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Report24 Jul 2022

Tsegay triumphs to add 5000m title to 1500m silver in Oregon


Gudaf Tsegay wins the 5000m at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 (Β© Getty Images)

It was a 5000m race that came down the final 100m, Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay using her 1500m speed to prevail in a thrilling sprint finish and gain her first global outdoor gold on the penultimate day of the World Athletics Championships Oregon22.

The world indoor 1500m record-holder, who claimed the indoor title in that discipline in Belgrade in March, returned to the track five days after claiming 1500m silver behind Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon at Hayward Field and she had the 5000m title as her target. After a tactical test, she achieved her aim, clocking 14:46.29 as little more than a second separated the top three. Kenya’s 2018 world U20 winner Beatrice Chebet was right behind her, securing silver in 14:46.75, while Ethiopia’s Dawit Seyaum got bronze in 14:47.36.

Three years after placing runner-up to her compatriot Hellen Obiri – the two-time world 5000m champion who focused on the 10,000m in Oregon – Margaret Kipkemboi finished fourth in 14:47.71 and Ethiopia’s recently-crowned 10,000m champion, Letesenbet Gidey, was fifth in 14:47.98, one place ahead of Netherlands’ double Olympic champion Sifan Hassan in 14:48.12.

“The hard times were at the Olympics in Tokyo, because I was injured there” said Tsegay, who still managed to race for 1500m bronze at last year’s Games. “Not today.”

With a final 1500m of 4:14.59 and a last lap of 59.95, the 25-year-old pulled away from Chebet and Seyaum down the home straight, executing her plan.

“I have been training well for 1500m and this helps sprint on the home stretch,” added Tsegay, who claimed her 2014 world U20 1500m silver in Eugene. “I know that Sifan is a top athlete and she is also a 1500m runner, so she has the speed. When she came in front, I sped up even more and won the medal.”

It was that attack from Hassan at the bell that launched Tsegay into action. Always near the front, Tsegay led through the first 1000m in 3:14.21 ahead of Kazakhstan’s Caroline Chepkoech Kipkirui, Seyaum and Gidey. Gidey and Tsegay continued to take turns at the front and Tsegay was to the fore as 3000m was reached in 9:02.79. The world 10,000m champion was a stride ahead with four laps to go as she and Tsegay continued to control the race, with Chebet right behind them.

Glancing over her shoulder with three laps remaining, Tsegay led the 10-strong group and Gidey moved ahead along the back straight. One lap later, Tsegay kicked ahead, but not by enough to shake off her rivals. With her eyes on the big screen, she could see Hassan move from seventh to fifth, and by the time they reached the bell the Olympic champion was on her shoulder.

The race was down to a six-strong battle for the medals. With Tsegay in front, Hassan moved ahead of Gidey as they ran down the back straight for the final time, taking the inside line to challenge Tsegay on the bend. Chebet was running wide, but holding her place. As they left the curve, Hassan no longer seemed the biggest threat, with Chebet providing the challenge. But no one could match Tsegay’s finishing speed and she strode ahead down the home straight, on her way to victory. Chebet held on for silver, as Seyaum came through for bronze.

“It was a matter of tactics,” said Chebet, whose CV includes the 2019 world U20 cross country title as well as her 2018 world U20 track win. “I was well positioned.

“Although I am young, I've run many races with elite athletes at the Diamond League. They are not new to me. This medal will make a good difference for me.”

For Seyaum, the bronze medal was welcome after years of injuries. “I hoped to get a place on the podium,” she said. “I hoped and expected to become a medallist in this event. For five years, I was having injuries, so this result is very special for me.”

And Hassan, who finished fourth in the 10,000m seven days earlier, explained how she was happy to be back on the international stage. “I started to train like two months ago and today, I did my best and I gave everything,” she said. “For me, it is important if I give everything and race smart, it does not matter what the position is.

“I think I really overworked last year, so I wanted to have a break mentally, because athletics is not only about running but also about motivation. I took an almost seven-month break. I am happy to be back, and I will try for more golds next year.”

Jess Whittington for World Athletics


πŸ₯‡ Gudaf Tsegay πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Ή ETH 14:46.29
πŸ₯ˆ Beatrice Chebet πŸ‡°πŸ‡ͺ KEN 14:46.75 SB
πŸ₯‰ Dawit Seyaum πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Ή ETH 14:47.36
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