Tag Archive: Kenenisa Bekele


There have been mixed feelings on the road for the British girls as Gemma Steel and Charlotte Purdue battled it out for the top honours in the streets of Dublin to underline their promise whereas Paula Radcliffe suffered a serious blow to her hopes of eventually claiming that elusive Olympic medal in London as she faltered well off her target in Vienna.

On the track, Martyn Rooney opened his account to winning ways in style in Los Angeles and Abi Oyepitan evoked robust glimpses of the form that paved the way to the 200m final in Athens, with young Sophie Papps illustrating a glittering future in the women’s sprints at the Lee Valley.

OMV Half Marathon, Vienna

The much hyped “Emperor vs the Queen” virtual handicap race against great Haile Gebrselassie never really waltzed round the streets of the city of Johan Strauss as Radcliffe faded away over the back end of the half marathon course despite an encouraging start.

On a specially arranged format, the Briton was afforded a headstart of 7:52 on the differential between the lifetime bests of the two legends of distance running and showed purpose in the early stages to move past the opening 5k on schedule in 16:13.

But it turned all uphill from there on as the effects of a recent bout of bronchitis and pleurisy caught up with her and her strength started to waver in a test of mentality rather than an intended gauge of form and sharpener that reared up.

In due consideration, that was a race the world marathon record holder should have never run but she may have fallen for that false feeling of full recovery so many times when strength hasn’t actually settled back in yet, meddled with the anxiety of slipping behind her Olympic agenda.

By stark contrast, the ’emperor’ showed rejuvenated again, as if holding a charm of making, so much so that he soon released his rabbits of their duties to follow his own preferred tempo and breezed past Radcliffe slightly after the 15km mark, extending a shout of encouragement to his credit, on the way to wrapping up both contests in a time of 60.52.

Topping the women in a final time of 72:03, the slowest she has ever returned over the distance, will hardly offer any consolation for the Brit who, as Steve Cram wisely points out, will have to pick her way and races up to London very carefully henceforth, without any margin for mistakes.

SPAR Great Ireland Run, Dublin

The spell of the Olympics in London looks to work wonders on almost every department of home athletics and the spectacle of season revelation Gemma Steel and returning-to-action Charlotte Purdue pulling away from the field into a commanding British one-two in the women’s 10km race stirred life into hope of a revival over a distance that has been deep in the shades in recent years on the track.

Steel worked up a decisive four second gap on her domestic rival over the final kilometre of the course to collect the spoils in a huge best of  32:06, moving ninth in the UK all-time lists, and built on a sound run on all surfaces since autumn but Purdue won’t feel hard done by either with runner-up in a big new lifetime mark of 32:10 to slot into eleventh fastest ever herself.

Even more so when the young AFD runner came into the race still feeling a swift 15:29 long leg at the National Women’s 6-stager at Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, the previous day in her legs to show that form is falling in nicely down the way. Both times, without a doubt, indicate that the two Brits could pull the A standard of 31:45.00 on the track in the following several weeks and a place on the British team to London, an exciting prospect.

On the other hand, Helen Clitheroe endured a bad day at the office on her comeback from a training spell in Portugal as she looked rather uncomfortable midway through and trailed a long way behind the main action in fourth in 33:02 (SB), with Frenchwoman Christelle Daunay splitting the Brits in third in 32:27.

The men’s race could not bear the term contest by any means as great Kenenisa Bekele stormed to the front with the gun to force a searing pace, confident and flowing round the route, that saw him walk away with victory in a swift 27:49, a huge course record, as none survived on his tail even by the halfway mark.

A gap of almost a minute up on his nearest rival, as well as a few fleeting smiles looking round on the way, told the tale of a man back in serious business and feeling pleased with his form and fitness even though there was hardly a field to really test him over the distance. But time and races will tell whether he is back to his best once he swings onto the track next month with his showdown against Mo Farah over 5000m in Eugene looming large on the horizon.

Spaniard Ayam Lamdassam hung on to runner-up in 28:48 a mere second ahead of Italian Daniele Meucci, fourth and third behind Farah over 10000m in Barcelona, as they trailed a long way behind while Nick McCormick enjoyed another encouraging run to end up fifth in 29:04 and will take plenty of heart from a scalp like former European 5000m champion Jesus Espana.

Friday the 13th seems to come a week late in Ethiopia as the national athletics body (EAF) have reportedly come out to suspend indefinitely no less than 36 internationals from either domestic or international competitions in a season that contains such an ultimate sport showpiece as the Olympics, held in London.

