Galen Rupp and Nick Symmonds had outstanding races, and seven
world-leading marks were recorded on Saturday at the Prefontaine Classic.
Many of the top track and field athletes in the world competed at the
meet, which is part of the IAAF Samsung Diamond League series.
One of the world leading times was in the 5000 meters as Rupp's training
partner and favorite for Olympic gold Mo Farah of Great Britain won in a
time of 12:56.98. Isaiah Koech of Kenya was in second, with former UO star
Rupp close behind in an eight-second personal best time of 12:58.90. Rupp
finished more than a second ahead of fourth-place Kenenisa Bekele, the
world record holder at the distance.
|Nick Symmonds talking to his coach Mark Rowland
Rupp became just the seventh American ever to run under 13 minutes in the
5000, and was the first to do so on American soil.
After the race Rupp said he was happy with the time but his focus was
competing well against the world's best.
"We came in with a goal just to compete and weren't worried about time at
all. We knew it would be a quick pace and the time would take care of
Under the tutelage of long-time coach Alberto Salazar, Rupp has been
working on his speed at the end of races, and his race here indicated that
he is making progress. His last two laps were run in 1:58, just two
seconds slower than Farah.
Like Rupp, former Willamette standout Symmonds placed third. Going up
against a loaded field in the 800 meters, Symmonds started the race faster
than he usually does and was positioned in the middle of the pack going
into the final lap.
He passed several runners on the backstretch and the final 100, but
couldn't catch the leaders, Abubaker Kaki of Sudan and Mohamed Aman of
Ethiopia, generally regarded as two of the top three 800 runners in the
world. Kaki won in 1:43.71, with Aman just .03 seconds back. Symmonds was
pleased with his third-place finish and his season-best time of 1:44.32.
"I wanted to come in (to the race) with the mentality that this is the
Olympic Trials final," Symmonds said. "If I approach this like it's the
Olympic Trials, position myself to be top three and bring it home, I think
it's a pretty good confidence booster for going into the Trials in three
weeks. . . It's going to take a performance just like that to make the
Sprint queen Allyson Felix got an easy win in the women's 200 in 22.23, as
the expected duel with her American rival Carmelita Jeter never
materialized. Jeter placed fifth in 22.78, behind Jeneba Tarmoh and Bianca
Knight of the U.S. and Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria.
2004 Olympic gold medalist Justin Gatlin continued his impressive comeback
from a drug suspension, as he won the 100 meters in 9.90 over Nickel
Ashmeade of Jamaica. Race favorite Walter Dix was fourth in 10.04. Former
McKay High sprint star Ryan Bailey, who is currently training with Coach
John Smith's group in Southern California, was scheduled to run the 100
meters, but he withdrew from the race on Friday for reasons that were not
"I'm just worried about getting "W's" now," Gatlin said, as the upcoming
Olympic Trials approach later this month in Eugene. "It doesn't matter if
it is a 9.7 or 10.7. Everything is on track and I just need to stay
healthy and go out and dominate the race."
2011 world champion
of China was the class of the 110 hurdles,
winning in a wind-aided time of 12.87, which
would have tied the world
record if the wind had been legal. American Aries Merritt also dipped under 13
seconds in the race, stamping himself as a favorite to win the Olympic
Decathlete and former UO star Ashton Eaton also competed in the 110
hurdles, and held his own against the world-class field. Eaton was seventh
in 13.34, a time that would qualify as an all-time best had it been run in
a decathlon competition.
The Bowerman Mile, the final event of the meet, was won by 2008 Olympic
champion Asbel Kiprop of Kenya in 3:49.40. It was a world leader and also
the fourth time Kiprop has run under 3:50 at the Pre Classic. All 16
runners who finished the race ran under four minutes.
Local favorite Andrew Wheating and former world champion Bernard Lagat
were in the race, but finished 16th and 14th, respectively. David Torrence
was the top American in the mile, placing ninth in a personal best of
3:52.01, nearly five seconds ahead of Wheating, who said he was very
discouraged by his performance."Rock bottom is a very sour taste," Wheating admitted. "I've never felt
that before. When we got to the last lap, I knew I couldn't maintain that
pace. I lost my strength on the second lap and that's not good."
| Sally Kipyego
Sanya Richards-Ross extended her winning streak in 2012 by capturing the
400 in a world-leading 49.39 over 2011 world champion Amantle Montsho of
The men's 400 meters lost a little of its luster when world champion
Kirani James of Grenada was disqualified for a false start. James appealed
the disqualification and was allowed to run the race under protest.
Lashawn Merritt of the United States got the win in 44.91, and James'
appeal was eventually disallowed.
Other outstanding marks at the meet were by world champion Anna Chicherova
of Russia, who cleared 6-7 ½ in the high jump, and American Reese Hoffa,
who put the shot 71-6 3/4 .
Oregon Track Club Elite athletes were led by Sally Kipyego, a native of
Kenya, who was second in the 3000 with a personal best of 8:35.89.
OTC's Cyrus Hostetler, a former Newberg High athlete, who placed fourth in
the javelin in 265-10. The event was won by Vadims Vasilevskis of Latvia
in a meet record 277-8.