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Olympic Running Events (VI): 5,000 m men with Abraham Chebii

The strongest athlete at 5,000 metres does perhaps not run the distance in Athens.

2004-07-14

THE SITUATION:

The strongest athlete at 5,000 metres does perhaps not run the distance in Athens. It was at the beginning of the season when Ethiopias Kenenisa Bekele broke the world record in Hengelo clocking 12:37,35 minutes. But it had long been obvious that he will focus on the 10,000 metres during the Olympics. It seems unlikely at present that Bekele might go for the double.

Two others who were running extraordinary strong at the distance will probably also not be running the 5,000 metres. Saif Saaeed Shaheen (Qatar), who had changed citizenship just a year ago, will probably not get the permission to take part at the Olympics. Since he left Kenya last year the Kenyan federation has to officially allow him to compete for another country just a year later. But even if Shaheen would be able to compete he will probably concentrate on the 3,000 m steeple chase. The other potential favourite would be Hicham El Guerrouj. The Moroccan middle distance world record holder wants to finally win his first Olympic gold. But he will aim for the 1,500 metres first of all.

At the 5,000 metres World Championships Hicham El Guerrouj had won a silver medal. He was narrowly beaten by Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge. So the 5,000 metres could become Kenyas event at the Olympics. Because besides Kipchoge there is Abraham Chebii who could go for gold as well.

ABRAHAM CHEBII – KENYAS JOKER

Abraham Chebii became a prominent figure in long distance track running when he beat the two greatest Ethiopians during the meeting in Rome in 2003, Haile Gebrselassie and Kenenisa Bekele. But at the time of the World Championships he no longer was in top form and finished only fifth. The 24 year-old Kenyan partly lives in England during the summer months. He is managed by the Kim McDonald group. His training areas are the big parks in southwest London.

After he had beaten Haile Gebrselassie in a 5,000 metres race in Paris in 2003 the Ethiopian said: “I did not know Chebii and I did not expect him to run so fast in the last part of the race.“

The last 400 m in 50,68

It was back in 2000 when Chebii placed fifth at the shorter distance of the World Cross Country Championships. His tremendous sprinting ability at the end of a long distance event could be seen during the Grad Prix Final in 2000. He won the 3,000 metres and covered the last lap in 50,68 seconds. That is a superb split. And if he would run two of these laps he would end up very close to the 800 metres world record. “I am happy to have taken the opportunity to beat Haile here in Paris. Because such a win is regarded as an outstanding achievement back in Kenya“, Abraham Chebii said.


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