Mboma enhances sprint name in Brussels

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Namibia's Christine Mboma has cemented her growing reputation as a sprint champion of the future with victory over a strong field in the women's 200m in Brussels.

The Olympic silver medallist, aged 18, left it late to pass Jamaica's Shericka Jackson and British world champion Dina Asher-Smith, second and third respectively, winning in 21.84 seconds.

Friday's time was just three-hundreds of a second off the personal best she ran in Tokyo.

The race was without double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson-Herah, who was to run in Brussels but dropped out due to a strained Achilles tendon.

Mboma and Namibian teammate Beatrice Masilingi both made the Tokyo final in the 200 metres, after they were withdrawn from the 400m, arguably their better event, after tests revealed their natural testosterone levels were too high.

After the race, Mboma said she was convinced she could run faster yet, with her initial focus on the 200 metres.

"I think in one or two years I will start running the 100 metres too and see what will happen. I'll just try it to see," she said.

Dutch 5,000 and 10,000 metre Olympic champion Sifan Hassan set a Brussels meeting record and world leading time for 2021 of four minutes, 14.74 seconds for the rarely run mile.

The Ethiopian-born runner, who was also Olympic bronze medallist in the 1,500m, had mooted bidding for a world record at the 10,000m in Brussels, but said she opted for the shorter distance due to fatigue.

For most of the race, she had only pacemakers for company, seeking to keep her on course to break her own world record. In the end, she was a little over two seconds outside that personal best from 2019.

"It is a beautiful time," the Dutch track star said. "After Tokyo I was so tired so I just wanted to run the short distance."

With Hassan skipping the 5,000, victory went to Francine Niyonsaba in a personal best time of 14:25.34 that was also a Burundi national record.

Niyonsaba, the 2016 Olympics silver medallist over 800, has stepped up to 5,000 after she was blocked from her favoured event because of rules restricting runners with elevated natural testosterone levels.

"I still do not know if I like the long distance more than the 800 metres, but I love challenges," Niyonsaba. "I won't think too much about it because it is what it is."

Nearly 30,000 people in the 45,000 capacity King Badouin stadium also saw US sprinter Fred Kerley, silver medallist in Tokyo, win a narrow 100m victory over compatriot Trayvon Bromell, the fastest man in 2021.

In a photo finish, Kerley dipped in 9.94 seconds, Bromell in 9.97 and fellow American Michael Norman in 9.98.

Olympic champion Armand Duplantis of Sweden was a clear winner in the pole vault with a 6.05m leap, three centimetres above his winning vault in Tokyo.

Olympic silver medallist Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich of Kenya was also a clear winner in the 800m in one minute, 43.81 seconds.

In the women's 800m, British Olympic silver medallist Keely Hodgkinson had to settle for second again, this time behind Jamaica's Natoya Goule, who won in 1:58.09.

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