Monday, August 27, 2007

Osaka: Day Three - Kenenisa Day

Anyway you slice or dice it, what Kenenisa Bekele does today will be a big story. Win, the headlines would be about how he is the greatest ever at the age of 25 with many prime years remaining. Lose, and the story would be about how he choked and memories of Mombassa would be rekindled. Without a doubt this is his race to lose. Hopefully the pressure will not get to Kenenisa.

Pressure aside, the race should be a very interesting. Sileshi Sihine has the seasons’ fastest time. Look for him to challenge Kenenisa. Gebre-egziabher Gebremariam is back. He has been in looking good this season and is looking to do better than his disappointing 15th place finish in 2005. The very talented Tadesse Tola, the top Ethiopian finisher in Mombassa, will be making his World Championship début. Incidentally, this 19 year-old has the 10th fastest time this season and has impressed with his steady improvement.

1500 Meters Semi-Finals (Men): No Finalist
Entering the last lap, Mekonnen Gebremehdin was leading his semi-final heat before fadeing to an 8th place finish, failing to advance. Clearly Mekonnen was in the mix but it will take experience and refinement before he becomes a serious contender. By entering athelets in consecutive World Championships, EAF is signalling that it is serious about this this event . In 2005, Markos Geneti and Mulugeta Wendimu were entered. Markos Geneti made it to the semi-finals. The EAF needs to continue it's commitment to this event.

10,000 Metres (Men): Kenenisa Bekele Threepeat
Gold and Silver for Ethiopia. Kenenisa covered a challenge from Sileshi Sihine and sprinted away to gold, running a 55.90 last lap. Gebre-egziabher finsihed a respectable 6th and despite being lapped the young Tadesse Tola finsihed 13th. This was a solid performance and should silence the Kenenisa doubters.

If you missed the race, I have plagiarized the live coverage from the IAAF blog because there was no good way of likning to the blog. Note, the blogger has Gebre-egziabher and Tadesse Tola mixed up. The times in the blog are Osaka time.

21:40 : The 10,000m flag is out now, and with it, the Ethiopian flags.

21:44 : World Cross champion Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea is leading the 10,000m, followed by Tola Tadesse of Ethiopia and defending champion Kenenisa Bekele. The pace is nowhere near as sluggish as the women were on Saturday; the pack is strung out in a long line.

21:46 : Tadesse of Ethiopia takes over the lead from Tadese of Eritrea at 2km.

21:48 : Tadese and Tadesse keep trading the lead. They're joined by Kenyan Josphat Kiprono Menjo, with more close behind.

21:51 : There are twelve in the 10,000m lead pack, all African excepting Abdirahman of the USA, who was born in Somalia, and Abdulla of Qatar, born in Kenya.

21:53 : The pack continues to dwindle: now there are ten, and they lose one or two with every lap.

21:56 : Abdullah just stepped off the track with 12 laps remaining. The pack is now nine: three Ethiopians, three Kenyans, an Eritrean, an American, and a Ugandan, Boniface Kiprop.

21:58 : Zersenay Tadesse of Eritrea is doing the pace work, as he's done in many races like this. He may hope Bekele will wither as he did in Mombasa, but he'll need to thin the pack down more to run away with the win. They're down to eight--Kiprop's off--with nine laps remaining, and they're starting to lap runners.

22:01 : Now they've dropped a Kenyan; Menjo is off the back. Seven remain in the pack: Tadese, Tadesse, Bekele, Sihine, Ndambiri, Mathathi. Looks like six: Abdirahman is falling off next.

22:04 : Bekele into second with two kilometres remaining. Now it's four: Tadese, Bekele, Mathathi, Sihine, and they're bunched up to pounce on Tadese. They're lapping Gebremariam.

22:05 : Mathathi moves with three laps to go, and Tadese is out the back door immediately. Bekele and Sihine cover the move.

22:06 : It's Mathathi, Sihine, and Bekele, gathering strength for another move. Bekele is struggling!

22:06 : At the bell, Sihine goes, Bekele covers!

22:07 : Bekele up with less than 200m remaining!

22:08 : 28.0 for Bekele's last 200m, unofficially. 55.90 for the last 400m.

22:11 : Bekele and Sihine are taking their lap of honour together. 27:05.90 for Bekele; 27:09.03 for Sihine, still the fastest in the world this year. Bekele is holding up three fingers for his third consecutive win at 10,000m.


asayehegn said...

Congrats to all ethiopians,

HE has made it again with an astonishing finish. Sileshi was also at his best, had it not been for kenenisa.

Expect for more medals? NO problem, there are lots to be seen-5000m both men and women.

yekolotemari said...

THe 1500 guy, Mekonnen Gebremehdin, is gutsy. I think he is going to be a very good runner. Unlike Wendimu and Markos, he also has a 1500 runner physique. He was tangled up today. He should have qualified. He will win few races. Watch out.

roocha said...

I am steaming after watching several replay of the first heat of the men's 1500 semi. Mekonnen Gebremedhin was robbed out of making it to the final! He missed it by 7/100th of a second and he was clearly interfered with the unbelievably selfish Frenchman Baala. At one point after getting pushed, Mekonnen is almost completely sideways before he gains his composure and runs thru to the finish to salvage the seventh place he got. He undoubtedel would have qualified if it wasn't for Baala's pushing. I wonder if the Ethiopian team filed a protest as they well should. Mekonnen looks like he has all it takes to be a great 1500 runner and I look forward to see more of his races in the future.

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