Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Some Notes

Men's 800M Final.
Mohamed Amin finished last in a race that had a fast finish. He was out of position to respond when the big boys took off. He did show some flashes in the semifinals when he stormed from way back to win his heat. With experience and good coaching he can turn into a good runner.

Women's 3000 Steeplechase Final
Sofia Assefa fell on the first hurdle and yet finished 6th which indicates that she had a good shot at a medal. The problem with clearing hurdles is not limited to Sofia. Birtukan Adamu stumbled during the qualifying round.

Yuliya Zaripova of Russia ran a clinic. She ran from the front end to end dictating the race outcome.

Women's 1500M Semifinals
Gelete Burka failed to qualify. She started fading on the last lap and faded badly with 200M left. With about 150 meters left she stepped off the track. Time is passing her by and it's sad to see someone as talented as Gelete keep failing at major events.

Kalkidan looked good in her heat. Anytime Maryam Yusuf Jamal injected speed Kalkidan made sure to respond to maintain her lead over Maryam Yusuf Jamal.

Women's 5000M Heats
I thought Meseret looked much more comfortable at this distance than the 10,000. She ran from the front when she needed to and had the look of a confident runner. Sentayehu Ejigu looked a bit tentative but made it through.

There is something about Genzebe Dibaba. Big races don’t intimidate her. She looks like she has been running all her life. Maybe she has. There was a scary moment during the last lap when it looked like she was boxed in but she found her way out and sprinted to win her heat. Her sprint was very fluid. I should not put too much stock into qualifying round performances but she seems like she has the intangibles that a star has. The Kenyan women were at it again with team work and communication. It seems like we are seeing less and less communication among Ethiopian runners during the race.

Men's 1500M Heats
The two experienced runners Mekonnen Gebremedhin and especially Deresse Mekonnen ran from the front and avoided being tangled. While I thought Mekonnen Gebremedhin looked more fluid but liked how Deresse Mekonnen controlled his race. On the other hand Zebene Alemayehu did not impress and did not advance.

This should be a great final. I think Ethiopia have a couple of legitimate medal contenders in this race. The 1,500M is a very tactical race and very difficult to predict.

Men's 3000 Steeplechase Heats
Both runners played follow the leader to advance to the final. Nahom Mesfin did just enough. Roba Gari on the other hand ran with more confidence and focus. Brimin Kipruto looked a bit surprised when he could not close the gap on Roba at the end. Roba and Mesfin have in the past looked good in heats but were a notch below the top leaders in the finals. Will that pattern repeat?

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