By Mike Rowbottom at the Qatar SC Stadium in Doha

Asbel Kiprop heads for 1500m victory at the 2014 IAAF Diamond League meeting in Doha ©Getty ImagesKenya's former Olympic and double world 1500 metres champion Asbel Kiprop produced one of the finest runs of his career here in the opening 2014 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Diamond League meeting on a night of outstanding performances and vibrant support which will have done little harm to lift the city's hopes of hosting the 2019 World Championships.

Kiprop won a pulverising race which saw six men finish inside 3min 31.00sec, clocking a 2014 world-leading 3:29.18.

And when his compatriot Hellen Obiri set an Area and Diamond League record of 8:20.68 in the final event of the evening, a 3,000m which saw Ethiopia's world indoor champion Genzebe Dibaba run a personal best only good enough for sixth place, the joy of the large Kenyan contingent in the Stadium was complete.

Obiri's effort was the best ever by a non-Chinese athlete.

Hellen Obiri salutes her outstanding 3000m victory at the 2014 IAAF Diamond League meeting in Doha ©Getty ImagesKenya's Obiri salutes her outstanding 3,000m victory at the openng 2014 IAAF Diamond League meeting in Doha ©Getty Images

There was spectacular action too in the field events, where Ivan Ukhov, Russia's enigmatic Olympic high jump champion, gave another demonstration of his startling ability as he rose above the challenge of three other hugely talented athletes who have helped dynamise the event in the last couple of years to win with an effort of 2.41 metres.

It was a 2014 world lead, a Diamond League record and, of course, a meeting record.

The Kenyan track performances were something of a dampener for the flag-waving Ethiopian contingent who had also animated proceedings, but those fans had the memory of an equally eye-catching victory over 800m by their 20-year-old world indoor and outdoor champion Mohammed Aman after he had passed his contemporary, Olympic silver medallist Nijel Amos of Botswana, in the final five metres after a teeth-baring sprint down the home straight.

It was a measure of the quality of the men's 1500m race that the Olympic champion, Algeria's Taoufik Makhloufi, set a personal best of 3:30.40 in only his sixth race since winning gold at London 2012, and yet only finished fourth.

Ivan Ukhov registers his satisfaction after clearing 2.41 in the Doha high jump event ©Getty ImagesRussia's Ivan Ukhov registers his satisfaction after clearing 2.41m in the Doha high jump event
©Getty Images

The climax of the 3,000m was equally gripping as Dibaba, who broke three world indoor records earlier this year before taking the world indoor title two months ago, looked uncomfortable as she led through the bell with six runners queuing behind her.

Dibaba maintained her challenge until the final bend, when she began to fade under the challenge of Kenya's Mercy Cherono, who pulled clear as she entered the home straight.

But, just as it seemed Cherono had earned a famous victory, her compatriot Obiri appeared at her right shoulder and passed her in the final 15 metres.

Cherono was rewarded with a time of 8:21.14, one of nine personal bests recorded in the race.

Dibaba's effort of 8:26.21 was well inside her previous best outdoor mark from last year of 8:37.00.

"I don't know what went wrong," said Dibaba.

Not a quote you often associate with an athlete who has set a personal best.

Kemi Adekoya produced one of the surprises of the meeting in what was her first race since switching representation to Bahrain.

The 21-year-old former Nigerian she held off all challengers from lane one to win the women's 400m hurdles in 54.59sec, the fastest time run this year and a Bahrain record.

Adekoya, who has been training all winter in Bahrain, said: "I swear I did not expect to win.

"There are so great professional athletes running here and I was so scared to run against them.

"I can tell you I really pushed me like never.

"And I am ready to show even more of it.

"I am aiming at 53 seconds now and I know I am able to do it.

"It will surely happen.

"The heat was no problem for me and I hope that I will fight for the Diamond Trophy also at later meetings."

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