Kenenisa Bekele leads in Birmingham (Getty Images) © Copyright
The reigning Olympic 5000m and 10,000m champion was invited to run as a guest in the men’s 10,000m final at the end of the first day of the Aviva UK Trials along with his younger brother Tariku and their fellow Ethiopians Sileshi Sihine and Gebre Gebremariam, plus the Commonwealth champion Moses Kipsiro from Uganda.
Bekele produced his best performance of the season so far to win with his trademark sprint finish in 27:02.59, just 0.61 seconds slower than this year’s world leader Wilson Kiprop.
Tariku Bekele ran a personal best to finish second in 27:03.24 while Gebremariam was third in 27:03.58. Kipsiro also set a PB, fifth behind Sihine in 27:04.48.
After two years of injury problems, the World record holder was relieved to get back to winning ways following four defeats in four Samsung Diamond League meetings over 3000m and 5000m so far this season.
"It was a bit windy and not easy to run around 27 minutes so I am so happy," he said.
"Now I hope to be selected for London. I am improving my confidence after injury. I had to finish fast or somebody would have beaten me. It was very important to finish fast."
Britain’s World silver medallist Mo Farah, one of Bekele’s main rivals for his Olympic crown, was also in action during the first session of the three-day championships, although not in the 10,000m.
The World 5000m champion, sure of his place in both distance events in London, has chosen to run the 1500m at the trials. He safely qualified for Saturday’s final, winning his heat comfortably in 3:47.50.
Eighteen-year-old Adam Gemili was the fastest qualifier in the opening round of the men’s 100m. Gemili, who recently ran 10.08 to rank second in Europe, won the first heat in 10.27. Dwain Chambers was second quickest in 10.34.
Britain’s other reigning World champion, Dai Greene, also progressed from the early heats. Greene clocked a conservative 50.80 to book his place in Saturday’s 400m hurdles final.
Christine Ohuruogu was more than a second quicker than any of her rivals in qualifying for the women’s 400m final. The Olympic champion clocked 52.14.
The women’s 800m heats were missing Jenny Meadows, the 2009 world bronze medallist. Meadows withdrew this week with an Achilles injury but is expected to run at the European Championships next week.
Other Olympic hopefuls missing this weekend include world 1500m silver medallist Hannah England, who also has a troublesome Achilles, yhe 2008 Olympic 100m finalist, Jeanette Kwakye, who has her own Achilles and ankle problems, and 2009 World Triple Jump champion Phillips Idowu, who pulled out on Friday after sustaining an injury at the Eugene Samsung Diamond League meeting on 2 June.
The UK Trials continue on Saturday (23) and Sunday (24) when the first two in each event will be guaranteed selection for Britain’s Olympic team provided they have met UKA’s Olympic 'A’ standard.
Matthew Brown for the IAAF