Kenenisa Bekele’s 12:51.32 win at the Paris IAAF Golden League Meeting was a world season lead, the Ethiopian World record holder taking to the front with 500m to go, and from that point untouchable. There were PBs for the next five athletes who followed the 24-year-old World Athlete of the Year across the line. In fifth place overall, came Boniface Kiprop, the Commonwealth Games 10,000m champion with a Ugandan record of 12:57.60.
The meeting had first come to light with the women’s 1500m, the fourth event on the track this evening. Four of the top five finishers were Russian but to be accurate this was a two woman affair with the expected duo of Yelena Soboleva and Yuliya Chizhenko fighting it out. Soboleva, the fastest of the year (3:56.74) as she reached the shoulder of the last bend seemed ready to pounce as she followed just to the right of her compatriot’s heels. Chizhenko who had been beaten comfortably in Athens on Monday by Soboleva was however ready on this occasion, powering ahead herself to neutralize the expected attack. That Soboleva never was able to draw level let alone pass the leader was an indication of the power of Chizhenko’s final sprint, the World Indoor champion eventually winning in 3:55.68. The time was the fastest time in the world in 2006, a meeting record, and made her the 14th quickest athlete of all-time.