Mon, Feb 11, 2019 - Page 10 News List

Ethiopia’s Kejelcha just misses world indoor mile record


Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha wins the men’s Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games in New York on Saturday.

Photo: AP

Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha, twice a world indoor 3,000m champion, missed the world indoor mile record by one-hundredth of a second on Saturday in a dominating victory at the Millrose Games in New York City.

The 21-year-old distance star captured the feature event in the 112th edition of the US indoor classic in 3 minutes, 48.46 seconds, with Kenya’s Edward Cheserek a distant second in 3:53.29.

However, Kejelcha fell agonizingly short of his target, the mile indoor world record of 3:48.45 set by Morocco’s Hicham El Guerrouj on Feb. 12, 1997, at the Flanders indoor meet in Ghent, Belgium.

Kejelcha was not the only African runner to settle for the second-fastest time in history at the meet.

Kenya’s Michael Saruni ran the second-fastest indoor 800 meters in history, winning in 1:43.98.

Saruni’s effort was second only to the indoor world-record time of 1:42.67 set by Denmark’s Wilson Kipketer in Paris at the 1997 World Indoor Championships.

“Oh man, it’s crazy,” Saruni said. “I trained hard for this moment. I just had to do it.”

The US’ Donavan Brazier was second in 1:44.41, an American record, with the US’ Sam Ellison in third in a personal best 1:46.13.

“I’m excited about that, but Saruni snuck up on me,” Brazier said. “I had the other record, but he passed me.”

Brazier erased one of the oldest US indoor marks, lowering the former record of 1:45.00 set by Johnny Gray on March 8, 1992, at Sindelfingen, Germany.

A hush fell over the meet when Jamaican Kemoy Campbell, serving as a pacesetter to move the men’s 3,000 field along, collapsed and fell into the infield just beyond the 1,000m mark. He was carried out of the facility on a stretcher as other events were halted while he received medical attention.

Konstanze Klosterhalfen of Germany won the women’s mile in 4:19.98, a German record and season world best, with the US’ Colleen Quigley second in 4:22.86.

Two-time world indoor runner-up Ajee Wilson set an American indoor 800m record, winning in 1:58.60, shaving 0.11 seconds off the old US mark set by Nicole Teter in New York in 2002 — and that was after being knocked off stride twice by contact with rivals.

“I wanted to get it done today,” Wilson said. “Super happy that I was able to get it done. I got clipped a few times, but had to remind myself to stay in it, stay focused and go for the win.”

Jamaica’s Natoya Goule finished second in 1:59.13, a Jamaican record.

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