Caster Semenya breaks 600 m world best at ISTAF
Caster Semenya crowned the 76th edition of the ISTAF in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium with a world best in the 600 m. The South African ran 1:21.77, improving the former 20 year-old mark from Cuba’s Ana Fidelia Quirot by almost one second. A meeting record was established by Kenya’s Norah Tanui who took the 3,000 m Steeplechase in 9:03.70. Second-placed Gesa Krause ran a German record with 9:11.85. Another highlight was the men’s Javelin. Germany’s World Champion Johannes Vetter won with 89.85 m. 42,500 spectators watched the events of the ISTAF, which belongs to the IAAF World Challenge Series.
Germany’s most spectacular athletics meeting had seen 18 world records or world bests in its long history. On Sunday spectators witnessed number 19 in the 600 m. Meeting Director Martin Seeber had agreed to switch from the 800 to the 600 m after Semenya requested this. It was worth doing it, as the Olympic and World Champion delivered a thrilling run. Guided by pacemaker Ilona Usovich of Belarus until almost 400 m she then stormed away and held on to clock 1:21.77, smashing her PB of 1:25.56 in fine weather conditions. It was back in 1997 when Cuba’s Ana Fidelia Quirot ran 1:22.63. Since the 600 m are a non-standard event the IAAF does not ratify world records.
Second placed Ajee Wilson of the US ran a North American area record with 1:22.39 while Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi took third in 1:23.18. „I won my first world title her in Berlin, so this city is special for me. I wanted to deliver to this amazing people,“ said Caster Semenya. „The 600 is a bit easier compared to the 800. I love speed, so I liked it.“
A very fast race developed in the 3,000 m Steeplechase. Kenya’s pacemaker Caroline Tuigong guided the field through the 1,000 m mark in 3:02.56 and then dropped out. The pace remained high with a 6:07.88 split time for 2k. America’s World Championships silver medallist Courtney Frerichs was in the lead at this point, but she did not finish. It was then Norah Tanui who stormed away, winning in 9:03.70. She smashed the former meeting record which stood at 9:21.64. Gesa Krause, who was unlucky in London when she was tripped and fell in the final, ran a great race late in the season, improving her national record from 9:15.70 to 9:11.85. „This is a great end to the season for me after the disappointment in London,“ said Krause.
There was a great victory for another German runner: 20 year-old Konstanze Klosterhalfen took the 1,500 m in another personal best. This time she improved to 3:58.92, winning from Eilish McColgan (Great Britain/4:01.60) and Susan Krumins (Netherlands/4:02.25). „I don’t know how I ran this time today. But I thought I just go for it, the spectators will help me. And it worked,“ said Klosterhalfen, who is now number four in the world this year.
There was a personal best for Christina Manning in the 100 m Hurdles as well. The American ran a fine 12.54 with a 1.4 tailwind. Danielle Williams of Jamaica was second in 12.58 while Alina Talay (Belarus) took third with 12.72.
Julian Forte showed a great race in the 100 m, almost in Usain Bolt style storming away in the second part of it and winning with a personal best of 9.91. Well behind the Jamaican, who missed the final in the World Championships in London, were Ramil Guliyev (Turkey/10.09) and Adam Gemili (Great Britain/10.10). „London is behind me. The past is the past. I was of course planning to peak in London, but the personal best at the end of the season is good,“ said Julian Forte.
The Javelin Throw came to life in round two. First it was Czech’s Jakub Vadlejch who took the lead with 85.15 m, which was his best of day and was good enough for third in the end. Then Olympic Champion Thomas Röhler threw 85.94 m. But his lead was short lived as well. Fellow-German Johannes Vetter improved from 78.70 in round one to 86.06 m in the second round. The World Champion then further improved to 89.85 with his fifth attempt. Röhler could not top that, although he improved to 86.07 with his final throw. „It was a thrilling season with a superb end. I am really finished now. I am looking forward to the European Championships in Berlin next year,“ said Johannes Vetter.
It was not a German day however in the Discus Throw. The two Berlin Olympic Champions Robert and Christoph Harting had to settle for fifth (64.59) and eighth (62.83) respectively. Piotr Malachowski of Poland took victory with 67.18 m from Philip Milanov (Belgium/66.90) and World Champion Andrius Gudzius (Lithuania/66.60).
A London World Champion confirmed his position as the current number one: America’s Sam Kendricks won the Pole Vault with 5.86 from Poland’s Piotr Lisek (5.81) and France’s Renaud Lavillenie (5.71).
More information about the ISTAF are available at: www.istaf.de