ATHLETICS: Sprinters Asher-Smith and Norman hot in cold Stockholm, but Kipruto runs 26:50.16 off-camera!

Kenya's 2018 World Junior Champion in the 10,000 m, Rhonex Kipruto (Photo: Erik van Leeuwen via Wikimedia Commons)

It wasn’t the easiest meet to warm up to, but even with temperatures in the mid-50s, it was the sprint events that shone brightest at the Bauhaus Galen in Stockholm’s Olympic Stadium in the third Diamond League meet of the year.

That’s what you would think if you only watched the Diamond League television show, which ended after the men’s 400 m hurdles. But then there was the men’s 10,000 m and that turned out to be the most special race of the day.

Kenya’s Rhonex Kipruto, the 2018 World Junior Champion (and still 19), took over at the halfway mark (13:28.65) and then took off, running all alone to a stunning world-leading mark of 26:50.16, moving him to no. 20 all-time! He won by almost 11 seconds over Hagos Gebrhiwet (ETH: 27:01.12) and ran the last lap in 60.12! He ran the final half of the race in 13:21.51! Wow!

Nine men ran under 28 minutes and Americans Paul Chelimo (5th: 27:43.89) and Kirubel Erassa (27:52.75) both shattered their lifetime bests.

The first Diamond League running event of the day had been the top men’s event, with American Michael Norman beating countryman Rai Benjamin, 44.53-45.13, with a strong final straightaway where he pulled away and won decisively.

It was the equal-fifth fastest time in the world for 2019 and only Benjamin and American Stewart Trevor have run faster, but Norman was not happy.

“Today was challenging, both mentally and physically, and there’s a lot of things I need to work on. I’m not particular/y satisfied with my race. I need to work on the second part of the race still, and I’ll re-adjust and re-evaluate as I go.”

Benjamin, who runs the 400 m to support his racing in the 400 m hurdles, was more upbeat: “It was cold out there, the wind hit me in the face coming down the back straight, it was real tough. It was pretty even until Michael went away from me at around 350 m. Considering the conditions I´m pleased with my time. I´m just happy that I´m healthy.”

There were a total of three world-leading marks, with Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith‘s win in the 200 m (22.18) the most impressive for the women. She ran brilliantly around the turn, then flew down the straight to pull away from two-time World Champion Dafne Schippers (NED), who was passed in the final meters by Jamaica’s Rio sprint champ Elaine Thompson, 22.66-22.78.

“I was very happy to win, but I didn’t expect to run that kind of time as it is quite cold out and late at night,” Asher-Smith said afterwards. “I am glad it stopped raining. During the day, I tried to sleep, I chatted to my friends and listened to music; anything to not over exert myself!”

The other world leader was the women’s 5,000 m, which changed dramatically with 1,200 m to go when favored Hellen Obiri tripped and fell way back after being jostled in a tightly-packed bunch near the front of the race. Kenya’s Agnes Kirop ran away down the final straight and won in 14:50.82.

Other highlights:

● The hoped-for showdown between Kenya’s Manangoi brothers (Elijah and George) and Norway’s Ingebrigtsens (Jakob and Henrik) in the men’s 1,500 m came to nothing as Kenya’s Tim Cheruiyot took control of the race in the final 300 m and surged to a high-quality win in 3:35.79, with Jakob Ingebrigtsen third in a photo finish with Ayanleh Souleiman (DJI).

● Norway’s Karsten Warholm – the reigning World Champion – opened his 400 m hurdles season at 47.85, breaking away from T.J. Holmes of the U.S. down the final straight. The time moves Warholm to no. 3 on the world list behind Qatar’s Abderrahmane Samba (47.27) and Benjamin (47.80).

● Sweden’s Daniel Stahl thrilled the crowd with a win at 69.57 m (228-3) in the discus, but the biggest roar came from a fifth-round throw that landed at about 73 m (239-6), but he couldn’t stay in the ring and the throw was marked foul.

Keni Harrison broke away from U.S. teammate Sharika Nelvis in the final half of the women’s 100 m hurdles, winning in 12.52, the second-fastest race of the year behind only her own world-leading 12.47. Quite impressive; Nelvis ran a season-best 12.69 for second.

What was not impressive was the weather and what it did to the crowd. The Olympic Stadium, built for the 1912 Games, has a listed capacity of 14,417 for track and football and with temperatures from 53-55 F during the meet – plus winds of up to 16 miles an hour (7.1 m/s) – there were maybe 8-9,000 to see the meet. There was a lot of hype for this meet, but too few spectators in a country which appreciates track & field. Let’s hope for better in Rome (ITA) next week.

There was rain during the early field events and this impacted performances substantially. Croatia’s Sandra Perkovic was only fifth in the women’s discus (63.71 m/209-0) and the much-promoted men’s long jump was won by Swede Thobais Montler, who got a lifetime best of 8.22 m (26-7 3/4). Cuba’s Juan Miguel Echevarria jumped poorly but managed to get out to 8.12 m (26-7 3/4) in the final round for second, ahead of Jeff Henderson of the U.S. in third (8.09 m/26-6 1/2).

