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Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba sets 1,500-meter world record

MONACO -- Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba powered down the homestretch to set a world record in the women's 1,500 meters at a Diamond League meet in Monaco on Friday.

Dibaba collapsed to the ground in apparent disbelief after crossing the line in 3 minutes, 50.07 seconds -- eclipsing the long-standing mark of 3:50.46 set by China's Qu Yunxia in 1993.

Roared on by a cheering crowd on a warm night at Stade Louis II stadium, the 24-year-old Dibaba crushed her personal best of 3:54.11 -- the leading time this year, which she set last week at a meet in Barcelona, Spain.

"I'm very happy the time is so fast, very happy for this record," Dibaba said, moments after milking the applause from the crowd. "Finally all of this preparation is paying off."

Despite being nearly four seconds slower last week in Barcelona, Dibaba felt sure she could get the record.

"With the training I did in Barcelona, I knew I was going to break it," Dibaba said through a translator. "I've worked hard to get here. I would like to thank all the people who helped me."

Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan was a distant second in 3:56.05 with American Shannon Rowbury third in 3:56.29.

Dibaba, a world indoor champion in the 1,500 and 3,000, will set her sights on her first major medal at the world championships next month in Beijing.

"Everyone is getting prepared for this, to win the gold medal. I am among them. I want to win the medal," said Dibaba, who is the younger sister of Tirunesh Dibaba, a three-time Olympic champion who won five world titles, all in the 5,000 and 10,000. "I want to do just like my sister, if not even better."

Several others, including Kenya's Asbel Kiprop in the men's 1,500, Bosnian Amel Tuka in the men's 800, American Bershawn Jackson in the men's 400 hurdles, American Francena McCorory and the women's 4x100 relay team, also set leading performances in the world this year.

American sprinter Justin Gatlin continued his fine form by clocking 9.78 to win the 100 meters, beating countryman Tyson Gay and Frenchman Jimmy Vicaut.

Gay, who earlier teamed up with Gatlin as the American men won the 4x100-meter relay, clocked 9.97, and Vicaut was timed in 10.03.

The time was 0.04 outside Gatlin's world-leading season best, but he is increasingly looking like the man to beat at the world championships as title holder Usain Bolt struggles with a leg injury.

"Makes me feel really good, to go out there and dominate such a stellar race today," Gatlin said. "The good thing is I have three weeks at home to get rest, make sure I have the best opportunity and [be] faster when I go to Beijing."

The star-studded American men's relay team, also featuring Trayvon Bromell, easily won in 37.87, with Mike Rodgers well clear of Yazaldes Nascimento as Portugal clocked 39.05 to finish second. The French team was third in 39.64.

Gatlin felt the time could have been better.

"We had some obstacles, first handover from my young teammate [Bromell] was not that good," Gatlin said. "I'm not sure, but this might be the order in which we will run in Beijing. I would accept the second leg."

Jackson clocked 48.23 in the 400 hurdles, pulling away strongly to finish ahead of Poland's Patryk Dobek, who set a personal best of 48.62, and American countryman Johnny Dutch, who clocked 48.67.

Mo Farah, the Olympic champion in the 5,000 and 10,000, finished fourth in the 1,500, gradually dropping off the pace as Kiprop posted the third-fastest time ever in 3:26.69. Only Kenyan Bernard Lagat (3:26.34) and Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj (3:26) have run faster.

"At the bell I saw 2:31-2:32, so I knew it could be a very fast time," Kiprop said. "I'm very satisfied, but I wanted a bit faster time."

Farah was overtaken by Algerian Taoufik Makhloufi and Moroccan Abdalaati Iguider two turns from the end and finished in 3:28.93, shy of his personal best of 3:28.81.

Shortly after Kiprop's outstanding performance, Tuka thrilled the Stade Louis II crowd with another leading time, winning the 800 in 1:42.51 in a close-fought finish with Nijel Amos of Botswana -- the Diamond League leader -- who set a season's best 1:42.66.

Caleb Mwangangi Ndiku did likewise, getting the best time this year of 7:35.13 in the men's 3,000. Ethiopian Yenew Alamirew was second in a season-best 7:36.39.

Pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie, world leader with 6.05 meters, won with an effort of 5.92 but clipped the bar going for 6.02.

Americans sealed a 1-2-3 in shot put, with Joe Kovacs winning with a personal-best, Diamond League and Herculis meet-record and world-leading throw this year of 22.56 meters, putting him ahead of Christian Cantwell's 21.24 and Reese Hoffa's mark of 21.08.

"Everything was clicking today," Kovacs said. "I know I have it in me."

In a shortened field of three teams, the American women took 1-2 in the 4x100 relay, with USA A beating USA B.

USA A, the team of English Gardner, Allyson Felix, Jenna Prandini and Kaylin Whitney, clocked 41.96 seconds.

"It's always fun to run with the girls," Felix said, looking ahead to Beijing. "I would accept [the] second leg in Beijing."

Prandini, meanwhile, pushed her claim for a place on the team for worlds.

"It was awesome, my debut in U.S. team," she said. "I would love to run in Beijing."

USA B clocked 42.27 with Spain a distant third in 44.48.

After McCorory improved on her world-leading time of the year with a new mark of 49.83, Candyce McGrone clocked a personal best of 22.08 to win the women's 200.

She was behind with 20 meters to go but surged ahead of Dafne Schippers at the line, with the Dutchwoman timed in 22.09. American Jeneba Tarmoh was third in 22.23.

In the women's 100 hurdles, Sharika Nelvis won in 12.46 seconds to lead an American 1-2-3.

Croatia's Sandra Perkovic, the reigning European, World and Olympic champion, won the women's discus with a throw of 66.80, with Dani Samuels of Australia second with 65.21 and American Gia Lewis-Smallwood getting her season best with 63.97.

Serbian Ivana Spanovic won the long jump with a season best of 6.87.