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Men's 5000m - FINAL

Kenenisa Bekele adds the 5000m gold to the 10,000m title he won earlier in the week (Getty Images)Kenenisa Bekele adds the 5000m gold to the 10,000m title he won earlier in the week (Getty Images) © Copyright

Alongside Hannes Kolehmainen, Emil Zatopek, Vladimir Kuts, Lasse Viren and Miruts Yifter we can now add the name Kenenisa Bekele as the only men to win the 5000m and 10,000m double at the Olympic Games.

The Ethiopian maestro produced a masterful tactical performance as he dictated the pace from the front for much of the race before unleashing that killer kick finish to destroy the opposition and set an Olympic record of 12:57:82.

So often in the recent past global 5000m finals have been characterised by turgidly slow races followed by a last lap burn up but Bekele, who was beaten by just 0.20 to the gold medal in Athens four years ago, was never going to allow that to happen a second time.

Supported ably by his Ethiopian lieutenants - including his brother Tariku and Abreham Cherkos - the trio laid the foundations for Bekele's memorable victory. Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge, the eternal bridesmaid, went one better than four years ago in Athens to take silver in 13:02.80 with countryman Edwin Soi (13:06.22) taking the bronze.

Surprisingly for Bekele, who is the World record holder, this was his first global 5000m title and he also matched the feats of his compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba who had completed the 5000m and 10,000m double the previous day.

Eritrea's Kidane Tadesse took the field through the first lap in a modest 68 seconds but Bekele mindful of being outsprinted by Hicham El Guerrouj at the Athens Games, was not prepared to suffer the same fate again. He hit the front and slowly cranked up the pace ahead of Ireland's Alistair Cragg.

Bekele's younger sibling, Tariku, took his turn at the front and he hit the 1km mark in 2:45.49 followed by  Kenenisa with the third Ethiopian, Cherkos, the World Junior champion, controlling affairs at the front.

Just after the 2km point - passed in 5:22.29 - Cherkos took his turn at the front, although the Kenyan trio took closer order behind the Ethiopians.

At 3km Bekele, that's Kenenisa and not Tariku, led them through in 8:00.85 but five laps out he decided to make what would prove the decisive move of the race putting in a 60-second lap to blow the field wide open.

Four laps out only five athletes remained in touch with the leader - Kipchoge, Soi, World champion Bernard Lagat, Moses Kipsiro of Uganda and Qatar's James Kwalia of Qatar. Kwalia was the next to crack followed quickly by Lagat, who could not gain 5000m redemption after bombing out of the semi-finals of the 1500m.

Bekele now consistently running 60-61 seconds was hurting the opposition and on the penultimate lap Kipsiro, the World bronze medallist was the next to drop off the relentless pace at the front.

At the bell Bekele was followed by Kipchoge and Soi but any hope of a Kenyan champion in this event since John Ngugi in Seoul 20 years ago had evaporated 150m into the final lap. Bekele shifted into fifth gear and like a top grade sports car just left the Kenyans for dead.

Soi quickly dropped out of the picture and Bekele had opened up a winning lead on Kipchoge halfway down the back straight.

The rest of the lap was primarily a case of whether Bekele would dip below Said Aouita's 24-year-old Olympic record of 13:05.59. We should never have worried. Bekele produced a 53.8 final lap to stop the clock in 12:57.82.

Kipchoge and Soi took the two minor medals to ensure Kenyan picked up five medals inside the Bird's Nest Stadium tonight - the final day of the track and field programme.

Kipsiro placed fourth in 13:10.56 with Cherkos fifth (13:16.46). Tariku Bekele settled for sixth in 13:19.06 but Lagat's miserable Games was complete as he wound up ninth in 13:26.89.

Steve Landells for the IAAF