Romanian Gabriela Szabo set a European women’s 3,000 meters record on Friday when she clocked eight minutes 21.42 seconds at the Monaco Golden League meeting.
The Olympic and world champion sliced 0.22 seconds off the previous mark set eight years ago by Irishwoman Sonia O’Sullivan.
“When I ran 804 last season and broke the Romanian record, I thought that was the fastest I could run,” said Szabo. “I was not expecting to run a European record here tonight.
“I had not planned a record at all. I could feel something but I wasn’t expecting anything that fast. I can now say that I feel ready to compete. My body felt well.”
Four other athletes; Benjamin Limo, Wilson Kipketer, Hicham El Guerrouj and Ana Guevara set year’s world bests during the meeting.
Guevara sliced 0.26 seconds off her own year’s best with 49.25 seconds to defeat Lorraine Fenton of Jamaica and Jearl Miles-Clark of the United States in the 400 meters. She had set her previous best of 49.51 seconds in Rome just seven days ago.
Denmark’s Wilson Kipketer cruised to victory in the 800 meters, 1.49 seconds faster than Russian Yuri Borzakovski in Turin on June 6.
In the 3,000 meters, Kenyan Benjamin Limo outclassed a strong field to slice 1.30 seconds off his own best performance of the year in the 3.000 meters.
Moroccan Olympic and world champion Hicham El Guerrouj recorded three minutes 27.34 seconds in the 1,500 meters. His previous best was 309.87 at the Paris Saint Denis Golden League meeting.
Marion Jones equalled Ukranian Zhanna Pintusevich-Block’s world best of the year in 10.84 seconds with a convincing win in the women’s 100 meters. Another American Olympic and world champion Maurice Greene confirmed he was back in top form after being defeated twice by Briton Dwain Chambers at the beginning of the European season by running his second 100 meters in a week in 9.97 seconds. The results meant Jones, Guevara and El Guerrouj are still on course for a share of the 50 kilograms of gold offered to athletes who win all seven of their disciplines in the Golden League meetings.
After four meetings, in Oslo, Paris and Rome, American Gail Devers and Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic are also unbeaten.