Ugandan teenage athletics sensation Jacob Kiplimo proved unstoppable once again as he smashed the Wanda Diamond League 3000m meet record in Rome on Thursday night, also setting a new Ugandan record with that performance.
Kiplimo clocked 7:26.64 over the seven-and-a-half-lap distance to not only smash Australia’s Ryan Gregson’s meet record of 7:42.19 by 1.55 seconds, but also improve his personal record over the distance by 17.9 seconds. The meet record had stood for 13 years.
Kiplimo ran a well calculated race, keeping behind pacesetter Tobin Sean of Ireland, closest challenger Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway and Australia’s Stewart McSweyn in the opening 2,000 meters of the race.
For the first four laps, Kiplimo was third in the pack, until the pacesetter gave way with three and a half laps to go.
The Ugandan was then sandwiched between Ingebrigtsen and McSweyn for another two laps, before Ingebrigtsen decided to overtake the two front runners with a lap to go.
Kiplimo would then keep pace with the Norwegian, before slapping on the afterburners on the home straight to edge Ingebrigtsen to win on the night. Incredibly, Ingebrigtsen also set a new Norwegian record with his performance.
Kiplimo’s win comes with a trophy and $50,000 (sh186m) prize money, and a wild card entry for the World Athletics Championships.
His performance in Rome follows another record-breaking one at the 59th Ostrava Golden Spike in the Czech Republic last week, where he clocked 12:48.63 to set a new meet record over the 5000m distance.
He broke Kenyan Stephen Cherono’s former record of 12:48.81, set in 2003, by 18 microseconds.
Thursday night’s 3000m race was one of 14 disciplines lined up in the shortened, provisional calendar that has had several athletics events rescheduled, and others cancelled as organisers continue to adapt the season in the face of the coronavirus crisis.