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Distance Athletes Shine in Brussels - rrw

Published by
Matt   on Sep 17 2011, 07:36 PM

DISTANCE ATHLETES SHINE IN BRUSSELS
***USA 10,000m Record for Rupp***
By David Monti
(c) 2011 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

(17-Sep) -- Middle and long distance athletes shined in last night's Belgacom Memorial Ivo Van Damme meeting at King Baudouin stadium in Brussels, the 14th and final stop of the 2011 Samsung Diamond League.

Newly crowned world 800m champion David Rudisha also added his second consecutive Diamond League title to his season's accomplishments, winning his 34th consecutive two-lap race in 1:43.96 over Ethiopian teenager Mohammed Aman.  Rudisha has not lost at 800m since August, 2009, when he failed to advance out of the semi-finals at the IAAF World Championships in Berlin.

American Morgan Uceny, who fell in the 1500m final of the IAAF World Championships in Daegu with fewer than 200 meters to go, won her first Diamond League title by winning the 1500m in Brussels in a world-leading 4:00.06, which was also a career best.  Behind her was Moroccan Meriem Alaoui Selsouli, running in only her second race since returning from a two-year doping suspension.  World champion Jenny Simpson finished 13th in a race which saw 14 women break 4:04. 

"Of course this is a sweet revenge for what happened in Daegu," Uceny told the IAAF.  "I wanted to show I had to be among the best at those worlds. And I did it tonight with a personal best. Next year at the Olympics, one of the medals will be for me!"

Uceny will wrap up her season next Saturday at the Fifth Avenue Mile in New York City.

Ethiopia's Imane Merga won his second consecutive Diamond Race in the 5000m by getting a narrow victory over Kenya's Thomas Longosiwa, 12:58.32 to 12:58.70.  Irishman Alistair Cragg set a national record in fifth place in 13:03.53.  The Diamond League title --which carries a USD 40,000 prize-- was particularly important to Merga because he was disqualified at the World Championships for stepping in the infield after finishing third.

While Yuliya Zaripova of Russia and Habiba Ghribi of Tunisia repeated their 1-2 finish of the World Championships in the women's steeplechase, clocking 9:15.43 and 9:16.57, respectively.  Kenya's Milcah Chemos Cheywa locked up the Diamond Race win by finishing fifth in 9:21.41.  Like Merga, Chemos earned her second consecutive Diamond League title.

Finally, although the men's 10,000m was not part of the Diamond League points chase, the event did generate much of the meet's excitement.  Kenenisa Bekele, running in only his second race of the year after dropping out of 10,000m at the World Championships, showed some of his medal-winning form with a 26:43.16 victory, a world leader.  Close behind him, Kenya's Lucas Kimeli Rotich, the 2011 Falmouth Road Race champion, finished second in a personal best 26:43.98, while American Galen Rupp set a North American record of 26:48.00 in third.  Rupp became only the second North American after Chris Solinsky to break the 27-minute barrier.  Solinsky had held the record since May, 2010.

This year marked the second season of the Samsung Diamond League, which opened last May in Doha and concluded with two Diamond Race finals at the Weltklasse in Zürich on Sept. 8, then last night's meet in Brussels.  Athletes accumulated points for top-3 finishes in each meeting (4-2-1) and points were doubled in the finals.  The series doled out a total of USD 8,000,000 in prize money.

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