Could Kenenisa Bekele be left ouf of Ethiopia’s Olympic team and barred from defending his Olympic double in London?

The news comes all the more striking since among the names set out are some athletics superstars like Olympic champions Kenenisa Bekele and Tirunesh Dibaba, as well as top distance character Meselech Melcamu, who might be rendered unable to defend their titles should the sanctions remain in place by July.

The grounds behind that wide clean-up are that the athletes in question failed to report for national team training and participate in required sessions therein since the national governing body has demanded that a certain strength of a 223 Olympic hopefuls should prepare under its overseeing.

Technical director Mr. Dubie Jilo appears rather unmoved at the prospect of Ethiopia lining up without several major medal contenders in London and warned that the athletes concerned either comply with the commands of the national body or a new crop of athletes will be brought on in the Olympics.

The decision, however, hasn’t met with the sentiments of the Ethiopian fans who have already started protesting largely online.

http://www.letsrun.com/2012/ethiopia-0119.php

Men’s Invitational 3000m

The ‘Mad Season’, as Gary Neville dubbed the current run in the English Premiership, rubbed off on the top drawer of the day at Hollyrood Park as the race unfolded totally against the form books or the complexion of the field, with the eagerly anticipated clash between three reigning Olympic and a former world champions never taking shape.

Great Kenenisa Bekele (ETH) turned up a mere ghost of himself as he floundered on the hilly muddy course and sunk deep into the field, a stark contrast to his pre-race statements, to raise far more questions over his fitness than he would have hoped to answer while Brimin Kipruto Kiprop (KEN) also languished thereabouts for an entirely anonymous outing, knocking plenty of the gloss off the affair.

On the far end up front, rising distance prospect Jonny Hay, on the back of a disappointing 8th in the U20s in Velenje at that, came to perform beyond his wildest dreams as he turned on a finishing kick that even his illustrious rivals would have envied for an astonishing runner-up, on a rare occasion to dare outshine his female groupmates in Mick Woods’s squad.

Eliud Kipchoge (KEN) showed some early purpose to assert himself but was never really convincing at the top and it was Ross Millington, the European U23 5000m silver medallist, to scent the opening and take his chance to burst to the front and quickly carve out a solid gap up front, driving hard round the second kilometre.

Reading the situation at a glance, Asbel Kiprop (KEN), the reigning Olympic and world 1500m champion, swiftly emerged in the hole between the Briton and the stretched out chasing pack to gain a hold on the race, his rangy figure striding beautifully along, and breezed past into the lead with aplomb as soon as the race entered its crucial final third.

The Kenyan was now in full flight and control to swiftly fashion plenty of daylight behind him and kept pulling away round the last lap, occasionally checking behind, to a commanding victory and a grand premiere in his campaign to defend his Olympic crown, an eventual winning margin of 5 secs in a time of 9:20, while Kipchoge and Spaniard Juan Carlos Higuero clawed their way back and round a tiring Millington in an effective scramble for the minor podium spots.

Hay hadn’t shown much until very late when he moved into fourth past former race winner Ricky Stevenson, who had figured in the top five meantime, but even at 200m out was looking way out of a top three finish. Yet, he somehow conjured up a nearly surreal turn of gear off the last hill to storm past startled both Kipchoge and Higuero over the final several strides and snatch second in 9:25 in a memorable breakthrough performance.

The youngster had every reason to float on cloud nine after the race and he will be brimming with confidence and excitement looking ahead at a season that could hold so much in store for him, even alluding to a crack at an Olympic berth. On that evidence, he could go a long way towards that end!

Kipchoge held off Higuero to grab third in an identical time a second behind (9:26) to save the day where Stevenson consolidated a return to form a further four seconds adrift in 9:30 and a plucky Millington had to do with sixth finally in 9:34.

But there was no screen of mist or smoke to conceal the embarrassment of a deflated Bekele who dragged home way down the order in 11th in 9:42, Kipruto just a stride behind in the same time, and the great Ethiopian looks as though he has got an awful lot to do to haul back into contention for gold in the remaining months leading up to London.

