Kenenisa Bekele is not yet the real Bekele again. At his second start of the season the Ethiopian 10,000 m Olympic Champion and world record holder once again was second. He had been second in Boston before. Still shocked by the death of his fiancee at the beginning of January the 22 year-old has obviously missed a lot of training, which would have been the basis for fast races.
But Bekele did compete at the indoor meeting in Birmingham, which was the number one meeting of the season if you look at the impressive starting lists. 8,000 spectators meant that the national indoor arena of Birmingham was sold out. In the two mile race Bekele’s brother Tariku set the pace at first. It was aimed at the world record – but that was to getting out of reach pretty soon. Bekele lead the race in the second half. But he did not get rid of his compatriot Markos Geneti, and in the last lap Bekele was without a chance in the sprint. In 8:14,28 minutes Geneti won. Bekele finished in 8:15,49 , third was Kenyan Paul Bitok in 8:24,22. For Bekele the indoor season is now finished. He will prepare in Ethiopia as best as possible for the Cross World Championships in one month’s time. "After everything what had happend, it was good to compete here", Kenenisa Bekele said.
In a world record chase at 3,000 meters Ethiopian Meseret Defar missed her goal. Her compatriot Berhane Adere had run 8:29,15 minutes. At the end the 21-year old 5.000-m-Olympic Champion Defar clocked 8:33,05 minutes. For some time the split times had pointed to a world record. Joanne Pavey (Britain/8:41,43) was second, third place went to Susanne Pumper (Austria/8:52,65). “For me this result is disappointing, because I thought, I could run under 8:30 minutes", Meseret Defar said.
While in the 1,500 m race Kenyan Bernard Lagat demonstrated his dominance and won in 3:35,27 minutes in front of Ivan Heshko (Ukraine/3:38,11) and Abdelati Iguider (Morocco/3:38,66), the women’s 1,000 m race was an impressive climax. There was a simple reason for this: Kelly Holmes. Britain’s double Olympic Champion had already been celebrated with standing ovations before the start. After she had won in convincing style with 2:35,35 minutes in front of Agnes Samaria (Namibia/2:36,99) and Mina Ait Hammou(Morocco/2:39,61) 8,000 spectators stood up again. "That was better than I thought, but nevertheless I don know yet whether I will compete in Madrid or not " said Kelly Holmes.