in 12.97. His time was his fourth sub-13.00 performance this season, and he now owns the six-fastest marks in the event in 2018.
Shubenkov is the only man to break 13.00 in 2018, with his 12.92 PR from July 2 standing as the top time in the world.
The 27-year-old avenged his loss to France's Pascal Martinot-Lagarde from Euros with the victory in the Diamond League final. The Frenchman was fourth in Brussels in 13.36.
Spain's Orlando Ortega was second on Friday in 13.10.
In the women’s 100m hurdles, Olympic gold medalist Brianna McNeal took down her American rival and World record holder Keni Harrison at the line, 12.61 to 12.63.
Bahrain’s Naser Dominates Without Miller-Uibo In Women’s 400m
Without reigning Diamond League champion and world leader Shaunae Miller-Uibo in the field, Bahraini 20-year-old Salwa Eid Naser dominated the women’s 400m as she has done for most of 2018.
Naser’s winning time of 49.33 was the second-fastest of her career, eclipsed only by the 49.08 she ran in Monaco to place runner-up behind Miller-Uibo. Her victory on Friday was her sixth Diamond League win of the season.
2017 World champion Phyllis Francis finished a distant second on Friday in 50.51, leading a trio of Americans who placed 2-3-4. 2018 U.S. champion Shakima Wimbley was third in 50.77, with Jaide Stepter fourth in 51.17.
In other action…
- Olympic gold medalist Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas won her second consecutive Diamond League crown in the women’s 200m in 22.12. Americans Jenna Prandini and Gabby Thomas finished fifth and sixth in 22.96 and 23.18, respectively.
- Kenyan Emmanuel Korir capped off an undefeated Diamond League season in the men’s 800m by winning in a pedestrian 1:44.72. U.S. champion Clayton Murphy was fifth in 1:45.97.
- Sandra Perkovic, the two-time Olympic gold medalist in the discus from Croatia, lost for the first time all season, with her third place finish marking her first placing outside of the top two in a competition since 2014. Cuba’s Yaimé Pérez won the event with a 65.00m throw, with Brazil’s Andressa de Morais finishing runner-up.