Results

1.Asbel Kiprop (KEN) 9:20, 2.Jonny Hay (U23) 9:25, 3.Eliud Kipchoge (KEN) 9:26, 4.Juan Carlos Higuero (ESP) 9:26, 5.Ricky Stevenson 9:30, 6.Ross Millington 9:34, 7.Callum Hawkins (U23) 9:39, 8.Arturo Casado (ESP) 9:40, 9.Steve Vernon 9:41, …, 11.Kenenisa Bekele (ETH) 9:42, 12.Brimin Kipruto (KEN) 9:42, …, 15.Tony Whiteman (V40) 10:08, 17.Adam Cotton (U23) 10:21

http://www.greatrun.org/app_files/gr_files/Bupa-Great-Edinburgh-XCountry-2012-Mens-Invitational-3K-Results.pdf

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Senior Men’s 8km

European cross-country champion Atelaw Bekele‘s aggressive front-run tactics did not take the field by surprise, like they worked in Velenje, and Ayam Landassem clawed his way quickly back after a familiar early burst by the Belgian, with compatriot Javier Guerra and American John Grey briefly joining up.

The Spaniard tucked alongside nicely and only struck out for home in the late stages for an eventual convincing win by three seconds in 25:44 as another American, Bobby Mack, followed on through to snatch second at the end.

The Brits looked more content with team tactics, rewarded with the win in the end, and Frank Tickner showed late to edge into the top five past a tiring Guerra in 25:55. Steve Vernon, in his first race of two on the day, was back in seventh in 26 mins dead followed by Tom Humphries a further spot behind.

Results

1.Ayam Lamdassem (ESP) 25.44, 2.Bobby Mack (USA) 25:47, 3.Atelaw Bekele (BEL) 25:47, 4.John Grey (USA) 25:52, 5.Frank Tickner 25:55, 6.Javier Guerra (ESP) 26:00, 7.Steve Vernon 26:00, 8.Tom Humphries 26:07, 10.Jonny Taylor 26:13, 16.James Walsh 26:45, 17.James Wilkinson (U23) 26:48, 18.Derek Hawkins (U23) 26:50

Teams: 1.EUR 44, 2.GBR 58, 3.USA 76

http://www.greatrun.org/app_files/gr_files/Bupa-Great-Edinburgh-XCountry-2012-Senior-Men-Team-Challenge-Results.pdf

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Senior Women’s 6km

1.Fionnuala Briton (IRL) 21:32, 2.Gemma Steel 21:52, 3.Elle Baker 22:08, 4.Neely Spence (USA) 22:11, 5.Freya Murray 22:17, 6.Hattie Dean 22:27, …, 8.Hannah Walker 22:29, 9.Steph Twell 22:33, 13.Naomi Taschimowitz 22:53, 18.Rosie Smith 23:18

Teams: 1.GBR 33, 2.EUR 61, 3.USA 89

http://www.greatrun.org/app_files/gr_files/Bupa-Great-Edinburgh-XCountry-2012-Senior-Women-Team-Challenge-Results.pdf

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The late stages of the Junior men’s race in Edinburgh where Kirubel Erassa (USA) edges out Kieron Clements and Mark Shaw for the top honours

U20 Men’s 6km

1.Kirubel Erassa (USA) 19:54, 2.Kieron Clements 19:55, 3.Mark Shaw 19:58, 4.Eddie Owens (USA) 20:08, 5.Andrew Gardner (USA) 20:11, …, 9.Jack Goodwin 20:22, 13.Charlie Grice 20:42, 17.Robbie Farnham-Rose 20:54, 18.Gordon Benson 20:56

Teams: 1.USA 16, 2.GBR 26, 3.EUR 48

http://www.greatrun.org/app_files/gr_files/Bupa-Great-Edinburgh-XCountry-2012-Junior-Men-Team-Challenge-Results.pdf

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Emelia Gorecka romps to a faraway victory in the junior women’s race

U20 Women’s 4km

1.Emelia Gorecka 14:48, 2.Aisling Cuffe (USA) 15:09, 3.Molly Siedel (USA) 15:57,…, 5.Iona Lake 15:27

Teams: 1.USA 15, 2.GBR 27, 3.EUR 62

http://www.greatrun.org/app_files/gr_files/Bupa-Great-Edinburgh-XCountry-2012-Junior-Women-Team-Challenge-Results.pdf

Sebastian Coe shatters Steve Ovett’s two-day-old world record over the mile in a staggering 3:47.33

Kenenisa Bekele returns tonight to the track where he set that intimidating world record of 26:17.53 in 2005

The overwhelming battle between Hickam El Guerrouj and Bernard Lagat over 1500m in 2001, finishing in 3:26.12 and 3:26.34!