But the conditions were perfect for Kipruto. Summaries:

IAAF Diamond League/Bauhaus Galan
Stockholm (SWE) ~ 30 June 2019
(Full results here)


200 m (wind +1.0 m/s): 1. Aaron Brown (CAN), 20.06; 2. Ramil Guliyev (TUR), 20.40; 3. Jereem Richards (TTO), 20.45.

400 m: 1. Michael Norman (USA), 44.53; 2. Rai Benjamin (USA), 45.13; 3. Michael Cherry (USA), 46.30. Also: 4. Vernon Norwood (USA), 46.39; … 6. Nathan Strother (USA), 46.64.

800 m (non-Diamond League): 1. Amel Tuka (BIH), 1:46.08; 2. Ryan Sanchez (PUR), 1:46.77; 3. Marcin Lewandowski (POL), 1:46.79. Also: 5. Erik Sowinski (USA), 1:47.24.

1,500 m: 1. Timothy Cheruiyot (KEN), 3:35.79; 2. Ayenleh Souleiman (DJI), 3:37.30; 3. Jakob Ingebrigtsen (NOR), 3:37.30.

10,000 m (non-Diamond League): 1. Rhonex Kipruto (KEN), 26:50.16; 2. Hagos Gebrhiwet (ETH), 27:01.02; 3. Aron Kifle (ERI), 27:27:27.68. Also: 5. Paul Chelimo (USA), 27:43.89; … 8. Kirubel Erassa (USA), 27:52.75; … 14. Shadrack Kipchirchir (USA), 28:21.26; 15. Leonard Korir (USA), 28:23.00.

400 m hurdles: 1. Karsten Warholm (NOR), 47.85; 2. T.J. Holmes (USA), 49.25; 3. Thomas Barr (IRL), 50.28. Also: 5. Kenny Selmon (USA), 51.15.

Pole Vault: 1. Sam Kendricks (USA), 5.72 m (18-9 1/4); 2. Piotr Lisek (POL), 5.60 m (18-6 1/2); 3. Seito Yamamoto (JPN), 5.48 m (17-11 3/4).

Long Jump: 1. Thobais Montler (SWE), 8.22 m (26-7 3/4); 2. Juan Miguel Echevarria (CUB), 8.12 mw (26-7 3/4w); 3. Jeff Henderson (USA), 8.09 m (26-6 1/2).

Shot Put (non-Diamond League): 1. Wiktor Petersson (SWE), 20.11 m (65-11 3/4); 2. Maksim Afonin (RUS), 19.78 (64-10 3/4); 3. Joe Kovacs (USA), 19.77 m (64-10 1/2).

Discus: 1. Daniel Stahl (SWE), 69.57 m (228-3); 2. Fedrik Dacres (JAM), 68.96 m (226-3); 3. Lukas Weisshaidinger (AUT), 66.97 m (219-8). Also: 7. Mason Finley (USA), 62.16 m (203-11).


200 m (+1.3): 1. Dina Asher-Smith (GBR), 22.18; 2. Elaine Thompson (JAM), 22.66; 3. Dafne Schippers (NED), 22.78. Also: 5. Jenna Prandini (USA), 23.09.

800 m: 1. Ajee Wilson (USA), 2:00.87; 2. Habitam Alemu (ETH), 2:01.26; 3. Nelly Jepkosgei (KEN), 2:01.98. Also: 4. Raevyn Rogers (USA), 2:02.35.

1,500 m (non-Diamond League): 1. Laura Muir (GBR), 4:05.37; 2. Malika Akkaoui (MAR), 4:09.70; 3. Yolanda Ngarambe (SWE), 4:10.05. Also: 9. Katie Mackey (USA), 4:14.19.

5,000 m: 1. Agnes Tirop (KEN), 14:50.82; 2. Fantu Worku (ETH), 14:51.31; 3. Lilian Rengeruk (KEN), 14:51.34.

100 m hurdles (+1.3): 1. Keni Harrison (USA), 12.52; 2. Sharika Nelvis (USA), 12.69; 3. Tobi Amusan (NGR), 12.85 m.

High Jump: 1. Mariya Lasitskene (RUS), 1.92 m (6-3 1/2); 2. Yuliya Levchenko (UKR), 1.90 m (6-2 3/4); 3. Erika Kinsey (SWE), 1.90 m (6-2 3/4).

Pole Vault (non-Diamond League): 1. Angelica Bengtsson (SWE), 4.57 m (15-0); 2. Michaela Meijer (SWE), 4.47 m (14-8); 3. Olga Mullina (RUS), 4.35 m (14-3 1/4).

Shot Put (non-Diamond League): 1. Aliona Dubitskaya (BLR), 18.49 m (60-8); 2. Fanny Roos (SWE), 18.36 m (60-3); 3. Brittany Crew (CAN), 18.28 m (59-11 3/4).

Discus: 1. Denia Caballero (CUB), 65.10 m (213-7); 2. Yaime Perez (CUB), 65.09 m (213-6); 3. Yang Chen (CHN), 64.25 m (210-9). Also: 6. Valarie Allman (USA), 63.45 m (208-2).