by Diego Sampaolo
The world record set by Faith Kipyegon in the women’s 1500 metres (3:49.11) and three world leading performances by Femke Bol in the women’s 400 metres hurdles (52.43), Sembo Almayehu in the women’s 3000 metres steeplechase (9:00.71) and Mohamed Katir in the men’s 5000 metres (12:52.09) highlighted the 43rd edition of the Golden Gala Pietro Mennea at the Luigi Ridolfi Stadium in Florence. The Golden Gala celebrated three Italian wins in the same edition for the first time in the history of the top Italian meeting.
Women’s 1500 metres
Double world and Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon from Kenya broke Genzebe Dibaba’s world record with a sensational time of 3:49.11 confirming once again that she is the greatest middle-distance runner over the 1500m. Kipyegon had already run the second fastest time in the world with 3:50.37 in the Monaco Diamond League meeting last August. Kipyegon has become the first woman to break the 3:50 barrier. She took almost one second off the previous record. Dibaba set the previous world record with 3:50.07 in Monaco in 2015.
Faith Kipyegon: “The record is my heart and on my mind and I hope it will be a perfect year for me. On the eve of the meeting I said that everything could happen. I thank God for helping me to set this record. Today I hoped to set the world season lead, but I broke the world record”.
Kipyegon followed pacemakers Brooke Feldmeier and Sage Hurta through 400m in 1:02.37. Hurta-Klecker was on schedule through the 800m in 2:04.00. Kipyegon went through 1200m in 3:05.28. She pushed on and crossed the finish-line in 3:49.11.
Laura Muir from Great Britain finished second in 3:57.09 in her first 1500m race this season. Jessica Hull from Australia improved the Oceanian record to finish third with 3:57.29 ahead of Axumawit Embaye from Ethiopia (4.00.98) and Abbey Caldwell from Australia (4:01.34). Sintayehu Vissa set the third fastest Italian time in history with 4:01.98. Ludovica Cavalli also improved her lifetime best with 4:03.04.
Women’s 400 metres hurdles
European champion Femke Bol set the meeting record to 52.43 to take her fourth consecutive win at the Golden Gala. Lashinda Demus held the previous meeting record of 52.82 since 2010. Shamier Little finished second with 53.38. Anna Hall took third place with 54.42 a few days after her win in the heptathlon at the Hypo Meeting in Goetzis with 6988 points.
Femke Bol: “This was my first Diamond League for this year and this is a great result. It met all my expectations. I executed the race as I wanted. It was a strong field which pushes me even more. I changed the rhythm between the hurdles, the change makes it easier, less steps and I am still fast. I am looking forward to run at 400m in Hengelo in two days because there will be a lot of people from home”.
Men’s 5000 metres
Mohamed Katir from Spain set the world season lead with 12.52.09 to win the men’s 5000 metres in 12:52.09 with the fastest final 1000 metres split run over this distance beating Yomif Kejelcha from Ethiopia, who improved his season best with 12:52.12 in a race where 13 athletes dipped under the 13 minutes barrier for the first time in history. Katir set the Spanish record with 12:50.79 two years ago in Florence. Luis Grijalva from Guatemala bettered the national record with 12:52.97 to beat world record holder Joshua Cheptegei from Uganda (12:53.81), Telahun Bekele from Ethiopia (12:54.31), William Kincaid (12:54.10 PB), Joe Klecker (12:55.16), last year’s Golden Gala winner Jacob Krop (12:56.57).
Men’s 100 metres
World champion Fred Kerley clocked another 9.94 to win his second 100 metres race in the Diamond League season repeating the same time as in Rabat. African record holder Ferdinand Omanyala of Kenya placed second in 10.05. Last year’s Diamond League winner Trayvon Bromell took third place with 10.09 edging Akani Simbine with the same time. European indoor champion Samuele Ceccarelli smashed his PB to 10.13 to finish fifth ahead of Rohan Browning (10.15), Yohan Blake (10.15) and world silver medallist Marvin Bracy Williams (10.23).
Men’s 200 metres
World bronze medallist Erriyon Knighton moved away from the rest of the field down the home straight to win his first 200 metres race this year in the Diamond League in 19.89. Trinidad and Tobago’s Jereem Richards took second in 20.28 ahead of Aaron Brown from Canada (20.31) and Filippo Tortu (20.41).
