Faith Kipyegon made Florence Diamond League history on Friday by breaking the symbolic 3min 50sec barrier while setting a new world record in the women’s 1500 meters.
The 29-year-old Kenyan clocked 3:49.11 to break the previous record of 3:50.07 set by Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba in Monaco in 2015 in a stunning performance from the two-time Olympic and world champion .
Kipyegon, considered the greatest woman of all time in the discipline, crushed the rest of the field in Tuscany, finishing more than 12 seconds ahead of defending European champion Laura Muir and Australian Jessica Hull.
She fell to her knees in joy and disbelief after conquering the record, the only major honor she was lacking despite her brilliant career.
“I’m so excited, so happy, I didn’t expect it. I expected a world lead, not a world record, but I’m so grateful,” Kipyegon told broadcaster RAI.
“As I said today and yesterday, anything is possible.”
World champion Fred Kerley took the win in the men’s 100 meters, again in the absence of injured Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs.
American Kerley crossed in 9.94 seconds but insisted victory en route to a bid for a 100-200m sprint double at the world championships in Budapest in August was more important than time away to be stellar.
African champion Ferdinand Omanyala, who clocked the best time of the season so far at 9.84 seconds in Nairobi, finished second, 0.11 seconds down, with the Kenyan also finishing alongside Kerley in Rabat last week.
“The most important thing was the win today, I raced the way I wanted to today,” Kerley said.
“My ultimate goal is to get a double goal in Budapest and this is all just a step towards the ultimate.”
– No Jacobs yet –
Kerley won in Rome last year in 9.92 seconds before conquering the US championships and taking world gold in Eugene.
Fellow Americans Marvin Bracey and Trayvon Brommell, who finished on the podium behind Kerley at the world championships, finished last and third respectively.
Jacobs did not race at home as he pulled out of the event with a back injury like he did in Rabat.
There hasn’t been a confrontation between Jacobs and Kerley since the Italian beat Kerley to a shock gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics, pushed back a year to 2021.
Teenage sensation Erriyon Knighton easily won the 200m, crossing the finish line in a season-best 19.89 seconds, 0.39 seconds ahead of closest challenger Jereem Richards.
Knighton, 19, is a rising star in American sprinting and holds the 200m world records for athletes under 18 and under 20.
“It’s a good time for a start to the season, I feel like I did well, I could have been better but I’m happy with the result,” Knighton said.
Femke Bol broke the season record 52.43 seconds in the 400m hurdles as the reigning Diamond League and European champions aim for gold at the Worlds in Budapest later this year.
“I’m really, really happy, I ran the race the way I wanted. It was a strong peloton that pushes me even more,” said Bol, 23.
“At the World Championships I have the chance to win a gold medal… So today is good, but this year it’s Budapest.”
British sprinter Dina Asher-Smith did not compete in the women’s 100m, won by Marie-Josée Ta Lou in 10.97 seconds.