14 JUN 1998 General News

Gebrselassie resets the clocks

Just two weeks after winning back the world record for the 10,000m in Hengelo, Ethiopia's Haile Gebrselassie restored the 5000m record to its place among his trophy collection and reset the record owning clocks back to where they were before that dramatic evening in Brussels last August when he lost both of the records to Kenyans Paul Tergat and Daniel Komen.

That day, Gebrselassie had been asked what he thought the record books would be reading at the end of the meeting and he had shrugged and with his familiar unassuming smile had said "We will see". And see we did, the "Emperor" dispossessed of his prized records, within the space of a couple of hours. Never one to give up, Gebrselassie has spent the quiet season altitude training in Ethiopia and come back stronger than ever.

In the early stages of the race, it looked as thought the Ethiopian's record attempt was doomed to failure as the rabbits failed to match the 60.5 second lap times needed to beat Komen's time of  12:39.74. At the 1000m mark Branko Zorko of Croatia led in 2:33.91, against the 2:31.32 needed for the record and by the 3000m mark, Gebrselassie was four seconds off the planned pace of 7:35.00. It was then that Gebrselassie kicked into fifth gear.

Going it alone for the final 2000m, he built up speed to register two closing laps under 59 seconds to chip 38-hundredths of a second off Komen's mark as he crossed the finish line in 12:39.36 all to the beat of a sound track he had selected himself. After the race, Gebrselassie said that he had been helped by the cool conditions, but was not completely satisfied with his result: "...it was OK. the beginning was a bit slow, and after that I tried to do better..The last lap was very good, it was wonderful.." Gebrselassie's manager Jos Hermens was more enthusiastic: "Haile is so smart that after 3000m metres he knows what to do so he doesn't even need a coach."

Gebrselassie's next target is the 3000m record, also owned by Komen, and he will make his attempt at the mark in the opening meeting of the IAAF Golden League meeting in Oslo on  9 July. The rest of the season he will be concentrating on the 3000m with his sights set on the $1 million jackpot for the athlete(s) winning their chosen event in all of the six meetings in this year's IAAF Golden League and in the Golden League/Grand Prix Final in Moscow on 5 September.

Britain's Colin Jackson reasserted himself in the 110m hurdles as, despite two false starts by other competitors, he stormed home in a season's best time of 13.12. Strongly challenged by Olympic silver medallist Mark Crear (USA), Jackson maintained the lead from start to finish and crossed the line 2-hundredths ahead of Crear.

Marion Jones continued to dominate the 100m. Running into a slight headwind (-0.2m/s), she left second-placed Beverly Grant (JAM) half a second behind her as she crossed the finish line in 10.86. Every race confirms that the 100m world record must be within her reach.

Season's best, too, in the men's 400m hurdles where 27-year-old Ruslan Maschenko (RUS) stormed clear of the rest of the field and won the event in 48.06 ahead of Jamaica's Morgan Dinsdale (48.60).

Next stop on the IAAF Grand Prix circuit comes on 5 July in Linz, Austria.