Report30 Jun 2023

Aregawi beats Cheptegei in 5000m thriller in Lausanne


Berihu Aregawi wins the 5000m ahead of Joshua Cheptegei in Lausanne (© Matthew Quine / Diamond League AG)

A brilliant battle between world record-holders resulted in the sixth and seventh-fastest 5000m performances of all time as Berihu Aregawi blazed to a 12:40.45 finish to beat Joshua Cheptegei at Lausanne’s Athletissima meeting on Friday (30).

Ethiopia’s Aregawi had already made history over the distance on the roads, running a world 5km record of 12:49 in Barcelona in 2021, but he was up against a stacked field in the sixth Wanda Diamond League meeting of the season, one that featured Uganda’s Cheptegei, who set the world 5000m record of 12:35.36 in Monaco in 2020.

Now only Cheptegei, Kenenisa Bekele, Haile Gebrselassie and Daniel Komen remain above Aregawi on the all-time list for the 5000m on the track and given the way he ran, there looks like there could be even more to come from the 22-year-old.

The pace lights at the Stade Olympique de la Pontaise were set to target the meeting record of 12:55.23 and that’s the way the race began, with the field following the pacemaker through 2000m in 5:09.49. But as they ticked off the laps, the tempo picked up and Aregawi led through 3000m in 7:41.50, leaving the lights behind. He also began to leave his rivals behind as 4000m was reached in 10:13.79 and later he only had Cheptegei for company.

Cheptegei wasn’t giving up and was still challenging for the win off the final bend, but Aregawi remained full of running and kicked away to cross the finish line a second clear, with Cheptegei chasing him home in 12:41.61 – the seventh-quickest 5000m in history and his own fastest time since setting the world record.

Hagos Gebrhiwet won the fight for third place, pipping his Ethiopian compatriot Telahun Haile Bekele by just 0.01 - 12:49.80 to 12:49.81.

“I am delighted to be here and to win against Joshua,” said Aregawi. “It was a great atmosphere. Thank you, Lausanne.”

Cheptegei was also pleased with his own progress. “My goal is to get back to the form I was in before – getting faster race by race – and tonight is the proof of that,” he said. “I still have a lot to improve on, a lot to work on, but if I believe in myself, I will reach my objectives.”

A meeting record also fell in the men’s 1500m, as Norway’s Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen followed up the European record of 3:27.95 he set in Oslo with a 3:28.72 triumph ahead of recent world 3000m steeplechase record-breaker Lamecha Girma.

Jakob Ingebrigtsen on his way to a 1500m win in Lausanne

Jakob Ingebrigtsen on his way to a 1500m win in Lausanne (© Getty Images)

Girma improved the steeplechase mark to 7:52.11 in Paris, where Ingebrigtsen set a world two-mile best, and then turned his attention to the Ethiopian 1500m record. He was a few seconds off the pace in Ostrava three days earlier but chased Ingebrigtsen to a faster time in Lausanne, finishing second in 3:29.51 to improve the 3:29.91 national record that had been set by Aman Wote in 2014.

Britain’s Olympic bronze medallist Josh Kerr followed them to the finish in 3:29.64.

“I have had to make some adjustments with my strategy; I have been putting in extra miles in the last couple of weeks,” said Ingebrigtsen. “It’s all to get myself in the best shape possible for the World Championships.”

Beatrice Chepkoech broke the meeting record to win the women's 3000m steeplechase, clocking 9:05.98 in her first race in her specialist discipline since helping to pace Faith Kipyegon to her world 5000m record in Paris.

Always to the fore, Kenya’s Chepkoech was joined by world U20 silver medallist Sembo Almayew, who set the world lead of 9:00.71 to win in Florence at the start of the month, but they were both happy to sit behind the pace lights indicating a world-leading tempo. As the pair moved away from the rest of the field, Almayew was chasing Chepkoech rather than the clock and she finished second behind the world record-holder, running 9:06.82. Uganda’s Olympic champion Peruth Chemutai was third in 9:11.91.

Kenya’s Mary Moraa danced with delight after a decisive 800m win, the world bronze medallist kicking away from Keely Hodgkinson off the final bend and recording a season’s best of 1:57.43.

