Wycliffe Kinyamal winning the Rovereto 800m (© Organisers)
Kenyan 800m runner Wycliffe Kinyamal and Jamaican sprinter Julian Forte grabbed the headlines at the 53rd edition of the Palio della Quercia Memorial Edo Benedetti in Rovereto on Tuesday (29).
Competing in warm and nearly ideal conditions, Kinyamal set the meeting record of 1:43.94, the fourth fastest time in the world this year. Pacemaker Tamas Kazi led at the bell clocking a fast 49.80 ahead of Burundi’s Antoine Gakeme, who went to the front at 500 metres. Kinyamal launched his kick with half a lap to go, and came off the bend with a big lead over Gakeme in the final straight to smash his previous personal best of 1:45.65 set in Hengelo last June. Kinyamal improved the meeting record of 1:43.97 held by Youssef Saad Kamel since 2005.
Gakeme clocked 1:44.49 in second, just 0.05 outside of his season’s best. Former world bronze medallist Amel Tuka from Bosnia & Hercegovina finished third in 1:44.62, a season’s best. Guy Learmonth set his personal best in fourth place with 1:45.10.
Forte followed up his impressive win at the IAAF World Challenge meeting in Berlin with his second consecutive win in the men’s 100m in Rovereto clocking 10.07 ahead of Jak Ali Harvey from Turkey (10.15) and Cuba’s Yunier Perez (10.17).
Forte won at this meeting last year in 9.97 but an illegal tailwind of +2.1 m/s denied him the meeting’s first sub-10 clocking. Forte ran the fastest time in the heats at the World Championships earlier this month but did not get through the semifinals. Last Sunday he smashed his lifetime best with a 9.91 in Berlin, the third fastest time of 2017.
“I am really satisfied with my race,” Forte said. “I have come here for some time and I enjoy competing her. I did not expect to run so fast in Berlin.”
Olympic and world 800m silver medallist Francine Niyonsaba from Burundi won the final race of her season clocking 2:01.14. Pacemaker Ilona Usovich led at the bell reached in 58.80. Five runners were in contention with 200 metres remaining, including Niyonsaba, Noelie Yarigo from Benin and Kenyan Emily Tuei. Niyonsaba pulled away in the home straight to take the win ahead of Yarigo (2:01.68) amd Tuei (2:02.03). Niyonsaba crowned a successful year in which she also set a lifetime best of 1:55.47 in the Monaco Diamond League meeting and dipped under 1:56 again a few weeks when finishing second to Caster Semenya at the World Championships clocking 1:55.92.
“It was great to end the season with a win,” said Niyonsaba. “My goal was to win the silver in London and I am really happy. I have no regrets.”
World Championships finalist and Olympic 4x400 relay silver medallist Stephanie Ann McPherson scored her second consecutive win here clocking 50.86, well clear of Great Britain’s Perri Shakes Drayton (52.19) and 2015 world bronze medallist Sherika Jackson (52.26).
This year’s 400m hurdles world bronze medallist Ristananna Tracey won her event in 54.57 ahead of Jamaican compatriot Janieve Russell (55.48).
Tabashnyk upsets Levchenko
In the women’s high jump, Kateryna Tabashnyk from Ukraine cleared a lifetime best of 1.95m on her second attempt to upset 19-year-old London world silver medallist Yuliya Levchenko, who jumped 1.93m at the second time of asking.
Dwayne Cowan, world bronze medallist in the 4x400 relay in London, followed up his win in the Birmingham Diamond League with another victory, clocking 45.63.
Lilian Kasait Rengeruk took the women’s 3000m in 8:51.04 ahead her compatriot Joyline Cheroytich, who set a lifetime best with 8:52.59.
Birhanu Balew from Bahrain won his second consecutive 5000m race in as many days, clocking 13.22.81 just two days after his victory in Berlin.
Equador’s Angela Tenorio won the women’s 100m in 11.18 ahead of Jamaicans Jura Levy (11.31) and Simone Facey (11.45).
Former European Indoor silver medallist Pablo Torrijos from Spain won the men’s triple jump with 16.96m. In the men’s discus, world bronze medallist Mason Finley beat 2008 Olympic champion Gerd Kanter 64.77m to 62.41m.
Jarrett Eaton prevailed in the men’s 110m hurdles in 13.52. Lina Maze from Latvia won the women’s javelin throw with 60.75m.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF