Saturday, September 01, 2007

Osaka: DayEight - Women's 5000 M Final

5000 Meters (Women):Meseret Defar Wins a Slow Race
Meseret Defar forced the pace during the last two laps to win. In what has to be a disappointment, Meselech Melkamu finished 6th
and Gelete Burika finished 10th. Gelete was off the pace by 9 seconds. Kenya took the next three spots and increased its already impressive medal haul. Kenya is not done yet. With possible medals in the Women’s Marathon and Men’s 5,000M, it could end up with a huge pile of medals. The most impressive phenomena at this World Championship is the quite revival of Kenyan Athletics. More on that later.
Regarding the race tactic, Meselech Melkamu was quoted as saying:

“We had hoped to take first through third, but we did not succeed. We were aiming to break away with two laps to go, and we tried, but I could not keep up with the speed.”

Running a slow race and counting on out-kicking your opponent is dangerous in the 5000M. By slwoing the pace you risk turning marginal runners or runners who don't specialize in that event into contenders. All they have to do is hang-on for the last lap. Tell that to Ali Saidi-Sief of Algeria, who slowed down the men’s 5000M finals in the 2000 Olympic. With a lap to go he went on a sprint. To his big surprise, a relatively unknown kid by the name of Million Wolde was still hanging on with 200M to go. This was not supposed to happen. Ali Saidi-Sief ran out of gas and Million Wolde went on to win a gold. Million was lucky that day but was not able to replicate that victory. He was very content with bronze in Edmonton 2001 and faded after that.

The 5000M race is too dangerous to play the out-kicking game unless you are a great 1500M runner. My suspicion is that Meserte probably would have been a dominant 1500M if she had started her career a 1500M runner. She is maybe the only one that can pull this off consistently. Some would argue Tirunesh but I doubt this she could have out sprinted Meseret. I hope the men don't fall in this trap. Tariku is no Meseret.


Haddis said...

Gelete looked tired after the first round and i suspected that she would have a bad day. Meselech had a great winter campaign, but after mombassa she really struggled in the summer campaign. You may recall she raced meseret defar to the tape in the 3000 meter Indoor race where the WR was set. Having run 1-2-3-4 in Helsinki we only managed 1-6-10. So its a little dissapointing. But the gold is the most important thing.

Well done on you analysis ROOCHA

yekolotemari said...

Great run for Meseret and surprisingly the Kenyans. Nothing to take from them. Meselech did the usual but seemed a bit tired at the end. Gelete was all over the place. slowing down speeding up while running wide. I think she wastes a lot of energy. She did the same when she run the 1500 at the last championship (?). She has always done better running form the front.
I agree on the comment about the men. They have to push. I think that is the only way they can claim something. Tariku is not going to out sprint Lagat, Mottram, even, Kipchoge from a slow pace.

I am a bit disappointed as well. So far we only claimed the "medals we were extreme favorites in". No surprises from the Eth side. Kenya on the other hand, wow. They probably will get a couple of more medals.

Anonymous said...

Kenya is doing real good this time. I hope Ethiopias can find a way to run in the hot weather

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