Report30 May 2024

Gebrhiwet threatens world 5000m record in Oslo


Hagos Gebrhiwet after winning the 5000m in Oslo (© Getty Images)

Hagos Gebrhiwet produced the standout performance of the Bislett Games – and one of the biggest surprises of the year so far – when winning the men’s 5000m in 12:36.73 at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Oslo on Thursday (30).

It was one of three meeting records and five world leads set on an enthralling night of athletics action in the Norwegian capital, just two months away from the Paris Olympic Games.

Going into the men’s 5000m, many eyes were on world record-holder and Olympic champion Joshua Cheptegei, two-time world cross-country champion Jacob Kiplimo and last year’s Bislett Games winner Yomif Kejelcha. But Gebrhiwet – who produced the first sub-13-minute run of his career on this track as a teenager back in 2012 – ensured his name won’t be forgotten in the lead-up to the Olympics.

The early pace was strong but not spectacular as the field was paced through the first 1000m in 2:33.13 and 2000m in 5:07.05. Addisu Yihune maintained that tempo through 3000m, reached in 7:41.05, with all the big contenders still in contention.

Kejelcha took control soon after and started to wind up the pace. Gebrhiwet stayed close to his fellow Ethiopian with Ugandan duo Kiplimo and Cheptegei close behind as 4000m was reached in 10:11.86, the previous kilometre being covered in 2:30.

Cheptegei was unable to hold on for much longer and started to drift back. Kejelcha continued to drive the pace but the challenge from Gebrhiwet and Kiplimo wasn’t fading, despite the increase in pace. Gebrhiwet struck as the bell sounded and moved into the lead, kicking past his compatriot and pulling away with each stride.

With a final lap of 54.99, Gebrhiwet charged through the line in 12:36.73 to win by more than two seconds from Kejelcha (12.38.95) – the first time in history that two men have broken 12:40 in the same race.

Gebrhiwet’s winning time is just 1.37 seconds shy of the world record Cheptegei set in 2020 and moves him to second on the world all-time list, one place ahead of Kenenisa Bekele, whose Ethiopian record Gebrhiwet broke.

Kiplimo held on for third, setting a PB of 12:40.96, while Spain’s Thierry Ndikumwenayo (12:48.10) and Yihune (12:49.65) also finished inside 12:50.

It was just the second time in history that 13 men have broken 13 minutes. Along with Gebrhiwet, there were national records for Guatemala’s Luis Grijalva (12:50.58), Switzerland’s Dominic Lokinyomo Lobalu (12:50.90), Sweden’s Andreas Almgren (12:50.94), France’s Jimmy Gressier (12:54.97) and South Africa’s Adriaan Wildschutt (12:56.67).

“I’m really happy with my time,” said Gebrhiwet, the world road 5km champion. “I set a PB when I first ran in Oslo, and now it’s even better. The conditions and the crowd were great. It was a very fast race and it wasn’t easy for me, but it went very well. I’ll now try to qualify for the Olympics in the 10,000m too.”

Georgia Griffith wins the 3000m in Oslo

Georgia Griffith wins the 3000m in Oslo (© Getty Images)

There were notable performances in two other endurance events in Oslo.

Australia’s Georgia Griffith continued her breakthrough to win the 3000m in an Oceanian record of 8:24.20. The field had been paced through 1000m in 2:50.34, then that pace was maintained through 2000m in 5:40.73.

The field became more strung out over the final kilometre as the pace increased. Griffith made a break in the closing stages and Ethiopia’s Likina Amebaw tried to come back, but her challenge was in vain as the Australian won in a meeting record of 8:24.20, 0.09 ahead of Amebaw in a race where the top six women finished inside 8:30.

In the closing event of the night, Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen was made to dive for the line to ensure a home victory for the Norwegian fans.

He controlled the pace in the second half, but still had 2019 world champion Timothy Cheruiyot for company on the final lap. The Kenyan challenged the Norwegian down the home straight and appeared to have timed his kick to perfection, but Ingebrigtsen collapsed over the line to get the verdict in a world-leading 3:29.74, 0.03 ahead of Cheruiyot. The first 11 finishers all set either season’s or personal bests.

