Marie-Josee Ta Lou [Ivory Coast], Caster Semenya [South Africa], and Beatrice Chepkoech were dominant in Friday’s Diamond League meet in Monaco as they came out victorious in their various events.
Marie-Josee Ta Lou racked up a fifth win of the season in the Diamond League by winning the 100m in 10.89sec ahead of Ivorian compatriot Murielle Ahoure (11.01sec), with Jamaica’s double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson taking third (11.02).
“It’s an incredible year for me,” said Ta Lou, a double world silver medallist in 2017. “I’m performing really regularly and the goal was to go under 10.90 and I did just that so I’m super happy.”
It was another gun-to-tape win for Semenya, who is challenging the IAAF over controversial new rules track and field’s ruling body plan to introduce on high testosterone levels in female athletes.
She shot out past even the pacesetters and with Czechoslovakian Jarmila Kratochvilova’s 1983 world record of 1:53.28 seemingly in imminent danger, Semenya blasted through the first lap in 55.76sec and increased her lead over the chasing pack as she lengthened her stride down the back straight before rounding the final bend.
The 27-year-old, double Olympic champion (2012, 2016) and three-time world champion (2009, 2011, 2017), eventually tied up slightly as she pushed through to the line in 1:54.60, also a meet record.
“It was just fantastic!” beamed Semenya. “Only the last 100m were a little off for me.
“Today I wanted to break 1:54 but maybe next time. I wasn’t thinking about the world record and it wasn’t on my mind.”
But it was a relatively unknown Kenyan, Chepkoech, who stole the plaudits by setting a new 3000m steeplechase world record.
Chepkoech, 27, ran 8min 44.32sec to shatter the previous best set in 2016 by Kenyan-born Bahraini Ruth Jebet, whose name headlined an Athletics Integrity Unit report released earlier Friday into alleged doping.
Olympic champion Jebet had run 8:52.78 before Chepkoech, aided by a couple of pacemakers, shot around more than six seconds faster, her remarkable effort also smashing her own previous personal best by more than 15 seconds.
“I wanted to break the world record, that was the plan from the start of the season,” she said.
“I felt strong during the race and was thinking I might be able to break 8:50, but not at all dreaming about 8:44.
“It’s a great feeling to bring the world record back to Kenya.”