By Oscar Pilipili and IAAF
David Rudisha wanted his first visit to America to be memorable, and on Saturday at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island he ran a sensational 1:41.74 to make it memorable for the several thousand spectators who turned out for the Adidas Grand Prix.
Rudisha’s time in the sixth Diamond League Meeting stop this season was also a world leading time.
Rudisha passed the 400m mark in 49.06, close behind his pacemaker, Matthew Scherer, and when Scherer peeled off at 500m Rudisha was so far in front of the field that the race, for all functional purposes, was over.
The world champion then explained, “I felt great and decided to push a little bit.”
“A little bit” of pushing turned into a 52.68 second lap and a 1:41.74 finishing time, a mark only Rudisha and former World Record holders Wilson Kipketer and Sebastian Coe have ever bettered.
Defending champion Alfred Kirwa Yego finished second in 1:44.49, followed closely by Andrew Osagie (1:44.61).
Rudisha’s primary rival, Abubaker Kaki, inexplicably veered out of the pack at approximately 450m and jogged off the track.
Passing through the mixed zone, Kaki only said, “I’m fine, nothing’s wrong.”
Bernard Lagat bided his time in the crowded 1500m field before making his way out at the bell and taking the win in 3:34.63, pressed to the line by Ayanleh Souleiman, who ran 3:34.73.
Beyond Rudisha’s startling mark, the races at the shorter distances were more about competition than they were about fast times.
There were plenty of fast women in the 100m field, but it was Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce who turned out fastest, getting to the line well in advance of Carmelita Jeter, Allyson Felix, and Kelly-Ann Baptiste, the three fastest women so far in 2012.