final was very much a two-horse race, as Kenyan Nathen Kibet Naibei and Qatari Moustafa Ahamed Shebto held the lead from the gun and dropped the rest of the field with 1600 metres to go and ran the rest of the course together way ahead of the followers. In the end it was Shebto who crossed the line first in 8:47.70 after Naibei lost his footing at the last water jump and allowed the Qatari to gain a couple of metres in the finishing straight. Naibei came home in 8:47.98
Meanwhile the race for third place was hard, with Hungarian Balzs Ott finally qualifying ahead of South Africa’s Zolile Bhitane. It looked like Bhitane could catch the Hungarian, but he faltered to avoid tripping as he came up close on Ott’s heels and totally lost his momentum as Ott sprinted across the finish line in a new Personal Best of 8:52.36.
Once again Qatar took the honours with Obaid Musa Amer first across the line in 8:52.90, ahead this time of Marcin Chanowski of Poland, who passed Uganda’s Barnabas J. Kimwogo as the East African slowed to near walking pace approaching the finish line.
The slender Qatari never looked challenged throughout the race, allowing Chabowski to make the early running before pulling away halfway through the race and keeping just ahead of the pack with Kimwogo leading at 2000 metres and then pulling smoothly ahead as they entered the home straight and jogging through the last 200 metres with no pressure from the rest of the field. Despite his slow final metres, Kimwogo recorded a personal best of 8:53.22 for his third place finish, with Chabowski clocking 8:53.10.
Kenya’s Ronald Kipchumba Rutto dominated this third semi-final. Going off fast, the Kenyan was in the lead after 400 metres and held that lead to the finish, running the last 1000 metres some 30 metres ahead of Ethiopian Ezkyas Sisay in second place.
It had looked as though the Ethiopian would manage to stay up with Rutto in the earlier stages, but he seemed to experience some difficulties with the water jump, losing a little ground with each lap and finally finishing in a new personal best of 8:39.12 to Rutto’s 8:35.12.
Morocco’s Said Tbibi won the final sprint for third place from Burundi’s Dieudonne Gahungu, with the Moroccan timed at 8:49.08 and Gahungo recording a National Junior record with his fourth place time of 8:50.19 and qualifying for the Final as one of the fastest losers, along with Hubert Pokrop of Poland in fifth place with 8:53.69.
The fourth-place finisher from heat 1, Zolile Bhitane also advanced to the Final with 8:52.79.