Gotytom Gebreslase of Ethiopia wins the Girls' 3000m final at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Lille (Getty Images) © Copyright

Girls' 3000m Final – In a thriller, Gebreslase garners first Ethiopian title

Lille, FranceThere was plenty of guts, speed and drama on display in evening-capping girls 3000m final, resulting with a victorious and world leading 8:56.36 run by Gotytom Gebreslase.

The petite 16-year-old didn’t seal her victory - and the first ever in the event for Ethiopia at the World Youth Championships -  until passing Kenyan Ziporah Wanjiru Kingori less than 10 metres before the finish line in a thrilling race that saw half a dozen different leaders, dramatic surges and brave moves.

Tomoka Kimura and Katsuki Suga of Japan were the first to take control, taking the field through an opening sub-70-second lap, on 8:44 pace. Forging onward with Russian Alena Kudashkina and Romanian Luminata Achim in tow, the pair kept the pace honest and quick, going through the first kilometre in 2:58, out of range of the 8:53.94 Championship record set by Kenyan Mercy Cherono four years ago in Ostrava, but still well under nine-minute pace.

Lagging some ten metres behind was the more patient second quartet, composed of Gebreslase and compatriot Alemitu Heroye, and Kenyans Kingori and Caroline Chepkoech Kipkirui. But just half a lap later, the fearsome foursome ate up the gap and joined the leaders.

The most dramatic move of the race came with just 800 metres remaining when Kudashkina simply decided to go for broke. Upping the tempo significantly, the 17-year-old immediately carved out a 25-metre gap, one she extended to nearly 40 at the bell. Could she hold the lead on what would likely be the longest lap on her competitive life? That answer came with 250 metres to go with the Kenyan and Ethiopian duos shifted gears.

She was first reeled in by Kingori at the top of the final turn, with Kipkirui and Gebreslase moving by as they reached the final straight. Kingori looked best with fifty metres remaining, but she too couldn't hold off the quick-closing Gebreslase whose winning performance was also a personal best.

Silver medallist Kingori (8:56.82) and bronze winner Kipkirui (8:58.63) also notched personal bests, as did Kudashkina, who held on to finish fourth in 9:01.51. In all, all but four of the 15 finishers clocked career bests.

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF