Africa 800m champion David Rudisha and Commonwealth games 5,000m winner Augustine Choge rebounded from their poor showing at World Championship a week ago to win at the Zurich Golden league meeting in Switzerland on Friday night.
Also salvouring his moment of glory was World 3,000m steeplechase champion Ezekiel Kemboi who won in his specialitin a time of 8:04.4.
However, it was Russian Yelena Isinbayeva, who improved her World Pole Vault record (5.05m set in Beijing Olympics) with a first time clearance at 5.06m.
Isinbayeva’s world record victory kept her in the hunt for the Sh76 million ($1 million) jackpot which will be decided on Friday in Brussels. The Russian made sure she would be in the running for the big prize in Belgium with her first time clearance at 4.81.
She was also clear on her first attempt at her opening height of 4.71 which comfortably beat the best attempt by world champion Anna Rogowska of Poland - 4.76 on the second attempt. Brazil’s Fabiana Murer was third, 4.71m.
In the 100m world champion and record holder Usain Bolt left it late before taking over the initiative after roughly 80 metres. He did not disappoint and came away clear to record a 9.81 second success.
Powell despite tying up a little in the final metres still produced 9.88 for second place, and two others went below 10sec – Darvis Patton (9.95) and Michael Rodgers (9.98). The Jamaican admitted his early race display was lacklustre by his standards.
“It was alright, I would say this was a shaky race. My body was sitting at the start, I was a little bit tired through the race. But again, it’s alright. All things considered, the time is not bad. I need to pick up my speed as my body did not respond well to the race.”
As well as Isinbayeva’s pinnacle performance, there were four other 2009 world leads, nine Berlin champions won while another five fell at their first post championship hurdle. In the Golden League Jackpot stakes, three of the four aspirants made it through to the sixth and final challenge in Brussels next Friday.
In the men’s 800m, European champion Bram Som lead the field behind the last pacemaker into the second lap with David Rudisha, Yuriy Borzakovskiy, and World champion Mbulaeni Mulaudzi in close order behind the Dutchman.
The same group prevailed as the race entered the last 100m and it was then that Rudisha applied top gear which took him home in a personal best time of 1:43.52.
Coming home with a characteristic late attack was Alfred Yego, the 2007 World champion who had taken silver in Berlin, who powered past all but the eventual winner finishing second in his career best of 1:43.66, with Mulaudzi the man who beat him in Berlin, third in 1:44.03; Som hung on for fourth (1:44.10).
Three went under 4mins in the women’s 1500m and after the bumping of Berlin it was lovely to see a clean cut fight which culminated in a close call victory for double World champion Maryam Jamal in 3:59.15. USA’s Anna Willard - 3:59.38 personal best, now the third fastest American of all-time - and Britain’s Lisa Dobriskey (3:59.50) were second and third. Olympic Champion Nancy Jebet Lagat was seventh (4:01.64) ahead of Viola Kibiwot (4:05.15) while Irene jelegat was tenth (4:07.19)
In the men’s 1500m Augustine Choge’s 3:33.38 was more than a match for the tired legs of Berlin champion Yusuf Saad Kamel, fourth in 3:34.33. Second was Mansoor Ali (3:33.74) and Asbel Kiprop was third, 3:34.09.
World champion Ezekiel Kemboi was on top again in the 3000m Steeplechase, a 8:04.44 victory achieved with an exhilarating turn of speed which held at bay France’s Berlin bronze medallist Bob Tahri who crossed in 8:05.29.
Fourth in Berlin but third here was Paul Koech (8:06.10). Michael Kipyego (8:09.54) and Richard Mateelong (8:10.25) were foruth and fifth.
“I want to stay on the top as long as I can. The win in Berlin improved my shape mentally. I’m on a high. I hope to continue and try for another fast time in Brussels,” said Kemboi.
Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele was not to be outdone in the men’s 5000m which he won in 12:52.32, knocking just under four seconds off his 2009 best which he set in Rome on 10 July.
Edwin Soi, who failed to make Kenyan team to Berlin was second in 12:55.03, while American Dathan Ritzenhein came third after 12:56.27. There was also personal best for Vincent Chepkok in fourth (12:58.17) while Moses Kipsiro of Uganda (12:59.27) was the other runner under 13 minutes.
“Of course it’s good to remain in the Jackpot but I wanted a faster time today,” said Bekele.