Canadian Marco Arop, fresh off a world championship win in the men’s 800 metres, improved his personal best in the distance on his way to a second-place finish at a Diamond League meet in Xiamen, China, on Saturday.
The Edmonton native crossed the line in one minute 43.24 seconds, just behind Kenya’s Emmanuel Wanyonyi, who stopped the clock in 1:43.20.
Wanyonyi took the silver at the world championships in Budapest last week.
The tactics on Saturday were a bit different for Arop than his world championship victory – in that race he stayed near the back of the pack before powering his way to the front at the back end of the race. The Canadian was near the front of the race from the start, with Wanyonwi and Arop neck-and-neck for the last 50 metres.
The new friendly rivals seem to be bringing out the best in one another – Wanyonyi won the race but needed a new personal best to do it.
After the race, Arop told reporters he’s got his sights set on the Paris Olympics next summer, and that competitors like Wanyoni keep him motivated.
“I am in good shape right now [and] really excited, ” Arop said. “I think I can do better in the future and I will come back. I think those young athletes also inspire me to do my best and what I should do is just to believe [in] myself.
“I am really looking forward to the Olympic Games and I will stay in good health to prepare for the competition.”
Arop ended Saturday’s race just four-hundredths of a second off the Canadian record, held by Brandon McBride since 2018.
Jamaican Hansle Parchment produced a superb performance to stun world champion Grant Holloway in the men’s 110m hurdles to win in 12.96 seconds.
Holloway had to settle for third after leading through the first six hurdles as fellow American Daniel Roberts finished strongly to take second place in 13.03 seconds.
Earlier, 2012 Olympic champion Kirani James got the elite track events off to a thrilling start, as the Grenadian edged American Quincy Hall in a photo finish to bag the men’s 400m victory with a season’s best effort of 44.38 seconds.
“I feel great. My execution today was good,” said the 31-year-old James. “The audience and the stadium is fantastic. It feels pretty good to have my season’s best here.”
Jamaica’s Rusheen McDonald was third, coming home in 44.82 seconds.
World cross-country champion Beatrice Chebet cruised to victory in the women’s 3,000m event with a world-leading time of eight minutes, 24.05 seconds, finishing ahead of Mexico’s Laura Galvan and fellow Kenyan Margaret Akidor.
Olympic champion Soufiane El Bakkali of Morocco eased to the title in the men’s 3,000m steeplechase in 8:10.31 to wrap up his fourth win of the season on the back of his worlds crown.
Rushell Clayton led a Jamaican sweep of the top three in the women’s 400m hurdles, clocking 53.56 seconds to beat Andrenette Knight and Janieve Russell.
The Diamond League heads to Brussels on Sept. 8 before the season concludes in Eugene on Sept. 16-17