Genzebe Dibaba powered to the second fastest indoor 1500m of all time to highlight the Indoor Meeting Karlsruhe, the opening leg of the 2018 IAAF World Indoor Tour.
The Ethiopian's sensational 3:57.45 run was one of five world leading performances to play out before a vociferous sell-out crowd of 4,500 at the Messe Halle Karlsruhe, but the only one likely to remain atop the world lists, unless Dibaba herself decides to attack it later this season.
Clearly, Dibaba likes to race in Karlsruhe. The Ethiopian set the 3:55.17 world indoor record at this meeting four years ago on the nearby Europahalle track. She clocked 4:00.13 two years prior to that, which is, after this evening, the 10th fastest run of all-time.
On this return engagement, she looked like the Dibaba of 2014, attacking her world standard from the gun. She looked eager early on, testing her patience behind the pacesetter Nelly Jepkosgei, who opened with a 1:01.16 opening 400m. That was well inside the 62.5 in Dibaba's world record run, but too quick for Jepkosgei, who struggled in the waning stages of her 800-metre assignment. The tempo not to her liking, Dibaba forged ahead to go it alone, passing the 800m mark in 2:07.52, a second-and-a-half faster than four years ago.
Unrelenting, her record assault intentions, mere whispers prior to the race, were clear by 1100m. Here the clock read 3:10.57, almost identical to the 3:10.5 en route to her record. Forging on, she finally ran out of steam midway through the final bend, but still managed to finish well under the formidable indoor four-minute barrier for the third time. No other woman can claim that achievement.
While Dibaba went for broke from the outset, the race for second was a contest of patience. Kenyans Beatrice Chepkoech and Winny Chebet tried to maintain for the first 800 metres, but quick paid for those ambitions, both falling back over the next two laps. That played well into the hands of Konstanze Klosterhalfen, who often prefers to run alone. Passing the Kenyan duo, the German, who will celebrate her 21st birthday on 18 February, pushed on to eventually reach the line in 4:04.00, a personal best.
Chepkoech was third in 4:08.33 and Chebet fourth clocking 4:09.45.
In the men’s 60 was never in doubt from the 20-metre point. That’s when China’s Su Bingian shifted a gear to power to a clear lead, one he extended and carried through the finish. His 6.47 performance was an Asian record, eclipsing the 6.50 he set at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Portland 2016. His performance also equalled the world’s second fastest time this season.
The race for second was close, with Everton Clarke of Jamaica getting the nod over Yunier Perez who were both credited with 6.54. Michael Rodgers of the US was fourth in 6.55.
The women's 60m, not a World Indoor Tour event this season, was considerably closer, with a mere 0.03 separating the first four. Germans Tatjana Pinto and Lisa Mayer, European indoor champion Asha Philip of Great Britain and Swiss Mujinga Kambundji started well, drew nearly even by midway and reached the line virtually inseparable. When the dust settled, the victory went to Tatjana Pinto in 7.10 to add to her early season momentum.
"It was definitely close," said Pinto, who clocked a notable 7.12 in the heats, "so I'm very happy."
Mayer and Philip each clocked 7.12 and Kambundji 7.13 for fourth.