Ethiopian Gelete Burka had been in superb form this year setting a personal best of 3:58.79 for the 1500m in Hengelo, but then when leading the final in Berlin disaster struck.
The women’s World Championships 1500m final in Berlin was to say the least dramatic and sparked furious debate especially across Spain and Ethiopia, the two countries whose athletes were involved in a last lap collision which sent Burka crashing to the floor and Natalia Rodriguez side stepping off the track to avoid her opponent’s falling torso.
The rest as they say is history, and that’s also what Burka hopes to create when she returns to the track for the first time since her fall in Brussels at the Belgacom Memorial Van Damme - ÅF Golden League this Friday (4).
The 23-year-old has the World 2000m record of Ireland’s Sonia O’Sullivan in her sights. A statistical target which Burka hopes will act as her perfect ‘pick-me up’ after Berlin.
5:25.36 is O’Sullivan’s time (1994) which Burka is targeting. The Ethiopian who is the reigning World Indoor 1500m champion and a former winner of the now defunct short course title at the World Cross Country Championships, has a PB over 2000m of 5:37.80, set on the way to her career best 3000m time of 8:25.92 in Stockholm on 25 July 2006.
Pushing Burka all the way and perhaps with the record even more realistically in her sights will be World 5000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot. The 25-year-old Kenyan has a personal best at 2000m of 5:31.52 which she set this year when winning in Eugene on 7 June. Also linining up is Anna Alminova of Russia, the second fastest over 1500m in the world this season (3:58.38).
And don’t discount one or two of the others from the World Championships 1500m final to make their presence felt too though USA’s Christin Wurth-Thomas, who was fifth in Berlin and last Friday in Zürich, is set to be a pacemaker.
Chris Turner for the IAAF