Beatrice Chepkoech sets a world 2000m steeplechase best in Zagreb (© Antonio Bronic)
World 3000m steeplechase record-holder Beatrice Chepkoech now also has the world 2000m steeplechase best to her name as she clocked 5:47.42 to ensure that the Boris Hanzekovic Memorial – a World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting – ended on a high in Zagreb on Sunday (10).
The Kenyan 32-year-old went into the event targeting the mark of 5:52.80 that had been achieved by Gesa Felicitas Krause in 2019 and she attacked it from the start. Moving ahead of the pacemakers, she went on to pass half way in 2:51.15 and eventually took more than five seconds off the world best, with her 20-year-old compatriot Winnie Jemutai also getting incredibly close to the previous best with 5:52.92 for the runner-up spot.
Slovenia’s Marusa Mismas-Zrimsek was third in a national record of 5:53.38, while Albania’s Luiza Gega was fourth in 5:56.79.
“I had one world record and now I have two, so I am lucky,” said Chepkoech, who has returned this season after injury in 2022. “It is all about staying focused and positive, and I thank god I was able to run well during the season.”
Chepkoech, who is set to compete at the Wanda Diamond League Final in Eugene next weekend, is also preparing for the World Athletics Road Running Championships in Riga on 1 October, where she will contest the mile as part of the Kenyan team alongside Faith Kipyegon and Nelly Chepchirchir.
Olympic champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, who secured silver at the World Championships in Budapest, followed up her recent win in Bellinzona with another victory in Zagreb, this time in a meeting record of 12.47.
With a smooth performance, she even had chance to ease at the finish, winning clear ahead of Nadine Visser, who clocked 12.64, and Pia Skrzyszowska, third in 12.73.
USA’s Daniel Roberts got a good start in the men’s 100m hurdles but it was his fellow world medallist Hansle Parchment of Jamaica, the Olympic champion, who powered ahead to pip him 13.13 to 13.15. Wilhem Belocian of France hit a few hurdles but stayed on his feet to finish third in 13.30.
Meeting records were also set in the men’s 3000m and the women’s 1500m. In the 3000m, Dominic Lokinyomo Lobalu led a series of PB performances with his meeting record of 7:33.95. Lobalu was one of just two athletes in the 16-strong field to not run a lifetime best, with four of those times improving national records and Uruguay’s Santiago Catrofe setting a South American record of 7:37.15 in eighth place.
Chasing Lobalu across the finish line was Henrik Ingebrigtsen in a PB of 7:34.80, while Jonas Raess set a Swiss record of 7:35.12 in third place.
Spain’s Esther Guerrero kicked off the final bend to clinch women’s 1500m victory, overtaking Australia’s Linden Hall to set a meeting record of 4:02.88. Hall held on for second place by just 0.01, clocking 4:03.83 ahead of Britain’s Revee Walcott-Nolan, whose time was a PB.
Tunisia’s Ahmed Jaziri was delighted with his PB performance to win the men’s 3000m steeplechase as he dipped under 8:15 for the first time with 8:14.93. Ibrahim Ezzaydouni was second in 8:16.78 and Ethiopia’s 19-year-old Samuel Duguna, the world U20 champion, was third in a 10-second PB of 8:17.27. Another five athletes in the field set personal bests.
Slovenia’s 2022 world champion Kristjan Ceh got close to the meeting record in the men’s discus, throwing 68.48m to win by almost two metres ahead of Jamaica’s Fedrick Dacres, who managed 66.54m. Ceh also threw 67.92m and 67.34m in a series that featured three fouls. Australia’s Matthew Denny was third with 65.25m.
Croatia's multiple global gold medallist Sandra Perkovic claimed her 11th win at her home meeting, throwing a season’s best of 67.71m in the second round to delight the crowd and win by more than four metres ahead of Italy’s Daisy Osakue with 63.68m. Perkovic’s compatriot Marija Tolj was third with 63.39m.
Two-time world silver medallist Shanieka Ricketts won the women’s triple jump with a 14.53m leap as Dariya Derkach also went beyond 14 metres with 14.07m for second, while USA's Maggie Malone won the women’s javelin with a third-round throw of 63.71m.
A fast-finishing Anita Horvat overhauled Australia’s Oceanian record-holder Catriona Bisset in the closing stages to win the women’s 800m. Slovenia’s Horvat, the European indoor silver medallist, strode down the home straight to triumph in 1:59.79 to Bisset’s 2:00.03, while Switzerland’s Rachel Pellaud was third in 2:00.21.
The men’s 800m winner also finished fast – British champion Dan Rowden celebrating his 26th birthday a day late by chasing down Kenyan champion Alex Kipngetich alongside Gabriel Tual of France and Sweden’s Andreas Kramer and pipping them all in 1:44.96. Tual secured second in 1:45.07 ahead of Kramer in 1:45.10 and Kipngetich in 1:45.14.
Britain’s Laviai Nielsen was a tenth of a second off her PB in winning the 400m in 50.93, 0.01 ahead of Jamaica’s world finalist Candice McLeod. Ireland’s Sharlene Mawdsley was third in a PB of 51.09.
The men’s 200m was won by USA’s Kyree King in 20.10 ahead of his compatriot Brandon Carnes in 20.19 and Canada’s Brendon Rodney in 20.42, while Kenya’s African record-holder Ferdinand Omanyala dipped under 10 seconds to take the men’s 100m ahead of Jamaica’s world fourth-place finisher Oblique Seville – 9.94 to 10.07. Italy’s Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs finished third in 10.08.
The action in Zagreb started on Friday, when the City Challenge saw the long jump titles contested during a street event. The men’s competition had a home win for Filip Pravdica, who equalled his PB with 8.09m to win by just 2cm ahead of Jamaica’s 2019 world champion Tajay Gayle.
USA’s Tiffany Flynn won the women’s contest with a 6.59m leap, as Britain’s Jazmin Sawyers placed second with 6.50m.
The following day, the Ivan Ivancic Memorial welcomed some of the world’s best men’s shot putters to the Zagreb Fountains and there New Zealand’s 2017 world champion Tom Walsh threw 22.46m to triumph. Joe Kovacs was second with 21.72m and his fellow world medallist Leonardo Fabbri was third with 21.55m.