Bett, Sum recover from Rio heartache in Lausanne

World men 400m Hurdles champion, Nicholas Bett, bounced back to form after crashing out of the Rio 2016 Olympics as Abraham Kibiwott ran with the honours at the Lausanne Athletissima IAAF Diamond League meeting on Thursday night.

The 11th stop of this season’s track and field circuit series served opportunity to stars of the 31st Olympics to rubber stamp their victories or dust off the disappointment of failing to hit the podium heights in Brazil.

Bett who blasted to the world title last year in Beijing was one of those who needed some cheer after a nightmare second season that ended with disqualification at the heats of the Olympics where training partner and African champion, Boniface Mucheru, went on to bag silver.

Rasmus Magi of Estonia ran down the Beijing winner over the final 20 metres to win 48.59 against 48.68 but it was simply his best performance this year, setting the stage for a possible title defence next year in London.

In the same race, Mucheru failed to rouse himself from the Rio hang over as he anchored the field in seventh place (1:08.05).

In the men’s 3000m steeplechase, Abraham Kibiwott led a Kenyan top-five sweep in 8:09.58 to notch his first career IAAF Diamond League victory.

Battling Nicholas Kiptanui Bett – not to be confused with the world 400m hurdles champion– over the waning stages, the 20-year-old took the lead for good over the final barrier with Bett second in 8:10.07.

London 2012 bronze winner, Abel Kiprop Mutai ( 8:17.88), Diamond League winner, Jairus Birech Kipchoge (8:19.48) and 2008 Beijing Olympics champion, Brimin Kiprop Kipruto (8:20.46) who was fifth in Rio rounded the top five in Lausanne.

In the women 3000m showdown, Olympics 5000m silver medallist, Helen Obiri and countrywoman Mercy Cherono who was fourth trailed Ethiopia’s Genzebe Diababa across the line to complete the podium in second and third.

Obiri, Dibaba and Cherono led a six-woman pack with three laps to go, one that did not really break until the Ethiopian who was stunned to silver in the women 1500m at the Olympics by Faith Chepng’etich Kipyegon, made her move for the front as she approached the bell.

Unleashing her superior closing sprint, the Ethiopian covered the final lap in an unofficial 57 seconds to win unchallenged in 8:31.84, knocking nearly three seconds from Olympics 5000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot’s meeting record set in 2010.

Obiri held on for second in 8:33.96 with Cherono third in 8:34.49.

After failing to make the Rio 2016 final, Moscow 2013 World champion, Eunice Sum, held off fast-closing Lynsey Sharp (1:58.82) to finish second in the women 800m race in 1:58.41 with Olympic 800m silver medallist Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi running away with the emphatic victory in 1:57.71.

Elsewhere, Djibouti’s Ayanleh Souleiman became the fifth-fastest 1000m performer of all time to highlight the middle distance action at the meet.

The event, valid for the 800m Diamond Race, was billed as a duel between Olympic 1500m champion Matthew Centrowitz and Asbel Kiprop, Kenya’s three-time world 1500m champion.

But the 2014 world indoor 1500m champion, who broke the world indoor record over the non-championship distance last winter, had his own plans.

With Centrowitz lingering in the middle of the leading pack and Kiprop running third from last at the halfway point of the race, Souleiman made his move for the front, trailing the second pacemaker through the bell.

He powered down the back straight and off the final turn, easily fending off the late challenge by quick-closing Kenyans Robert Biwott and Jonathan Kitilit.

Suleiman clocked an IAAF Diamond League record of 2:13.49, trailing just Noah Ngeny, Sebastian Coe, Steve Cram and Taoufik Makhloufi on the world all-time list.

Biwott was next in 2:13.89, just ahead of Kitilit who clocked 2:13.95. Kiprop made up ground over the final 300 metres and finished fourth in 2:14.23 but Centrowitz was never really in the hunt and finished well back in sixth place, another two seconds behind.

-Material from IAAF/iaaf.org used to compile this report

SELECT RESULTS/DL POINTS

Men’s results

1000 Metres – Men                                             

1 Souleiman , Ayanleh              DJI    2:13.49         10

2 Biwott , Robert Kiptoo           KEN    2:13.89          6

3 Kitilit , Jonathan Kiprotich     KEN    2:13.95          4

4 Kiprop , Asbel                   KEN    2:14.23          3

5 Lewandowski , Marcin             POL    2:14.30          2

6 Centrowitz , Matthew             USA    2:16.67          1

7 Kipkoech , Nicholas Kiplangat    KEN    2:16.68

8 Ingebrigtsen , Filip             NOR    2:16.95

9 Rogestedt , Johan                SWE    2:17.88

10 Soet , Gilbert Kwemoi            KEN    2:18.63

3000 Metres Steeplechase – Men                               

1 Kibiwott , Abraham               KEN    8:09.58         10

2 Bett, Nicholas Kiptonui         KEN    8:10.07          6

3 Mutai , Abel Kiprop              KEN    8:17.88          4

4 Birech , Jairus Kipchoge         KEN    8:19.48          3

5 Kipruto , Brimin Kiprop          KEN    8:20.46          2

6 Cabral, Donald                  USA    8:20.77          1

7 Kirui , Amos                     KEN    8:22.59

8 Bayer, Andrew                   USA    8:23.88

9 Koech , John Kibet               BRN    8:26.76

10 Koech , Paul Kipsiele            KEN    8:32.91

400 Metres Hurdles – Men                                     

1 Mägi , Rasmus                    EST      48.59

2 Bett , Nicholas Kiplagat         KEN      48.68

3 Fernández , Sergio               ESP      49.22

4 Mörö , Oskari                    FIN      49.81

5 Cray , Eric                      PHI      49.88

6 Mfomkpa , Alain-Hervé            SUI      51.58

7 Tumuti , Boniface Mucheru        KEN    1:08.05

Women’s results

800 Metres – Women Race 2                                    

1 Niyonsaba , Francine             BDI    1:57.71         10

2 Sum , Eunice Jepkoech            KEN    1:58.41          6

3 Sharp , Lynsey                   GBR    1:58.52          4

4 Bishop , Melissa                 CAN    1:58.71          3

5 Büchel , Selina                  SUI    1:58.77          2

6 Alemu , Habitam                  ETH    2:00.46          1

7 Pryshchepa , Nataliia            UKR    2:00.59

8 Chebet , Winny                   KEN    2:02.21

3000 Metres – Women                                          

1 Dibaba , Genzebe                 ETH    8:31.84         10

2 Obiri , Hellen Onsando           KEN    8:33.96          6

3 Cherono , Mercy                  KEN    8:34.49          4

4 Kipkemboi , Margaret Chelimo     KEN    8:37.54          3

5 Kisa , Janet                     KEN    8:43.34          2

6 Tirop , Agnes Jebet              KEN    8:50.74          1

7 Tesfay , Haftamnesh              ETH    9:11.29

8 Efraimson , Alexa                USA    9:11.48