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Posted: July 13, 2021:  

(RRW) Athletics: Spanish And Meet Record For Katir At Gateshead Diamond League

From David Monti, @d9monti
© 2021 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved.

13-Jul) -- Spaniard Mohamed Katir closed out today's Müller Grand Prix at Gateshead International Arena in England with a fast 3000m, taking down both the Spanish record of 7:29.34 set by Isaac Viciosa back in 1998 and the meeting record of 7:29.70+ by Ethiopia's Haile Gebrselassie in 1999. In what was the seventh stop of the 2021 Wanda Diamond League, Katir clocked 7:27.64, the second-fastest time of the year.

IMAGE: Mohamed Katir of Spain beating Stewy McSweyn of Australia in the 3000m at the 2021 Müller Grand Prix in Gateshead, England (screen image via Peacock TV)

Katir, 23, who just four days ago broke the Spanish record for 1500m in Monaco at the Herculis meeting, was able to draft off of Australian star, Stewy McSweyn, who zoomed through the two penultimate laps in 59.4 and 58.9 seconds, respectively. The two men were well clear of the field, and on the backstretch of the final lap, Katir pulled past McSweyn, then opened a further gap in the homestretch. The Australian mile and 1500m record holder finished a solid second in 7:28.94. The pair will meet again in the Tokyo Olympics.

"I had a dream to be part of the Olympic Games," Katir told flash quote interviewers after his victory. "I've worked very hard to achieve this goal and this performance is the consequence of working hard and training in the mountains."

Third place went to Scotsman Andy Butchart in 7:35.18, a personal best, while Kenyan Jacob Krop got fourth in 7:35.34.

The other distance events contested tonight weren't as fast, but offered exciting finishes. American Kate Grace continued her strong post-Olympic Trials campaign, winning the Millicent Fawcett Mile in world-leading 4:27.20 with a superb final 100-meter sprint. Her time may not impress, but it was solid given that the second of the four quarter miles went in just 70.2 seconds when British 10,000m Olympian Jessica Judd was leading the contenders. The desire for a fast time just wasn't there today.

"You shouldn't have to have a 10,000m runner leading the pack," said Tim Hutchings who was commentating on the world feed.

Grace, who made the Olympic final of the 800m in 2016 but only finished seventh in the recent USA Olympic Trials in the same discipline, wasn't running for a time today. She stayed with the main pack down the backstretch of the final lap which included Britain's Katie Snowden, the USA's Helen Schlachtenhaufen, Uganda's Winnie Nyando, and Spain's Marta Perez. Coming out of the final bend, Grace easily pulled away to get the win with her distinctive long strides, running the final quarter in 60.9 seconds. Snowden got second in 4:28.04 and Schlachtenhaufen was third in 4:28.13.

"I always appreciate being able to perform with the best in the world and I felt great," Grace said. "It makes me want to run the mile and the 1500m later on in the season. It's been wonderful to race four times in the past few weeks and right now it's looking forward to the Diamond League final."

In the Emsley Carr Mile for men, which was not part of the Diamond League program, British half-miler Elliott Giles upset compatriot and pre-race favorite Jake Wightman. Giles got an excellent personal best of 3:52.49, while Wightman only managed a fourth place finish in 3:55.78. Second and third went to two other Britons, Jake Heyward (3:52.50) and Archie Davis (3:54.27). Giles got to add his name to the winner's list of this prestigious race which includes some of the sports all-time greats including Sebastian Coe, John Walker, and Hicham El Guerrouj.

"It was great and really comfy actually," said Giles. "It felt much better than I thought it would and I didn't have to go too deep." He continued: "I didn't realize Jake was closing on me so much and then I saw he was coming up behind me so that was a really rookie error on my behalf, but luckily I managed to push through and grab that win."

In the men's 800m the scrappy American Isaiah Harris made a bold move for victory with 150 meters to go and managed to hold off a late charge by Kenya's Wyclife Kinyamal. Harris was timed in 1:44.76 to Kinyamal's 1:44.91. Peter Bol, the reigning Australian national champion, got third in 1:45.22.

"I was happy with that," said Harris who grew up in Maine, competed for Penn State University, and won the NCAA 800m title in 2018. "I kinda wanted to PR but to get a win is just as good. It was a really good field and I'm happy with how I competed."

After today's meeting, the Wanda Diamond League goes dark for the Tokyo Olympics. The tour picks back up on August 20 and 21, in Eugene, Ore., for the Prefontaine Classic.

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