Kenenisa Bekele is the new Olympic 10.000 m Champion. Once again the Ethiopian
became the successor of his big idol: Haile Gebrselassie. With a breathtaking
last lap of less than 54 seconds Bekele stormed to the gold medal.
The 10,000 m World Champion and world record holder broke the
Olympic record clocking 27:05,10 minutes.
Gebrselassie had been the holder of the record until Friday night with 27:07,34
from Atlanta 1996. Sileshi Sihine (Ethiopia/27:09,39) won the silver medal and
Zersenay Tadesse (Eritrea/27:22,57) took the bronze.
Gebrselassie finished fifth
The attempt of becoming the first runner to win an Olympic 10,000 m gold for
the third time ended in pain for Haile Gebrselassie. After having won the event
in Atlanta and Sydney the 31 year-old now finished fifth. And finally he even
limped off the track.
Haile Gebrselassie should have got a more appropriate farewell from track
running. It was most probably his last race on the track. And he was indeed
celebrated in the Olympic Stadium of Athens as if he had won the race.
“My next goal is indeed the marathon”,
Gebrselassie confirmed, when he limped through the mixed zone of the stadium.
But it is doubtful that this project will go ahead as planned. Gebrselassie
plans to run the Amsterdam Marathon in mid October. That had been quite a close
affair anyway. But now, taking into account his injury, it will probably be
difficult to stick to the marathon training schedule.
Ethiopian federation put pressure on him to run in the Olympic
Originally Haile Gebrselassie did not want to compete in Athens due to problems
with his Achilles tendon in his left foot. But it was understood that the
Ethiopian federation put pressure on him to run in the Olympic final. The
Ethiopian officials wanted their athletes to win all three medals. In the end
this plan did not work – and now they have an injured idol. But
Gebrselassie is not the one who makes accusations. Instead he smiled and said:
I am happy to have run in this race and I am satisfied with the result. I was
not able to respond.”
After a slow start the runners had passed 4,000 metres in 11:15,87 minutes.
Then the three Ethiopians increased the pace and the field broke up. But when
Bekele and Sihine kept the pace fast suddenly Gebrselassie lost contact at
6,000 m (16:34,51). Instead Boniface Kiprop (Uganda), who finally finished
fourth (27:25,48), was behind Bekele and Sihine. While the Kenyans were well
beaten the two Ethiopians suddenly slowed. “We hoped for
Gebrselassie to be able to close the gap again and to run together with us. But
when we realised he was not able to do so we had to go”, Bekele
explained. At this point there was no holding back for the two
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