In the competition's race of champions, it was the most highly decorated, Kenenisa Bekele, who emerged victorious in the eagerly-anticipated final in the 3000 metres.
Bekele, the multiple World record holder and World and Olympic champion, collected his first World Indoor title, clocking 7:39.32. After Ireland's European Indoor champion Alistair Cragg controlled the pace for the initial seven laps, the 23-year-old Ethiopian forged ahead, followed by Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge and, two laps later, World Steeplechase champion and World record holder Saif Saaeed Shaheen. After Bekele unleashed his long sustained kick with two laps to go, the order would remain the same.
After allowing Bekele to create a ten metre gap, the pursuers gave chase. Shaheen powered past Kipchoge at the bell and for a moment it appeared that he might have the stamina to challenge Bekele. That appearance was a fleeting one as Bekele, who will chase his fifth double victory at the World Cross Country championships next month in Fukuoka, simply increased his lead heading into the final turn.
Shaheen reached the line in 7:41.28 to get the silver, his first global indoor medal, more than a full second clear of Kipchoge, who was third in 7:42.58. It was also the first indoor medal for the Kenyan, the 2003 World champion in the 5000 metres.
“That was not very intelligent of me,” said Shaheen. “I knew exactly when Kenenisa would start his kick and I planned to be close to him at that time. But I wasn’t.”
While he couldn't match the finish of the podium finishers, Cragg held on for fourth (7:46.43), with Kenyan Shadrack Korir fifth (7:47.11) and Tariku Bekele, Kenenisa's younger brother, who was sixth (7:47.67).