MONACO: Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei produced a brilliant display of solo running to break Kenenisa Bekele’s 16-year-old 5,000 metres world record by almost two seconds as athletics returned with a bang at the Monaco Diamond League meeting yesterday.
Cheptegei, 23, clocked 12 minutes, 35.36 seconds, destroying the 12:37.35 that Bekele set in the Netherlands in 2004.
The 5,000 spectators allowed in the stadium and millions watching on TV were not to be disappointed on a night of impressive performances as athletes showed that they had clearly found ways to keep in shape during their various lockdown restrictions.
Cheptegei took up the running at halfway, churning out 61-second laps and delivered a 2:30 split for the final kilometre, remembering to stop his own watch as he crossed the line.
In the women’s 5,000, world champion Hellen Obiri surged clear of Letesenbet Gidey to win in 14:18.37 after Sifan Hassan dropped out with three laps to go.
Timothy Cheruiyot was another world champion who showed no signs of suffering from disrupted training as he overcame a potentially reckless fast first lap to win the men’s 1,500m in 3:28.45.
It was a family double in the 200m as Noah Lyles won in 19.76 seconds, with his younger brother Josephus second in 20.30.
Karsten Warholm finished strongly to win the 400m hurdles in 47.10 seconds, beating American Kevin Young’s 28-year-old meeting record, while Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon ran the second-fastest ever 1,000m, clocking 2:29.15.