Women’s 100 metres
Three-time world medallist Marie Josée Ta Lou won the women’s 100 metres in 10.97 into a headwind of -0.4 m/s beating European champion Gina Luckenkemper from Germany (11.09) and Imani Lansiquot from Great Britain (11.18).
Marie Josée Ta Lou: “Today, I feel a bit tired because I am jetlagged. The most important thing was the win and I got it. This season my main goal is to win everytime I stand on the track”.
Men’s 110 metres hurdles
Double world champion Grant Holloway won his first Diamond League race this season with 13.04 into a headwind of -0.2 m/s missing the meeting record by three hundredths of a second. European indoor champion Jason Joseph set the Swiss record to 13.10 to finish second.
Grant Holloway: “It was good. I wanted to come out there and execute my race plan and if it did not work, I would have tried to do something better, but I executed my race with perfection so I could not have done anything better today. Maybe the start could be a little better, there can be a thousand things that I can improve but I am consistent and this season is still going on. The conditions were good, a little bit cooler than in Florida but it just feels good to be here”.
Women’s 3000 metres steeplechase
Ethiopian 19-year-old middle distance runner Sembo Almayew took the first win of her career in the Diamond League in a meeting record and a world lead of 9:00.71 beating 2021 world under 20 champion Jackline Chepkoech from Kenya (9:04.07) and Zerfe Wondemagegn from Ethiopia, who improved her PB to 9:04.61.
Men’s triple jump
Last year’s Diamond League champion Andy Diaz set the national record with 17.75m in the first round to win the men’s triple jump. The previous Italian record was held by Diaz’s coach Fabrizio Donato, who jumped 17.60m in Milan in 2000.
Women’s long jump
European indoor silver medallist Larissa Iapichino from Italy leapt to 6.79m in the first round to win the first Diamond League competition of her career in front of her home fans. Former NCAA champion Tara Davis-Woodhall took the second place with 6.74m ahead of Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk from the Ukraine (6.59m), Ese Brume from Nigeria (6.58m) and Malaika Mihambo from Germany (6.57m).
Women’s pole vault
Olympic and world champion Katie Moon won her second Diamond League competition with 4.71m beating Tina Sutej from Slovenia on countback. Moon cleared 4.71 at the second time of asking, while Sutej needed three attempts to clear this height. Last year’s Diamond League champion Nina Kennedy placed third with 4.61m to beat Italian record holder Roberta Bruni and Sandi Morris on countback.
Men’s shot put
Leonardo Fabbri from Italy produced his best throw of 21.73m in the fourth round to win the men’s shot put in front of his home fans. Fabbri was born in Florence and grew up in the Tuscan city. Tom Walsh from New Zealand, who won in Florence Golden Gala two years ago, took second place with 21.69m beating Tomas Stanek (21.64m). Last year’s Diamond League champion Joe Kovacs finished out of the top 3 in fourth place with 21.55m. USA’s Adrian Piperi and Italy’s Zane Weir also threw over the 21 metres barrier with 21.43m and 21.13m.
Leonardo Fabbri: “This stadium always gives me great feelings and I was focused to keep the stadium record. Everything has felt perfect since I woke up this morning. I have to work and train to make this possible even in other locations. I live a few kilometres away from Florence. The stadium was full of friends of mine”.
Women’s discus throw
Olympic champion Valarie Allman from the USA took the win in the women’s discus throw with 65.96m in the fifth round after 57.60m in the first attempt and three fouls. Allman beat world champion Feng Bin from China, who threw the discus to 65.91m in the fifth round. Germany’s Shanice Craft placed third with 64.47m.
Valarie Allman: “This was an unbelievable competition in a dramatic way! Today was all about competing. My training has been going well. The rain messed with my training and my technique. I was not able to fly properly, but in the end I managed to win. At my first attempt I found the right tension”.
Men’s high jump
Ju’Vaughn Harrison cleared 2.32m on his third attempt to win his second Diamond League competition in the men’s high jump this season following his victory in Doha. World indoor champion Woo Sang-hyeok from South Korea cleared 2.30m in his first attempt to place second. Woo failed three attempts at 2.32m.
Men’s 400 metres:
Nalalia Kaczmarek from Poland won the women’s 400 metres in 50.41 edging European indoor silver medallist Lieke Klaver from the Netherlands (50.75) and Lynna Irby-Jackson from the USA (50.84).