Edmonton runner Marco Arop extends podium streak, placing 3rd in Paris

Marco Arop made it five podium finishes in as many Diamond League races this season with a third-place effort in the men’s 800 metres at the Meeting de Paris on Saturday.

Racing for the third time in eight days, the Edmonton runner crossed the finish line in one minute 44.74 seconds behind winner Wyclife Kinyamal (1:43.94) and fellow Kenyan Ferguson Rotich (1:44.45) who won a silver medal at the recent Tokyo Olympics.

Arop stepped on the track at Stade Charléty fresh off consecutive Diamond League victories at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore., and in Lausanne, Switzerland.

In early July, Arop placed second and third over a five-day span on the professional track and field circuit in Stockholm and Monaco.

WATCH | Arop reaches 800-metre podium for 3rd time in 8 days:

Edmonton’s Arop finishes 3rd as Kenyans go 1-2 in men’s 800m race

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Edmonton’s Marco Arop finished in third place as Kenyans Wyclife Kinyamal and Olympic silver medallist Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich finishes first and second in the men’s 800-metre race at the Diamond League meet in Paris. 7:00

The 22-year-old didn’t advance to the Olympic final after clocking 1:44.90 in the semifinal round.

A traditional front-runner, Arop changed his tactics upon returning to the track and posted his first Diamond League win in come-from-behind fashion.

His season- and personal-best of 1:43.26 is only 6-100ths of a second off Brandon McBride’s Canadian record.

Sprinter Aaron Brown of Toronto was the only other Canadian to earn a top-three finish on this day as he finished behind Americans Fred Kerley and Kenny Bednarek in the men’s 200.

Photo finish

Brown stopped the clock in 20.20 in a slight tailwind, matching the time of his sixth-place effort in the Olympic final. The Florida resident has only run under 20 seconds once this season, going 19.99 in the semifinals in Tokyo.

WATCH | Brown downed by American duo in men’s 200 metres:

American Fred Kerley wins 200m in a photo finish, Toronto’s Aaron Brown 3rd

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American Fred Kerley beat compatriot Kenneth Bednarek in a photo finish in the men’s 200-metre race, while Toronto’s Aaron Brown finished in third place at the Diamond League meet in Paris. 4:49

The 29-year-old ran 20.18 in more gusty conditions on Thursday in Lausanne.

Kerley, who won silver in the Olympic 100, delivered a 19.79 PB on Saturday to prevail in a photo finish after overtaking Bednarek in the final seven metres.

The 22-year-old Bednarek opened the season with a 19.65 in Miramar, Fla., went 19.78 at U.S. Olympic trials in late June before winning silver in Tokyo in 19.68. On Thursday in Lausanne, he posted a winning time of 19.65.

A week ago, Matt Hughes left his Toronto home for Paris with “big goals in mind” and fell only 21-100ths of a second shy of matching his 8:13.56 SB from the Olympic heats in Saturday’s 3,000 steeplechase, placing fifth of 14 finishers.

The 32-year-old native of Oshawa, Ont., sat near the back of the pack early on, made a move to sixth and remained there at the bell lap with 400 metres to go.

WATCH | Hughes 5th, El Bakkali injured in men’s steeplechase:

Olympic champion Soufiane El Bakkali injured in steeplechase race

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Tokyo 2020 Olympic champion Soufiane El Bakkali of Morocco was injured after colliding with the first barrier in the men’s 3,000-metre steeplechase race at the Diamond League meet in Paris. Benjamin Kigen led a Kenyan sweep of the race, while Matt Hughes of Oshawa, Ont., finished fifth. 2:48

In Tokyo, Hughes delivered his best Olympic performance in men’s steeplechase, clocking 8:16.03 on a wet track for the best-ever placing by a Canadian in the event.

Soufiane El Bakkali, who became Morocco’s first men’s Olympic champion when he crossed the line in 8:08.90 on Aug. 2, was knocked out of Saturday’s competition barely 300 metres into the race when he ran into the first barrier and suffered a cut on the inside of his thigh.

6 PBs in women’s 3,000

Benjamin Kigen led a Kenyan sweep of the podium by posting a 2021 world-leading time of 8:07.12 ahead of Abraham Kibiwot (8:09.35) and Leonard Kipkemoi Bett (8:10.21 SB).

Toronto native Gabriela DeBues-Stafford was the lone Canadian woman competing in Paris and was 10th of 13 finishers in 8:44.21 in the 3,000, nearly six seconds off her 8:38.51 SB.

Six women posted career-best times, including winner Francine Niyonsaba in a world-leading 8:19.08 for a Burundi record. She also took down Olga Yegorova’s meet record the Russian held since July 6, 2001.

Rounding out the podium was Ejgayehu Taye of Ethiopia and Margaret Kipkemboi of Kenya in 8:19.52 and 8:21.53, respectively, both PBs.

Toronto resident Kate Van Buskirk, who made her Olympic debut in Tokyo at age 34 in the women’s 5,000, paced the first half of Saturday’s race.

In a much-anticipated women’s 100, reigning Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah won for the seventh time in her past eight races in a meet record 10.72 seconds to defeat Jamaican teammate Shericka Jackson (10.97) and Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith (11.06).

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, also of Jamaica, held the previous mark of 10.74 from July 4, 2015, but she was unable to race Saturday due to reported tightness in her hamstrings after finishing in a 10.60 PB, ahead of Thompson-Herah (10.64) in Lausanne.

Thompson-Herah, 29, had run the second-fastest 100 of all-time a week ago in a blistering 10.54 to win at the Prefontaine Classic.

WATCH | Thompson-Herah takes down Fraser-Pryce’s meet record in Paris:

Elaine Thompson-Herah bests Shericka Jackson as Jamaicans sprint to 1-2 finish

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Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah beat countrywoman Shericka Jackson in the women’s 100-metre race at the Diamond League meet in Paris. 5:31

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