With a month to the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, the amazing diamond league meeting in Silesia on Sunday, the 16th of July 2023, acted as an indicator of what to expect there in some events.
Here are some takeaways from the event
1. The 100m races appear quite open heading to Budapest
After South Africa’s Akani Simbine defeated USA’s Fred Kerley in the closely contested 100m event, it became apparent that the reigning world champion, who had remained unbeatable early this year, was vulnerable. Simbine ran 9.97, Kerley was second in 9.98, and Cameroon’s Emmanuel Eseme finished third also in 9.98. It was a blanket finish for the first five runners.
Sha’Carri Richardson battled Sharicka Jackson at Silesia DL, photo by Matthew Quine/Diamond League AG
Sha’carri Richardson also defeated the reigning 200m world champion in the women’s version of the race after running 10.76 ahead of Sherica Jackson in 10.78.
2. Runners in middle-distance track events are peaking at the right time for Budapest
All the top eight runners in both the men’s and women’s 1500m races registered their personal best times.
Ethiopia’s Hirut Meshesha registered a new meeting record in a personal best time of 3:54.87 as she led three other Ethiopians; Birke Haylom (3:54.93), Diribe Welteji (3:55.08) and Worknesh Mesale (3:57.00) in a 1-2-3-4 finish. Australia’s Linden Hall ran a new Australian record of 3:57.27 in fifth place.
Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen ran a new European record, a world-leading and a personal best time of 3:27.14, to win the men’s race ahead of two Kenyans, Abel Kipsang (3:29.11) and Reynold Cheruiyot (3:30.30).
Jakob Inbebrigtsen sets ER at 1,500m, in 3:27.15! photo by Diamond League AG
Runners ran fast times in the women’s 800m as well as Mary Moraa moved to the front just after the gun went off, then only allowed the pacemaker to overtake her as he seemed to take control of runners behind her, not allowing anyone to overtake and take her vantage position in the inside lane. She easily stretched the lead on the home straight to register a new meeting record of 1:56.85 ahead of Uganda’s Halimah Nakaayi, who registered a new national record of 1:57.78 and Jamaica’s Natoya Goule, who ran a seasonal best time of 1:57.90.
3. Chances for Kenyan men to reclaim the 3000m steeplechase look slim
When the pacers stepped out of the men’s 3000m steeplechase race, Kenya’s Abraham Kibiwott was the only runner who would remain in the lead with Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali, but the gap soon began to grow, and ElBakkali would run alone at the front in the last 1000m.
Soufiane EL BAKKALI, by Wilberforce Chemiat KONES/Diamond League AG
El Bakkali won the race in 8:03.16. Kibiwott came second in 8:08.03 ahead of fellow Kenyan Leonard Bett, who finished third in 8:09.45.
Given that the world record holder over the distance, Ethiopia’s Lamecha Girma, was not in the race, it shows that Kenyan runners will need to do a lot in their preparations ahead of Budapest to regain their glory in this event.