Moraa and Hodgkinson followed the pacemaker through 400m in 56.65 and were side by side as they reached the final bend, but Moraa kicked again to hold off the world and Olympic silver medallist – who ran her world-leading 1:55.77 British record in Paris earlier this month – and win by almost a second. Hodgkinson was runner-up in 1:58.37 and Jamaica’s Natoya Goule third in 1:58.90.

Win streaks continue for Bol, Camacho-Quinn and Ta Lou

Dutch star Femke Bol dominated the 400m hurdles as the world silver medallist won by almost two seconds in a meeting record of 52.76, two weeks on from her world-leading 52.30 in Oslo. The 23-year-old, who is working on a new stride pattern up to hurdle seven, was again pleased with how she attacked the first half of the race as she continues to test herself in the lead up to the World Championships in Budapest. Finland’s Viivi Lehikoinen secured the runner-up spot in 54.67, while Italy’s Ayomide Folorunso was third in 55.12.

Olympic champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn made another statement in the 100m hurdles, maintaining her unbeaten streak this year with victory in 12.40 (-1.4m/s) ahead of world champion and world record-holder Tobi Amusan, who chased her over the finish line in 12.47.

It’s an eighth win of the season for Camacho-Quinn, who set the world lead of 12.31 in Los Angeles last month. USA’s Tia Jones was third in 12.51.

Marie-Josee Ta Lou is another athlete who is building an impressive win streak and the world-leader, who clocked 10.75 in Oslo, again left her rivals with no response in the 100m. This time her winning mark was 10.88 (-0.8m/s) – her sixth wind-legal sub-11.00 run of the season – as she won clear ahead of Britain’s Daryll Neita (11.07) and Germany’s Gina Luckenkemper (11.17).

Marie-Josee Ta Lou wins the 100m in Lausanne

Marie-Josee Ta Lou wins the 100m in Lausanne (© Getty Images)

Ta Lou returned to the track just over an hour later to help the Cote d’Ivoire team to a national record of 42.23 to win the 4x100m. Netherlands secured second place in 43.18 and Switzerland third in 43.35.

World U20 gold and silver medallist Letsile Tebogo took the men’s 200m in 20.01 (-1.4m/s) from Jereem Richards (20.11) and Joseph Fahnbulleh (20.21), while Japanese record-holder Shunsuke Izumiya won a close men’s 110m hurdles race. Dipping over the line in 13.22 (-0.1m/s), he denied home favourite Jason Joseph – who had clocked a 13.10 Swiss record for the runner-up spot in Florence – by just 0.01. Just Kwaou-Mathey of France was third in 13.37.

World lead for Moon

USA’s Katie Moon added a centimetre to her own world lead to win the women’s pole vault, clearing 4.82m on her third attempt. The Olympic and world champion entered the competition at 4.51m and needed two attempts to make it over that height. She then cleared 4.61m on her first try before managing 4.71m on her third go. At that point she decided to pass at 4.77m, a height that European champion Wilma Murto achieved first time, with the bar then moving up to 4.82m. As Moon and Murto took it in turns to take on the challenge, it was Moon who managed it with her final attempt to take the win. She then had three unsuccessful attempts at 4.90m.

Murto’s 4.77m secured her second place ahead of Eliza McCartney, who had first-time clearances up to her best of 4.71m.

“A world-leading performance a week ahead of the US trials is amazing,” said Moon. “Although I do not have the usual pressure that we feel ahead of the US trials as I am already qualified, but it’s the US trials and it is always competitive.”

Given his outstanding ability, expectation understandably follows Ryan Crouser wherever he throws, and while his performance in Lausanne might not have generated the distances he was looking for, the world shot put record-holder still managed to secure another win. Throwing 22.29m – down on his European season opener of 22.63m in Ostrava three days prior – the Olympic and world champion won by 30cm as the sole athlete to surpass 22 metres. All of his five valid throws were beyond the mark, his winning put backed up by a 22.27m opening throw.

New Zealand’s 2017 world champion Tom Walsh came close to the barrier, throwing 21.99m for the runner-up spot, while Filip Mihaljevic was third with 21.42m.

