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Athletics-Kipyegon and Girma smash world records in dazzling Paris Diamond League meet

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By Lori Ewing

PARIS (Reuters) -Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon shattered the world record in the women’s 5,000 metres at the Paris Diamond League meeting on Friday in her first race at the distance in eight years just a week after breaking the world mark in the 1,500m.

It was one of three records to fall, with Lamecha Girma of Ethiopia smashing the 3,000m steeplechase record and Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen running a world’s best in the two-mile race.

Kipyegon finished in 14 minutes 5.20 seconds after pulling away from Letesenbet Gidey over the final 400 metres of a spirited battle at Charlety Stadium to break the Ethiopian’s record of 14:06.62 set on Oct. 7, 2020, in Valencia.

The 29-year-old Kipyegon, two-time Olympic champion in the 1,500m, sprinted the final lap in about 60 seconds to set the record in an event she had only run twice before in 2015.

“I did not think about the world record. I do not know how I made it. I just focused on the green light and tried to stay relaxed and enjoy the race,” said Kipyegon.

“… when I saw that it was a world record I was so surprised. It was all about giving my best. I just wanted to improve on my personal best, the world record was not my plan.”

Girma, the Olympic and world silver medallist, pulled away from the field well before the final bell before crossing in seven minutes 52.11 seconds, lowering the mark of 7:53.63 set by Qatar’s Saif Saaeed Shaheen on Sept. 3, 2004 in Brussels.

Japan’s Ryuji Miura was some 18 seconds back in second.

“I’m feeling so happy. Happy and very proud,” Girma said. “I felt so fast during the race, so confident. The world record is not a surprise, I planned to beat it tonight in Paris.

“It’s a result of a full determination.”

AMAZING FEELING

Ingebrigtsen, the Olympic 1,500m champion, ran seven minutes 54.10 seconds to shatter Kenyan Daniel Komen’s mark of 7:58.61 set in the seldom-run two-mile distance in 1997.

“Right now I feel tired,” the 22-year-old said. “Being able to make this record feels amazing. It is my first world best outdoors. The pace felt very smooth for me, coming out of the 1500 metres. I would say it was a good race.”

Noah Lyles, the American world champion in the 200m, won the men’s 100m in 9.97, edging Kenyan Ferdinand Omanyala by 0.01.

The race was billed as a battle with Olympic 100m champion Lamond Marcell Jacobs, who withdrew from two previous Diamond League meets, but the Italian struggled to seventh in 10.21.

Britain’s Keely Hodgkinson had a dream season opener, winning the women’s 800 in a national record and personal best time of 1:55.77.

“I am a little bit shocked that I ran so fast. Paris (Olympics) next year, I will definitely be back,” she said. “I had heard good things about the track. With this full stadium and the great crowd, it was amazing.

“I am so happy. Now the aim is to stay healthy, we still have to see, I want to keep running fast.

“The focus is on the summer, on Budapest (World Athletics Championships). What is next with such a fast time early in the season? Well, I do not know. Hopefully I will run even faster.”

Emmanuel Wanyonyi of Kenya passed Canada’s Marco Arop over the final few metres to win the men’s 800m, while American Gabrielle Thomas clocked 22.05 to win the women’s 200.

Paulino Marileidy of the Dominican Republic raced to victory in the women’s 400 in 49.12, beating Olympic and world 400 hurdles champion Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone (49.71). The American was running her much-anticipated first flat 400 in two years.

(Reporting by Lori Ewing; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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