Jakob Ingebrigtsen dives to win the 1500m in Oslo

Jakob Ingebrigtsen dives to win the 1500m in Oslo (© Getty Images)

Dos Santos, Hudson-Smith and Paulino impress over one lap

The fans in the packed-out stadium had been hopeful for victories from both of their home-grown Olympic champions, but Karsten Warholm suffered a rare defeat in the 400m hurdles.

The world record-holder, who was contesting his first race of the year in his specialist event, still put together an almost perfect race and looked to be on his way to victory as he blasted into an early lead and led through 300m.

But 2022 world champion Alison Dos Santos was close behind and started to gain on the Norwegian down the home straight. Just as the Brazilian was about to draw level, Warholm clipped the final barrier, which was just enough to throw off his rhythm and allow Dos Santos to take the lead.

Dos Santos powered through the line in a world-leading 46.63 – just 0.11 shy of Warholm’s meeting record – with the world champion finishing a close second in 46.70, still the fifth-fastest time of his career.

“It was a tough race, but I wanted to show I am there, I am ready and in good shape, and that I can go even faster,” said Dos Santos.

There were record-breaking performances over one lap of the track earlier in the programme, too.

World silver medallist Matt Hudson-Smith charged away from the field in the men’s 400m to break his own European record with 44.07. Kirani James, Olympic champion back in 2012, was second in a season’s best of 44.58.

In a clash of the podium from last year’s World Championships, Marileidy Paulino once again came out on top in the women’s 400m.

World silver medallist Natalia Kaczmarek led at the half-way stage, but Paulino kicked hard on the final bend and entered the home straight with a slight lead, forging ahead to win in a world-leading 49.30, just 0.07 shy of the meeting record. Kaczmarek was rewarded with a season’s best of 49.80 in second.

Shericka Jackson’s two-year winning streak in the 200m came to an end. The two-time world champion finished a distant fifth in 22.97 in a race won by 2019 world silver medallist Brittany Brown (22.32) with Marie-Josee Ta Lou-Smith  close second (22.36).

Elsewhere in the sprints, South Africa’s Akani Simbine took the men’s 100m. Britain’s Jeremiah Azu led at half way but then pulled up with what appeared to be a slight injury. Simbine, the Commonwealth champion, powered ahead to win in a season’s best of 9.94 from Japan’s Hakim Sani Brown (9.99). Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs was third in a season’s best of 10.03.

Alekna breaks father’s meeting record

The men’s discus contained the winners of the past five global titles, but it was new world record-holder Mykolas Alekna who came out on top, producing his fourth competition of the year beyond 70 metres and taking down a meeting record that had stood to his father Virgilijus since 2007.

World and Olympic champion Daniel Stahl took an early lead with 66.26m, but Alekna responded in the second round with 70.91m – a 40-centimetre improvement on the meeting record and a mark that remained the best of the night.

Australia’s Matt Denny moved into second place with a third-round throw of 67.61m, and Stahl improved to 66.80m in the same round, but no one could get near to the 21-year-old Lithuanian, who notched up his fifth victory of the year and now turns his attention to defending his European title in Rome at the start of June.

China’s Feng Bin produced her fifth successive competition beyond 67 metres to win the women’s discus. The 2022 world champion produced a second-round throw of 67.89m to beat multiple world and Olympic champion Sandra Elkasevic (66.48m), both women producing season’s bests.

South Africa’s Prudence Sekgodiso showed that her recent win in Marrakesh wasn’t a fluke as she came out on top once again in the women’s 800m. The 22-year-old had a comfortable lead with 200 metres to go; despite a fast finish from Natoya Goule-Toppin, Sekgodiso held on to win in 1:58.66.

Elsewhere on the track, Rushell Clayton led a Jamaican 1-2-3 in the women’s 400m hurdles, winning in 54.02 from compatriots Andrenette Knight and Janieve Russell.

USA’s KC Lightfoot found that 5.82m was sufficient to win the men’s pole vault by 10 centimetres from Emmanaouil Karalis and Ernest John Obiena.

The men’s triple jump was a lot closer as world champion Fabrice Hugues Zango won by just two centimetres from Algeria’s Yasser Triki, 17.27m to 17.25m.