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Olympics: Bekele and El Guerrouj through to 5,000 m final

2004-08-26

There will be a tremendous showdown in Sunday’s 5,000 m final. The Olympic Champion at 1,500 metres Hicham El Guerrouj (Morocco) will battle it out with 10,000 m champion Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia) and Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya), who won the 5,000 m in the World Championships last year. Kenyans John Kibowen and Abraham Chebii, who had beaten Bekele and Gebrselassie in last year’s season, are additional runners to be watched. The Ethiopians will be in this final with three athletes as well.

„After having won the 1,500 metres I could not sleep all night, because I was so excited. Now I am happy to have reached the final despite a small problem. My spikes were a little bit to small. But I will get new ones with the right size for the final”, Hicham El Guerrouj said. “I am hungry for more after winning the 1,500 metres. That is why I decided to go for the 5,000 metres as well.” El Guerrouj had not yet run the 5,000 metres this year. And he announced: “This time there will be a big fight – you will see a different race as last year in Paris.” At the World Championships in 2003 El Guerrouj had lost gold in a sprint finish against Eliud Kipchoge.

El Guerrouj finished his heat in third place with a time of 13:21,87 minutes. Bekele won this race (13:21,16) while Gebre Egziabher Gebremariam (Ethiopia/13:21,20) took second place. The second heat was won by Ali Saidi Sief (Algeria) in a time of 13:18,94. Kipchoge was second (13:19,01).

In the first round of the 800 metres world record holder Wilson Kipketer (Denmark/1:44,69), Wilfred Bungei (Kenya/1:44,84) and Juri Borsakowski (Russia/1:46,20) were among the winners.


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