kenenisa Bekele salutes World 10,000m record in Brussels (© Getty Images)
World and Olympic 10,000m champion Kenenisa Bekele capped a marvellous night at the 29th Memorial Van Damme meeting – TDK Golden League – with a staggering World record of 26:17.53 to slice nearly 3 seconds off his previous best time in front of a capacity crowd of 47,000 in the Stade Roi Baudouin.
It is increasingly difficult to put words to the achievements of the Ethiopian, who we have to remember is still only a youthful 23 years of age. Bekele, the IAAF World Ranked event number one, re-writes the meaning of world class distance running with nearly ever step he takes, let alone race he runs. Bekele’s 10,000 this evening in a chilly temperature of 12C was pure brilliance, indescribable magic.
Ahead of World record pace by 5 seconds at the midway point (5000m - 13:09.19) when following his pace-making brother Tariku, Kenenisa Bekele kept that advantage when running alone through 6000m (15:44.66), and while his advantage slipped to 4 seconds though the 7k and 8k (18:23.98 and 21:04.63), and to 3.5 by the 9th (23:45.09), his perseverance paid off as he pursued his goal without weakening in a blistering last few laps to win in a World record** of 26:17.53. His last 400m was 57 seconds. His bonus for the feat, US $50,000.
Bekele’s last 1500m tonight was clocked unofficially as 3:52, which matches Paavo Nurmi’s World record time (3:52.6) for that distance in 1924!
World Junior record smashed
Forgotten in the Ethiopian’s celebrations but none the less great achievements in themselves - in second, Boniface Kiprop of Uganda improved his national best to 26:39.77, while in 3rd place Kenyan Samuel Wanjiru with 26:41.75 demolished Kiprop's World Junior record (27:04.00 – Brussels 2004). In all six runners went under 27 minutes, while in seventh Olympic bronze medallist Zersenay Tadesse 27:04.70 set an Eritrean national record. He had set the previous time of 27:12.82 when finishing sixth in Helsinki.
One Million dollars gets ever closer
Russian Tatyana Lebedeva, her Achilles injury problems seemingly now just part of this season’s folklore, took a confident fifth win in the TDK Golden League 2005 in the women’s Triple Jump. Her first round 14.80m would have been good enough for victory, but in round five she emphasised her dominance with a leap of 14.94m. World champion Trecia Smith of Jamaica was second (14.76) and Cuba’s Helsinki silver medallist, Yargelis Savigne (14.48) was third.
So with just the meeting in Berlin to go, Sunday week (4 September), to complete the task of six wins from six meetings, the Russian looks a certain bet to match Maria Mutola’s 2003 feat of winning the TDK Golden League Jackpot outright, collecting athletics biggest single payout of One Million Dollars!
Defar sets 5000m African record
Out-sprinted she may have been by Tirunesh Dibaba in Helsinki when fighting for the World 5000m title a fortnight ago, but Olympic champion Meseret Defar gained some satisfaction this evening in the absence of her conqueror, when establishing an African record for the distance of 14:28.98 – the fastest time in the world this year.
The 21-year-old who had established her personal best (PB) in Rome in July (14:32.90 – 8/07/05) when losing an earlier sprint battle to Dibaba and 2003 World 10,000m champion Berhane Adere, at least got the better of the latter athlete tonight.
3000m was gone through in a brisk 8:42.49, and though running as part of a foursome – Tirunesh’s older sister Ejegayehu and Kenya’s Isabella Ochichi were the two others – when the bell sounded it was only Adere and Defar in the hunt. Defar attacked at 200m, and in the end a 61 second final lap brought her home to the Area record. Adere, the holder of the previous African record (14:29.32 – Oslo 2003) was a few seconds back by the time the line was crossed (second, 14:31.09), her sprint on this occasion unable to hold off Defar’s onslaught.
E. Dibaba completed the Ethiopian sweep in third, 14:37.34, and Ochichi, was fourth 14:38.21(PB).
Shaheen near but yet so far
There was also a world season’s lead and an area record in the men’s 3000m Steeplechase but this time they were set by different athletes. World champion and World record holder Saif Saaeed Shaheen was responsible for the world leading time. The Qatari steeplechaser who was briefly ahead of World record schedule at 2000m – passed in 5:16, which was 1.5 seconds in front – was running alone with 3 laps to go which perhaps was just too much of a solo effort towards the end of a long season. He crossed the line in 7:55.51, better than his own season’s best of 7:56.32 (8 July, Rome) but someway off his World record – 7:53.63 – which he had established here last year.
The Area record in the race was set by the Netherlands’ Simon Vroeman who had begun tonight as the joint holder of the European best with France’s Bob Tahri – their time 8:06.91 being established in 2002 and 2003 respectively. It was a late run by the 36-year-old Dutchman which at the bell brought him up to and past Kenya's Olympic champion Ezekiel Kemboi (4th 8:09.73), and a former world’s fastest, Morocco’s Brahim Boulami (3rd 8:07.48). In the last lap he quickly killed off the opposition and while never endangering the winner finished very well in 8:04.95.
Isinbayeva falls short of World record
Another impressive win for World and Olympic Pole Vault champion, Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia, the Overall IAAF World Ranked number one athlete, but no World record, as each of her three attempts at 5.02m fell way short. Still the 23-year-old took a good win at 4.93m, with Poland’s Anna Rogowska 10 centimetres back in second with an improved Polish record. The 24-year-old Pole had jumped the previous mark of 4.82 last Sunday. In third was fellow Pole, Monika Pyrek (4.63).
Demus beats Pechonkina
Lashinda Demus finally got the better of World record holder Yuliya Pechonkina-Nosova in the women’s 400m Hurdles. After losing at the World Championships in Helsinki and also defeated convincingly again in Zürich last Friday, the American headed the Russian on entering the home straight, with compatriot Sandra Glover for company. Demus won the American duel – 53.61 to 53.73 – and though Pechonkina closed a little towards the line, she ultimately could not improve her position, third (53.87)
European 400m season’s best
Britain’s Tim Benjamin set a European season’s lead (and PB) in the men’s 400m of 44.74 but it was not enough to contend with Jamaica’s Brandon Simpson (44.70). Their positions in the Helsinki final had been 5th and 6th, with the Briton the best on that occasion. Tonight Benjamin despite improving his best by 100th of a second was never able to close on his opponent, after entering the final 100m already in deficit to Simpson, whose finishing time was also a PB.
Third was Alleyne Francique of Grenada (44.84).
Arron makes it four out of five
Ok, her Zürich conquerors Veronica Campbell and Lauryn Williams were not racing in Brussels but there must have been a bit of ‘what might have been’ for France’s Christine Arron who was knocked out of the TDK Golden League Jackpot last week in Zürich. Against the world season’s fastest runner, Chandra Sturrup of the Bahamas, Arron went clear after about 90m and won in 10.97. USA’s MeLisa Barber also passed Sturrup for second (11.05 to 11.06). So four wins out of five in the Golden League for Arron so far this summer.
Gatlin 9.99 - pushed all the way
France’s fastest also put on a good show in the men’s 100m. Ronald Pognon pushed Olympic champion Justin Gatlin all the way to the line finishing in 10.05. The Frenchman was running in lane 9, and whether or not Gatlin, in lane 5, was aware of his presence, he was inspired enough this evening to power to a 9.99 clocking. Jamaica’s Dwight Thomas was third in 10.11.
Thanks to their runs tonight, Gatlin and Arron are likely to become IAAF Ranked event number ones for 100m, surpassing injured World record holder Asafa Powell, and Jamaican Veronica Campbell, respectively.
Johnson climbs on top of Arnold’s hopes
Allen Johnson closed on Dominique Arnold in the run off from the final hurdle to snatch a 100th of a second win in the men’s 110m Hurdles – 13.16 to 13.17. It was revenge for the 34-year-old former four-time World champion who had been well beaten by his younger (31yrs) compatriot in Zürich. In celebration, reflecting that he had got the better of him, Johnson immediately jumped on Arnold’s back and rode him to the top of the bend, with both men laughing and waving in celebration in what was a good humoured gesture of victory by the two men. Olympic silver medallist Terrence Trammell was third, 13.28.
