Hengelo, The NetherlandsThe windy weather was the main opponent of Kenenisa Bekele in his attempt to break his World 10,000m record at the Thales FBK Games - IAAF Grand Prix - in Hengelo today. The Ethiopian finished in 26:28.72, more than 8 seconds behind his time of last year in Ostrava but by far the fastest time in the world this year.
“It was too cold and there was too much wind,” a disappointed Bekele said after his race. He also could complain about the pacemakers who had already dropped out after 6 laps. From that point on Bekele was in the lead till the finish. Nevertheless, the IAAF World Ranked Overall number one still established the fourth fastest clocking on the all-time list.
His countryman Abebe Dinkessa was the most surprising figure in the field of African runners. The 21-year-old athlete followed Bekele as a shadow and bettered his personal best by 53 seconds to 26:30.74, making him the fifth fastest runner in history.
Songok defeats Kipchoge
Another big surprise was the winner of the 3000 metres Isaac Songok. The Kenyan beat his countryman World 5000m champion Eliud Kipchoge in a fascinating sprint finish. Songok’s 7:30.14 is a personal best for the 21-year-old runner. It had been thought that Kipchoge would have had the best chance of victory, after Hicham El Guerrouj withdrew from the field Friday. The Moroccan double Olympic champion fell ill last week.
Virgilijus Alekna had a great performance in the Discus Throw. The Lithuanian who is World and Olympic champion had five efforts over 68 metres. The last one was his best: 69.57 metres, but in the second round he had already taken the victory with 69.54. Estonia’s Aleksandr Tammert also had his best throw at the end of the competition: his 66.68 was worth second place.
In the 3000m Steeplechase, pacemaker Ali Thamar Kamal brought the group through the first kilometre in 2:40.68. Justus Kiprono, one of the other pacemakers, took over the lead and the second kilometre gave a split time of 5:28.23. Paul Koech took the initiative in the last 800 metres, with Jamal Bila Salem right behind him. But in the last lap the Olympic silver medallist Brimin Kipruto had the best sprinting capacity and won - just like last year in Hengelo. His 8:09.53 is the best of this early season.
Ethiopia’s World Junior cross country champion Gelete Burika (19) was the only athlete who followed pacemaker Liliana Popescu (ROM) in the first laps of the women’s 1500 metres. After split times of 62 seconds and 2:05, the Ethiopian had to do the last 600 metres on her own. She won in a personal best of 4:04.97.
Isabella Ochichi looked set to have an easy win in the 5000 metres, when she left the field after 3km with fellow Kenyan Alice Timbilil. The intermediate time at that point was 8:56. Speeding up in the forth kilometre, the winner of the silver medal at the same distance in Athens was on her way to the finish line. But in the last lap Maryam Jamal from Bahrain showed an impressive turn of speed, which brought her close to the Kenyan winner. Ochichi finished in 14:50.96. Jamal followed in 14:51.68.
Johnson returns to Hengelo
Allen Johnson was pleased with his win in the 110m Hurdles in 13.18 (+0.8). “I wanted to do a technically clearance and that is what I did for a great part of it,” the four time World champion said after his second career race in Hengelo. “The first one was eleven years ago in 13.50 or somewhat: (which was) my very first race outside the US,” Johnson remembered.
Sweden’s Susanne Kallur was the fastest woman in the 100 metres Hurdles. The Swede ran 12.65 (+0,7), the second fastest time of this young season. Andrea Bliss mingled between the two Swedish sisters to come second in 12.89, with Jenny Kallur third in 12.99.
Chandra Sturrup won the 100 metres in 11.15 (+0,3), beating Marion Jones, who finished second in 11.29. For the athlete from the Bahamas’ it was her fastest time of this year. Jones came to Hengelo to prove to the world she will again be a dominating factor in the sprints. “I’m pleased with my start. Technically everything is good, but not the time. I need to qualify for the Helsinki,” was her conclusion.
Of the significant others - World Junior 5000m champion Augustine Choge of Kenya convincingly beat Tariku Bekeke, Kenenisa’s younger brother in the 5000m - 13:12.83 to 13:14.15; in the men’s Pole Vault, Tim Lobinger vaulted 5.82m, significantly fulfilling the German Federations qualification requirement for the World Championships for the second time this summer; Italy’s Simona La Mantia (14.31m +1.2) comfortably took the women’s Triple Jump; in a close fought women’s Shot Put, Natalia Khoroneko of Belarus (18.81) beat Olympic silver medallist Nadine Kleinert (18.64).
Cors van de Brink for the IAAF