Semenya, other African favourites sweep to Oslo Diamond League wins

Ivory Coast's indoor world champion Murielle Ahoure needed a photo finish to beat Dina Asher-Smith in Oslo, but the runner-up did set a new British record (10.92) in the process. Vidar Ruud/NTB scanpix via AP

There may not have been many Africans on show at the Oslo Bislett Games but they lived up to their event favourite billing to enhance their IAAF Diamond League claims.

All of Hyvin Kiyeng, Murielle Ahoure, Caster Semenya and Elijah Manangoi won their events to make sure Africa remained unbeaten throughout the warm evening in Oslo.


In the women's 3000m steeplechase, Kenya's Hyvin Kiyeng's determination to stamp her authority over Emma Coburn (and silver medallist Courtney Frerichs) was evident as she held off the American world champion for the win. Coburn tried her hardest to reel Kiyeng in heading towards the line, but the Kenyan followed up her victory in Rome last week by taking the eight Diamond League points on offer with her winning time of 9:09.63.

Kenya's Daisy Jepkemei followed the pair home to take third in a race that did have some controversy. An unfortunate oversight with the steeple height meant Kiyeng and co. ran the first three laps having to hurdle at the men's height of 91cm before the error was corrected to the women's height of 76cm.


There was further drama in the women's 100m when the winner had to be determined via a photo finish.

As it happened, Murielle Ahoure of the Ivory Coast was given the nod over Briton Dina Asher-Smith in the women's 100m with her winning time being 10.91. Despite the disappointment of missing out on the win Asher-Smith's 10.92 set a new British record which brightened her mood.

"I'm over the moon. I can't believe it! I am so happy with how the race went and to get the British record is amazing," she said in the post-race mixed zone.

"This year is all about the focusing on the European Championships in Berlin in August so I will use the Diamond League circuit to prepare for that."

Commonwealth Games champion, Michelle-Lee Ahye of Trinidad and Tobago had to settle for third in 11.06, a season's best for her, which left Nigeria's Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor just off the podium in fourth and Carina Horn of South Africa came home in sixth.


In the women's 800m Caster Semenya claimed another full haul of points while cruising to a winning time of 1:57.25 - slower than what she delivered in Eugene last time out.

The South African said, "I expected a better pace, maybe at 1:55 level, so that we could be there easily at 1:57, but it did not happen. I was ready for a faster time, but also 1.57 is not bad. Of course I enjoy winning races and the times will come. I will have 800 in Paris, then Lausanne the 1500m. The goal is to top the Diamond League."

Meanwhile, in the battle to finish second behind Semenya, Olympic silver medallist Francine Niyonsaba edged Ethiopia's Habitam Alemu to cement her place behind Semenya in the qualification standings.


In the final event of the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Oslo, pre-race favourite Elijah Motonei Manangoi claimed the Bislett Dream Mile in 3:56.95.

Sadik Mikhou, the Morocco-born Bahraini, claimed a comfortable second in 3:57.10 but behind him there was a great battle for third place which had the crowd on the edge of their seats. As it happened, Ethiopia's Taresa Tolosa held off Norway's star Filip Ingebrigtsen to silence the partisan crowd.

Following the exciting race, Manangoi was left delighted to get back to winning ways.

"It is a special feeling to win the Dream Mile. Next time I want to do it again. It was so nice and tough race, although it looks easy. I was ready for any pace and that we were slower was according to my needs. I wanted to attack in last 100 metres as it happened. Next race is the Kenyan trials."