Ivorian Arthur Cissé and Kenya’s Hyvin Kiyeng were the two stand out African performers at the coronavirus-conscious ISTAF athletics meet in Berlin on Sunday.
Only 3,500 spectators were allowed into Berlin’s cavernous Olympiastadion with numbers severely restricted due to shielding and hygiene measures designed to restrict the risk of infection. Normally 45,000 fans would attend the world’s oldest track and field meeting.
Originally built by Werner March for the 1936 Summer Olympics. During the Olympics, the record attendance was thought to be over 100,000. Today the stadium is part of the Olympiapark Berlin.
Since renovations in 2004, the Olympiastadion has a permanent capacity of 74,475 seats and is the largest stadium in Germany.
Ivorian sprinter Arthur Cissé was first in the men’s 100m, finishing with a season’s best 10.10 secs. Deniz Almaz of Germany came second in 10.25 secs while Italy’s Lamont Marcell Jacobs finished third in 10.26 secs.
Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands won the women’s race in 11.26 secs ahead of reigning African champion Marie-Josée Ta Lou. The 31-year old clocked 11.38 secs to place second while Krista Awuah of Germany placed third in 11.44 secs.
In the 3,000 m Steeplechase World Champion and world record holder Beatrice Chepkoech and fellow-Kenyan Hyvin Kiyeng were ahead early in the race. Chepkoech was in the lead, however when they entered the home straight Kiyeng burst past her to win with a world lead of 9:06.14.
Beatrice Chepkoech crossed the line in 9:10.07. Marusa Mismas of Slovenia ran a national record of 9:20.68 for third place.
“Due to the coronavirus I was stuck in Kenya and kept training. This was my first competition this year and I am grateful for this. If there are opportunities for other races I will compete,” said Hyvin Kiyeng, who was the World Champion in 2015.
The Internationales Stadionfest (ISTAF) is an annual track and field athletics meeting at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, Germany. It was first held in July 1921 at the Deutsches Stadion, which was replaced from 1937 by the Olympiastadion.
Since 2006 ISTAF has been sponsored by DKB and officially known as the DKB-ISTAF and from 2010, has been part of the IAAF World Challenge, the second tier of global one day athletics events.
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