Ethiopia’s Lamecha Girma, who has one Olympic and two world silver medals at the 3000m steeplechase, had a golden moment at the Meeting Hauts-de-France Pas-de-Calais on Wednesday (15), breaking the world indoor 3000m record with a stunning 7:23.81* run at the World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold event.
After a prolonged mano-a-mano challenge with Spain’s Mohamed Katir, both athletes dipped under the previous world record of 7:24.90 set by Kenya’s Daniel Komen in Budapest in 1998, Katir finishing second in a European record of 7:24.68.
It was fourth time lucky in Lievin for Girma, who had contested the 3000m at this meeting for the past three years. In 2020 he missed out on a top-three finish.
In 2021 he ran 7:27.98, one of the fastest times in history, but finished some way behind compatriots Getnet Wale and Selemon Barega. Girma won the 3000m here in 2022 but was a couple of seconds shy of his PB.
This time, though, the world indoor silver medallist was the man of the moment.
Led through 1000m in 2:28.49, they were right on schedule. As Girma took over, the clock showed 4:58.38 as he passed 2000m and he went on to race to a time of 7:23.81, taking almost a second off Komen’s 25-year-old mark.
It was the 11th world record to have been set at the Arena Stade Couvert since home runner Bruno Marie Rose won the European indoor 200m title in 20.36.
And this epic race, in which Katir shadowed the Ethiopian without managing to get past him, provided the crowning moment of a fifth World Indoor Tour Gold meeting of the season which saw five athletes – Keely Hodgkinson, Jakob Ingebrigtsen, Gudaf Tsegay, Miltiadis Tentoglou and Liadagmis Povea – set world-leading marks.
Both 400m meeting records were re-written by 400m hurdles specialists as Femke Bol of the Netherlands clocked 50.20 in the women’s race and Norway’s Karsten Warholm rounded off the night with a typically barnstorming effort to clock 45.51 in the men’s race.
And there was defeat in the men’s 60m for Italy’s Olympic 100m champion Marcell Jacobs, who had to give best to an effervescent Ferdinand Omanyala of Kenya.
All in all a full evening of excitement for a capacity crowd of 5000.
Lamecha Girma of Ethiopia breaks the world indoor 3000m record. Photo by Dan Vernon via World Athletics