Nicholas Kipkoech, who placed fourth at the Kenyan Olympic Trials 800m, was beaten by a solar-powered car in a “man-versus-machine” 600m race at the Brussels Diamond League meet on Friday.
Kipkoech was caught from behind by the car, which presumably needed much more time than Kipkoech to reach its top speed. Kipkoech appeared to have nearly a 150-meter lead in the early stages.
“It was strange to compete in this race but funny at the same time,” Kipkoech said, according to the IAAF. “I was pleased to have been choosen because it was something new, never done before. I knew the car wasn’t fast in the beginning but felt it was coming too quickly at the end. Losing was not a problem for me: I took a lot of fun and I´m on the podium!”
The car won in 1:13.17, 3.53 seconds ahead of Kipkoech. The world record in the 600m, which is not an Olympic event, is held by American Johnny Gray.
Gray’s time — 1:12.81 — would have beaten the car on Friday.
World record holder Brigid Kosgei withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon due to a right hamstring injury that has bothered her for the last month.
“My training has been up and down and not the way I would like to prepare to be in top condition,” was posted on Kosgei’s social media. “We’ve decided it’s best I withdraw from this year’s race and get further treatment on my injuries in order to enter 2023 stronger than ever.”
Kosgei, a 28-year-old Kenyan mother of twins, shattered the world record by 81 seconds at the 2019 Chicago Marathon. She clocked 2:14:04 to smash Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s record from 2003.
Since, Kosgei won the 2020 London Marathon, took silver at the Tokyo Olympics, placed fourth at the 2021 London Marathon and won this past March’s Tokyo Marathon in what was then the third-fastest time in history (2:16:02).
Ethiopian Tigist Assefa moved into the top three by winning the Berlin Marathon last Sunday in 2:15:37.
The London Marathon women’s field includes Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei, a winner in New York City (2019) and London (2021), and Yalemzerf Yehualaw, who was the Ethiopian record holder until Assefa won in Berlin.
The men’s field is headlined by Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest male marathoner in history, and Brit Mo Farah, a four-time Olympic champion on the track.
Dmitriy Balandin, the Kazakh swimmer who pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the 2016 Rio Olympics, retired at age 27.
“Today I would like to announce the end of my sports career,” Balandin said last week, according to Kazakhstan’s Olympic Committee. “I am still inspired. A new phase of my life begins. I have a lot of cool projects in my head that will soon be implemented.”
Balandin reportedly has coaching aspirations.
In 2016, he won the Olympic men’s 200m breaststroke out of lane eight as the last qualifier into the final. He edged American Josh Prenot by seven hundredths of a second and became Kazakhstan’s first Olympic swimming medalist.
He followed that up with 11th- and 17th-place finishes in the breaststrokes in Tokyo last year.