ATHLETICS: Semenya’s 2:30.70 at ISTAF Berlin is no. 5 ever

After seeing a crowd of more than 45,500 attend the annual ISTAF Berlin meeting in the historic Olympiastadion, it’s hard to understand why this is not a Diamond League stop.

The quality of the meet was underlined during another world-record attempt by South Africa’s Caster Semenya, who moved to no. 5 on the all-time list by running away in the women’s 1,000 m in 2:30.70, the fastest time in the world in 2018.

It’s also the seventh-fastest race in history, giving Semenya two of the top-10 times in the event, as she ran 2:31.01 to win at the Rabat Diamond League in July.

The meet was also a farewell for Germany’s Robert Harting, the 2008 Olympic gold medalist and 2009-11-13 World Champion in the discus, who retired after the meet. He saved his best throw of the day for last, reaching 64.95 m (213-1) to finish second to brother Christoph, the 2016 Olympic discus champ (65.67 m/215-5).

All of the discus competitors gathered in the middle of the field at the end of the meet to honor Robert, known as “Shaggy” during his career, and a seating section in the stadium was covered with a huge banner featuring his likeness and the single word, Danke!

The meet had other highlights as well:

∙ The men’s speed events featured wins by Jamaica’s Tyquendo Tracey (10.05) in the 100 m and Orlando Ortega (ESP) won the 110 m Hurdles in 13.15. The amazing Kim Collins (SVK), the 2003 World Champion in the 100 m, finished eighth in the 100 m in 10.45 and confirmed that he is retiring. At age 42, he ran 10.37 this season.

Kenya’s Timothy Cheruiyot proved once again he is the top 1,500 m in the world, winning in 3:32.37 in a very competitive race with Ferguson Rotich (KEN), who scored a lifetime best in 3:33.21.

∙ In the women’s 100 m, Marie-Josee Ta Lou (CIV) rebounded from her Diamond League loss with an 11.08 win over Michelle Ahye (TTO: 11.13). Portugal’s Marta Pen Freitas won the mile in 4:22.45, a national record, ahead of American Kate Grace (4:23.23), with Alexa Efraimson of the U.S. fourth in a lifetime best of 4:24.82, moving her to no. 11 on the all-time U.S. list.

∙ In what has already been a fabulous year for America’s women steeplechasers, Colleen Quigley took the lead with three laps to go and ran away from Kenya’s Daisy Jepkemei down the back straight to win in a huge personal best of 9:10.27 (from 9:15.97!). That places her no. 3 on the all-time American list, with the 12th-fastest performance ever.

Look for the complete results here. The IAAF’s World Challenge series for 2018 will conclude with the IWC Zagreb on Monday and Tuesday.

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