23 SEP 2007 General News

Men's 5000m

Last year Edwin Soi was second in both the 3000m and the 5000m at the World Athletics Final; this year, he managed to improve both places by one to pull off an improbable distance double in the face of imposing competition.

Soi stayed buried in the pack throughout the race, remaining untroubled by the relatively slow first kilometre (2:57.99) even though Ethiopian Sileshi Sihine, the Osaka 10,000m silver medallist, grew sufficiently frustrated to force the pace himself approaching the second kilometre split. Even Osaka 5000m silver medalist Eliud Kipchoge took a turn in the front, hoping to raise the tempo, but nobody would invest the time to keep the pace brisk long enough to thin down the pack.

With one lap remaining it was obvious the time would not be impressive (the 4600m split of 12:45 was only slightly faster than the fastest 5000m time in the world this year) and it remained to see who would be the strongest kicker. Sihine was a strong finisher in Osaka, and he made the first move, breaking out with 300m remaining. Micah Kogo responded immediately, and Kipchoge also covered the move on the outside, and it looked like those three would fight out the victory between them.

Then abruptly, with 200m remaining, Soi burst from the pack as though launched from a catapult. Soi's move was so devastating it left the others struggling in his wake; he began celebrating his double victory with 20m remaining, winning in 13:38.16 to Kogo's 13:39.91 in second. "Even our sprinters are afraid of me," said Soi afterward, who claims 22-second 200m speed.

Soi thus completed the first 3000m / 5000m double by a Kenyan at the World Athletics Final. It would be a Kenyan sweep of the top five places, with Moses Masai (13:39.96), Joseph Ebuya (13:40.43) and Kipchoge (13:40.49) following Kogo; Sihine was a dispirited sixth in 13:41.04.

Parker Morse for the IAAF

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