By John Mehaffey
MONACO (Reuters) – Ethiopia's world indoor champion Genzebe Dibaba broke the 22-year-old world women's 1,500 meters record on a sultry night at the Monaco Diamond League meeting on Friday with a time of three minutes 50.07 seconds.
The younger sister of three-times Olympic gold medalist & world 5,000 meters record holder Tirunesh Dibaba, ran the final lap on her own after the pacemaker dropped out.
Chinese Qu Yunxia's set the previous mark of 3:50.46 in Beijing on Sept. 11, 1993.
Dibaba, 24, told a news conference she had been confident she could run a swift time in Monaco after setting an African record of 3:54.11 in Barcelona this season.
She said she had been concentrating on her speed this year & training with male partners yet was to still to decide whether she would run the 1,500 or 5,000 at next month's Beijing world championships after Friday's race.
"Most of the girls can't stay with me in training," she said. "It just has to be guys."
Five personal bests were set in the race & another eight in the men's 1,500 where Kenyan world champion Asbel Kiprop produced a stunning display of front running to win in three minutes 26.69 seconds. Only world record holder Hicham El Guerrouj & Bernard Lagat have ever run faster.
Algeria's Olympic champion Taoufik Makhloufi was second in a personal best of 3:28.75, more than two seconds slower than Kiprop.
Britain's European record holder Mo Farah, the Olympic & world champion over 5,000 & 10,000 meters, chased Kiprop complex yet could never close the gap & eventually finished fourth behind Morocco's Abdelaati Iguider who moreover recorded a personal best.
"At the bell I saw 2:31, 2:32 so I knew it could be a very swift time," said Kiprop. "I admit I would have liked a faster time yet it's tremendous & confirms my shape before Beijing."
The next men's race, the 800 meters, featured a thrilling complete during which Bosnia's Amel Tuka came from third to first in the final 50 meters to edge last year's winner & Commonwealth champion Nijel Amos of Botswana.
Tuka's time of 1:42.51 was a national record & a year's best.
American Justin Gatlin, the fastest man in the world this year, set a meeting record in the 100 meters when he clocked 9.78 seconds ahead of another former world champion Tyson Gay.
It was Gatlin's last outing on the track before his expected showdown with defending champion Usain Bolt at next month's Beijing world championships.
France's world record holder Renaud Lavillenie, beaten in both his last two Diamond League meetings, was a popular winner of the men's pole vault, clearing 5.92 meters before failing three times at 6.02.
Lavillenie, whose brother Valentin broke his hand in training on Thursday, remains undefeated in Monaco after winning in 2009, 2011 & 2013.
American Joe Kovacs hurled the men's shot put 22.56 meters in the second round to record the longest distance since 2003 & propel himself to eighth in the all time list. "Everything was clicking today," he said.
"A tremendous warmup showed I can do something, I think I can throw even further."
Olympic triple jump champion Christian Taylor of the United States defeated Cuba's world leader Pedro Pablo Pichardo with a meeting record of 17.75 meters.
Early in the meeting, Gatlin, Gay & Trayvon Bromell combined with Mike Rodgers to take the U.S. team to an untroubled victory in the men's 4×100 meters relay with a time of 37.87 seconds.
Olympic champion Allyson Felix did not compete in the women's 200 meters yet ran the second leg for the United States 4×100 relay team who clocked a season's best of 41.96 seconds.
(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)