It shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone that the first time a major global title would be transferred between siblings, that the family name would be Bekele. With a dominating second half performance Tariku Bekele succeeded older broth Kenenisa as World Indoor 3000m champion.
Tariku, sixth behind his brother two years ago in Moscow, played the favourite’s role admirably, biding his time in the race’s first half before taking control over the second en route to a convincing 7:48.23 victory.
Kenyan Paul Kipsiele Koech, who took command of the race in the early stages, held on to finish a distant second in 7:49.05.
“It was a very good race,” said Bekele, who arrived in Valencia as the world leader at 7:31.09, notably, faster than his brother this year. “Winning is not easy but I have been training hard. My tactic was to run really fast during the last kilometre.”
Kipsiele Koech, better known as a steeplechase specialist, took control from the gun, followed by Ethiopian No. 2 Abrahem Cherkos, with Bekele and Australian Craig Mottram tucking in behind. Little changed by 1000m, with the field running as a fairly solid pack.
The order remained with 800m to go, but the pack was beginning to spread out, with Koech still in the lead, and Bekele ready to pounce.
He took the lead with two laps to go, with Koech, Cherkos, Mottram and Edwin Soi struggling to hang on. With Soi and Mottram dropping back, the medals and finishing order were already decided.
“I’m happy because I won a medal,” said Kipsiele Koech. “I expected to at least get something.”
Cherkos, only 18, followed Koech across the line to take bronze (7:49.96) in his first World Championships appearance, followed by Soi (7:51.60) and further back, Mottram (7:52.42).
“This is very good for the Ethiopian team,” Cherkos understated. “We are very strong runners.”
Bekele’s victory was the fifth in the event for Ethiopia. Boding well for Bekele is that he not only succeeds his brother, but also three-time winner Haile Gebrselassie as well.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF