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Posted: July 29, 2009  :

(RRW) Athletics: Fairytale Race For Vessey In Monaco

From David Monti

© 2009 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

In a stunning 800m victory at the Herculis meeting in Monaco today, American Maggie Vessey ran close to a world leading time and all but clinched a spot on her national team for the IAAF World Championships in Athletics next month in Berlin.

"Yes, yes!" Vessey chanted after crossing the finish line in a personal best 1:57.84, about half a second up on Russian Mariya Savinova.

Vessey, 27, had finished fourth at the USA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore., last month. Under USA Track & Field rules, she had the right to chase the IAAF "A" standard of 2:00-flat because only one of the top-3 finishers, Hazel Clark, had the "A" standard at the time of those championships. (Second place Gina Gall, who had the "B" standard, was also named to the team with Clark because a second place "B" finisher behind an "A" standard holder was also guaranteed a team spot). Third place Phoebe Wright of the University of Tennessee, and Vessey, were left to battle for the final spot which required an "A" standard performance by July 31. Wright, like Vessey, had come close in several attempts, but now appears to be out of contention for the team. Wright would have to run at least 2:00.00 in the next three days.

In the men's 800m, Briton Michael Rimmer shot to the front forcing pacemaker Vincent Mumo Kiilu to hustle to catch him and take over the lead. The pair hit the 400m mark in a swift 49.13 and an eight meter lead. Kiilu angled off the track through 600m, and the pack, led by Sudanese sensation Abubaker Kaki, swallowed up Rimmer. Kaki was in the lead headed into the final turn, and held off late-race charges by both Russian Yuriy Borzakovskiy and American Nick Symmonds. Kaki clocked 1:43.50, to Borzakovskiy's 1:43.58 and Symmonds's personal best 1:43.83. Rimmer ended up last.

Uganda's Moses Kipsiro ran the last two laps of the men's 3000m in 59.56 and 56.54, respectively, to break his own national record. Kipsiro clocked 7:30.95 ahead of Kenyans Silas Kipruto (7:32.52) and Sammy Alex Mutahi (7:33.02). American Evan Jager set a personal best of 7:41.78 in ninth place.

Other highlights of the meeting included a pair of fast 1500m races. France's Mehdi Baala won the men's contest in 3:30.96, leading seven men under 3:33 including American Lopez Lomong who set a three-second personal best. Bahrain's Maryam Yusuf Jamal's beat Ethiopian Gelete Burka in the women's race, 3:58.83 to 3:59.56.

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