India’s Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra made a winning return in the men’s javelin, throwing 87.66m in his first competition since the Diamond League season opener in Doha. Germany’s Julian Weber pushed him closest, launching the spear 87.03m in the final round, but it wasn’t enough to beat the Olympic winner, although it did secure him second place ahead of world leader Jakub Vadlejch (86.13m).

Australia’s Mackenzie Little added almost a metre and a half to her PB to win the women’s javelin, throwing 65.70m to surpass the early leading mark of 63.34m set by Japan’s world bronze medallist Haruka Kitaguchi in the first round. Oceania champion Little, who set her previous best of 64.27m to secure silver at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, achieved her PB in round five, and backed it up with marks of 62.91m and 61.83m. Kitaguchi’s 63.34m remained enough for second place, while Lina Muze was third with 62.58m.

Commonwealth Games champion LaQuan Nairn was delighted with his long jump victory, as he leapt 8.11m to triumph ahead of Olympic champion Miltiadis Tentoglou with 8.07m and Japan’s Yuki Hashioka with 7.98m.

“Last year I came last in the Oslo Diamond League, so it’s amazing for me to be able to come first,” said Nairn. “Before the competition I had my whole mindset changed and that helped me to jump farther.”

Tentoglou explained how the conditions had made the competition challenging. “I’m not happy with my results, it was not what I expected,” he said. “The weather was terrible but I'm not trying to make excuses.

Street party for Olyslagers with 2.02m high jump world lead

Athletissima action started on Thursday evening, when Australia’s Nicola Olyslagers equalled her Oceanian record with a 2.02m world lead to win a high-quality women's high jump competition in Lausanne's Place Centrale.

Nicola Olyslagers in high jump action in Lausanne

Nicola Olyslagers in high jump action in Lausanne (© Matthew Quine / Diamond League AG)

The Olympic silver medallist added a centimetre to the world lead she had shared with Ukraine’s world indoor champion Yaroslava Mahuchikh to win the street event. Ukraine’s world and Olympic fourth-place finisher Iryna Gerashchenko matched her PB, soaring over two metres to finish second, while Mahuchikh finished third with a best of 1.97m.

On a sunny and humid evening in Lausanne's city centre, Olyslagers got her competition started at 1.87m and cleared that height, 1.91m, 1.94m and 1.97m on her first attempts. Olyslagers, Gerashchenko and Mahuchikh were tied at the top with Britain’s Morgan Lake as the bar moved up to 1.94m, with the quartet each reaching that height with first-time clearances, but 1.97m made the difference.

Olyslagers made it on her first attempt while Mahuchikh, who started her series at 1.91m, needed two tries at 1.97m and Gerashchenko needed all three goes to stay in the competition.

The bar then moved to 2.00m and Olyslagers again cleared it on the first time of asking. That was a feat also achieved by Gerashchenko, who matched the lifetime best she set when finishing fourth at last year’s World Championships in Oregon. Mahuchikh knocked the bar on her first try and decided to skip straight to 2.02m for her remaining two attempts, but she was unable to go any higher. Nor was Gerashchenko, who had all three attempts at the height.

Olyslagers also knocked the bar on her first try at 2.02m, but with the support of a close and passionate crowd she soared clear on her second attempt before shouting out with delight at a performance that equalled the area record she set to secure her Olympic silver in Tokyo. She ended her competition in Lausanne with three attempts at 2.05m.

"To jump 2.02m was awesome. The 2.05m second attempt – I reckon I’m going to look at that again and again and learn from it," said Olyslagers.

The result maintains her unbeaten streak this year, which also includes wins at the Diamond League meeting in Paris and Continental Tour Gold event in Turku, both also with two metre-plus clearances.

"Whether I win or lose, for me the greatest measure of a competition is how high I jump," she added. "If I just focus on one day doing 2.10m or one day doing something that seems crazy, the wins will come. I’m trying to do it step by step, but to equal my personal best – and I know I’m in PB shape – today I can go back and go ‘I’ve got faith for 2.05m, but maybe even higher this year’."

Lake finished fourth on countback thanks to her flawless series up to 1.94m, a height managed by seven athletes, while nine of the 11 entries cleared 1.91m, including Belgium's Olympic and world heptathlon champion Nafi Thiam.

Jess Whittington for World Athletics