Johannesburg – Johan Cronje broke the 20-year-old South African record in the men's 1 500 metres, finishing eighth in the opening leg of the Diamond League season in Doha, Qatar, on Friday night.

Cronje was on the shoulders of the leaders with 300 metres to go in the metric mile, and while he fell off the pace on the final bend, he held on to cross the line in three minutes, 33.46 seconds (3:33.46).

Johan Landsman set the previous national mark of 3:33.56 in Zurich, Switzerland, in August 1993.

World champion Asbel Kiprop of Kenya won the race in 3:31.13.

Meanwhile, Cornel Fredericks finished third in the men's 400m hurdles in 49.35 seconds, and fellow South African LJ van Zyl, running his first race over the barriers this season from lane one, was sixth in 50.74.

Fredericks led for most of the race and was only passed after the final hurdle.

American Michael Tinsley, the Olympic silver medalist, won a tight finish in 48.92 ahead of countryman Bershawn Jackson. – Sapa