Sunday, September 02, 2007

Osaka: Day Nine - Closing Day

There are two events of interest, the Women's Marathon and the Mens 5000M. A medal is not guaranteed in either event.

The Women's marathon starts are 7:00AM Osaka time. Considering the weather at 4:00 am in Osaka was 79F degrees (26c) with humidity, it is a long shot for an Ethiopian runner to come through. In addition, the leading ladies in this event Gete Wami and Berhane Adere are sitting out this one. The experienced Shitaye Gemechu leads the Ethiopian pack. Shitaye has run the three previous World Championships, 7th in Edmonton, 10th in Paris, 22nd in Helsinki. The squad includes Askale Magarsa , winner of the 2007 Paris Marathon, Dire Tune winner of the 2007 Houston Marathon, and Adanech Zekiros winner of the 2007 P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon. This is a talented squal. Lets hope youth can prevail.

I don't hold high hopes for the the Men's 5000M. Tariku showed confidence and poise as he controlled the pace of his qualifying heat. But, I very much doubt he can do the same in the final. With just two Ethiopians running in this race it will be difficult to use team tactics. The failure of Bekana Daba to qualify is costly because he could have been a great rabbit. The Ethiopians need a fast race but not an all-out-sprint-start-to-finish. Basically the race has got to be fast enough to eliminate all the 1500 specialist but not too fast such that it favors fast- even runners. If the pace is just right Tariku and Abraham can then use their kick to destroy the weakend 1500M runners and the slower 10000M type of runners. Setting the right pace will be hard work. While both Abraham and Tariku can medal I will be tickled with one medal. Any color will do.

Marathon (Women):They Melted Away
It was a hot day and the race pace was dictated by Japanese and Chinese women. the Top Ethiopian finisher Askale Megersa Tafa finished 22nd. Early in the race, Askale and eventual winner Catherine Ndereba were dropped by the lead pack. Askale did her best to stay in contact with the lead pack. Then, when Ndereba made a slow surge to rejoin the lead pack, Askale tried to keep up with Ndereba but was unable to do so. Askale was physically hurting by the time she hit the 30km mark. What I liked about her run was that she was not afraid to take punishment. Adanech Zekiros finished 47th. Robe Tola needs a mention for her leisurely 3:26:45, coming in almost one hour after the winner was in. Dire Tune Arissi did not finish. Veteran Shitay Gemechu did not start this race. This was another disaster. Poor result and in both the Men's and Women's marathon show poor preparation or team selection. It's time to start pointing fingers at the coaching staff.


5000 Meters (Men):Same Tactics, Same Poor Results
Tariku finished 5th and Abraham Cherkos finished 8th. Of all the distance tack events them Men's 5000M is the one event that has not been dominated by Ethiopians. Two failures are this distance by Kenenisa should have proven out what works and what does not. You would think Ethiopian coaches would learn from experience and adjust. But NO. Tariku and Abraham were content sitting in the pack as if they were running a 10000M race. Who do these guys think they are going to out-kick? Lagat the 1500M Champ? The coaches have to stop this silliness.

My supicion is that instead of coaching the next time around the coaches will try to pressure Kenenisa and Sileshi to run in this event. The trick they play is that if Kenenisa can't win it's not a coaching problem it becomes a Kenenisa problem.


Kenya's Success: Congratulation to Kenya! On Sunday Kenya won 3 more medals (2 Gold Medal, and 1 Silver.) Kenya has won a total of 13 medals. Ethiopia just 4. They have done a great job! We have been out classed. More on that later.

9 comments:

yekolotemari said...

Thanks Roocha.
5000m. What were they thinking?
It seems they were content to lose to Lagat and were going to pick up whatever was left from a sprint finish off a slow pace. They got smoked. Their attitude sucks. It is better to give it all and lose.

Good to see Kenya coming back.

abatagobata said...

Lagat said

"I was surprised that the pace was so slow, that was good for me. Everybody waited until the last lap. I was waiting until the last 100 m. I think I ran a smart race. I was running 52.8 at last 400 m? That is awesome."

roocha said...

All the daily analysis were written by WELEMTA- Great Job!

As for the men's 5000M, I only need to repost my comment from Thursday:

"Yekolotemari- you hit the nail on the head. Lagat CAN NOT be allowed to sit and kick off a slow pace. These guys need to know (I hope their coaches can figure this much) that the pace needs to be fast from the gun! Otherwise Lagat will walk away with 5000M gold in addition to the 1500 gold he got yesterday, in an EXACT replay of what El Guerouj did at the Athens Olympics in 2004. There is a definite danger that Ethiopia can be shut out of medals in the men's 5000M!"

Haddis said...

Tariku and Abreham did not do well at the African Champs either. Where the pace was around 13:10 and got outkicked by the Ugandan kid. I am not sure if they are having issues with fitness. Even the highly regarded Mottram faded in these championships. The athletes try to peak for the championships... and i am not sure if Abreham and Tariku are at there peak shape right now. It will be interesting to see what they run in the coming weeks.

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Anonymous said...

This is in reference to Lagat's coach James Li:

"Li was stunned by how the race developed.

"It's almost like they just handed it to him," Li said. "It's like you win the first one (the 1,500) and they say, 'Here's a bonus.' It was perfect for him."

Nebiyou said...

by the way, did not notice roocha and welemta were different persons:) Thanks for both.

Haddis,
You are right. The only other explanation is that the two were not in a good shape to push the pace. I still think they should have tried.

Anonymous said...

At some point, some of the young need to mature, hone their knowledge in race techniques and ultimately their conditioning to reach the enxt level. Abraham and Tariku need to elevate themselves to next. Racing at the slow pace while a 1500m specialist id among them is unacceptable. Kenenissa would have recognized that and picked up the pace in real time to avoid a 200m sprint. That's the difference.

It's unfair to expect Haile or Kenenissa to win it all for Ethiopia. Fortunately, we're blessed with good athletes. It's up to coaches and runners themselves to propel their athletics to where Kenenissa and Haile are.

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