Paris, Jun 10 (IANS): On a historic night, Faith Kipyegon of Kenya and Lamecha Girma of Ethiopia set world records in the 5000m and 3000m steeplechase respectively at the Meeting de Paris, providing the standout moments at a highly memorable Wanda Diamond League meeting in the French capital.
A week after breaking the 1500m world record in Florence, Kipyegon etched her name into the record books for 5000m, winning in 14:05.20, here on Friday night.
Participating in her third-ever race at the distance, and her first 5000m outing in eight years, Kipyegon went quietly about her job as she quelled a strong challenge from world record-holder Letesenbet Gidey.
But the 29-year-old Kenyan, the world and Olympic champion showed no fear as she navigated her way through the race, passing 3000m in 8:32.1 tucked behind world record-holder Letesenbet Gidey.
Kipyegon took the lead with about 600 metres to go, but Gidey kept close contact. Kipyegon - now speeding up with each and every stride - hit the bell in 13:04.1, needing a final lap of about 62 seconds to break Gidey's record. She did exactly that, covering the last 400m in 61.1 seconds to cross the line in 14:05.20 - a 1.42-second improvement on Gidey's mark.
Gidey finished second in 14:07.94, the third-fastest time in history, the World Athletics informed in a report on Saturday.
Girma, who started his year with a world indoor record over 3000m, had requested an ambitious pace for the men's 3000m steeplechase -- one that would result in a finishing time of about 7:52. The world and Olympic silver medallist almost got a bit carried away mid-race, though, and ran well ahead of the pacing lights through the middle section of the race.
With two laps to go, the lights almost caught up with the Ethiopian -- who by now was well ahead of the rest of the field. But the sound of the bell and the reaction of the crowd seemingly gave him added impetus on the final lap as he moved clear of the lights once more.
He sped around the final lap in about 64 seconds, crossing the line in 7:52.11, taking 1.52 seconds off the world record set 19 years ago by Said Saeed Shaheen.
Jakob Ingebrigtsen had set the tone for the evening before the main programme got underway. The world and Olympic champion set a world best in the rarely-contested two miles, winning in 7:54.10.