Fresher legs out pace Ramzi
The double World gold medallist from Helsinki, Rashid Ramzi looked slightly tired this evening in the men‘s 1500m, not that he wasn’t running well, he was, it was just that Daniel Kipchirchir Komen of Kenya, who had failed so badly in Helsinki, not even qualifying for the semi-final stage, found a better groove. There was no contest as the bell sounded and Komen’s fresher legs quickly built a sizable lead. He won in 3:31.13, well clear of the Bahraini in second (3:32.81) and Ukraine’s Ivan Heshko, the European indoor champion, next best (3:32.95).
Moya continues his remarkable year
When Cuban Victor Moya, 22, won a surprise silver medal at the World Championships in Helsinki on 14 August he marked it with a PB of 2.29. Last week he improved that best to 2.30 when coming second equal in Eberstadt (21 Aug), and now he raised it once more to 2.31 to beat most of the elite of the high jumping world including the Olympic champion Stefan Holm (5= 2.24m). Vyacheslav Voronin was second with 2.28 with Czech Jaroslav Baba, third on the same height after countback. This was an uninspiring contest except for the Cuban’s emerging brilliance.
Makarov takes the spear
2003 World champion Sergey Makarov of Russia won the men’s Javelin with a second round 86.88 in a closely fought contest. In second was Olympic champion Andreas Thorkildsen (86.13), and Finland’s world season’s leader Tero Pitkämäki was third (85.90). They were the only men over 80m.
Kipchoge nearly gives it away
2003 World champion Eliud Kipchoge nearly gave away a well carved out 5000m victory in the last 100m of the race. The Kenyan had hit 3000m in 7:39 and looked on for a comfortable win after accelerating with 300m to go but his pursuer Morocco’s Abderrahim Goumri had not given up all hope. At least 10 metres adrift when he entered the finishing straight, Goumri put on a devastating final sprint to which Kipchoge only woke up to about 40m from the line. He did enough just to hold off the Moroccan, winning with a dip at the line 12:50.22 to 12:50.25. Goumri’s time was a personal best.
World champion Benjamin Limo was third in a season’s best of 12:55.26, while another Kenyan Boniface Songok finished fourth in a PB of 12:55.85.
Gevaert’s party spoilt
World 200m finalist Kim Gevaert was lined-up to bring the crowd a home win tonight but though she entered the final 100m with a clear lead, Cydonie Mothersill of the Cayman Islands who had finished behind her in Helsinki, was able to power past the Belgian, winning in 22.94 to Gevaert’s 22.99. A deadly hush suddenly descended over the Stade Roi Baudouin.
Fabienne Feraez of Benin was third (23.39).
Men still can’t break 1:44
The men’s 800m elite still finds it impossible to dip under 1:44 this season. If this goes on much longer, World record holder Wilson Kipketer (1:41.11) is going to start to regret his recent decision to retire!
Today, with a typical late run in a close fought finish, Olympic champion Yuriy Borakovskiy (RUS) out-sprinted the field in 1:44.54. Youssef Saad Kamel (BRN) was just behind in second (1:44.58), and Canada’s Gary Reed was third (1:44.93).
A Russian affair in the Long Jump
World silver medallist Tatyana Kotova of Russia pulled out a third round leap of 6.87 (-0.7m/s) to defeat her compatriot Oksana Udmurtova, who had snatched the lead with her first of 6.81m (+0.8). Third was American Grace Upshaw with a fourth round 6.53m.
Spain take surprise 800m win
Spain’s Mayte Martinez surprised the best Russians with a 2:00.96 win in the women’s 800m. The world season’s fastest Tatyana Andrianova was well beaten in second in 2:01.09, with USA’s Hazel Clark in third (2:01.15).
Chris Turner for the IAAF
**subject to ratification
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