Despite temperatures north of 30°C (86°F) and a lot of bright yellow empty seats at Qatar SC Stadium, fast times were posted at today's Qatar Athletic Super Grand Prix in Doha.
While one of two pacers flew to a 53.4 opening lap, the rest of the field in the men's 1500m stayed back, setting up a thrilling stretch duel between Kenyans Augustine Choge and Haron Keitany. Keitany caught Choge with about 40 meters to go and appeared to have the win. But Keitany eased up slightly just before the finish line, and the much smaller Choge expertly dipped his chest at the finish to get the win in a world-leading 3:30.88. Keitany was timed just 2/100ths behind him. All but one of the 12 finishers broke 3:40.
Just as impressive were the aggressive closing laps by Eliud Kipchoge and Ezekiel Kemboi in the men's 3000m and 3000m steeplechase, respectively. Kipchoge, the silver medalist in Beijing in the 5000m, ran away from Kenyan compatriot Thomas Longosiwa on the last lap, flying to the line in a world-leading 7:28.37. It was Kipchoge's third sub-7:30 performance of his career. Longosiwa held on for second, scoring a personal best 7:30.09, while Olympic bronze medalist Edwin Soi got third (7:31.50).
In the steeple, Kemboi drafted Paul Kipsiele Koech for most of the race, then shot past him with 250m to go, clocking the first sub-8:00 steeplechase of the year, and the first of his career: 7:58.85. It was also the fastest steeplechase in the world since September, 2007.
Elsewhere, Abubaker Kaki of Sudan beat Asbel Kiprop of Kenya in the 800m, 1:43.09 (world leader) to 1:43.17; Gelete Burka won the women's 1500m in 4:06.67 and Ruth Bisibori won the women's steeple in a world-leading 9:32.68.
Complete results are at this link: IAAF.org.