Telahun Haile and Genzebe Dibaba come out on top in distance duels
Addis Ababa, June 7, 2019 (FBC) – A familiar name but an unfamiliar face came out on top in the men’s 5000m at the Golden Gala Pietro Mennea as Telahun Haile won in a world-leading 12:52.98 at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rome last night
Tilahun wasn’t one of the best-known athletes in the field. He had finished fifth in Shanghai last month, but six days before that had won the 5000m at the Ethiopian Championships.
Paced through 1000m in 2:33 and 2000m in 5:08.8, it was clear from the outset that the finishing time would be well inside 13 minutes. Once the pacemakers had dropped out, Diamond League champion Selemon Barega did much of the work at the front.
Five or six men were still in contention as they reached the bell in 11:58.3. Tilahun and Hagos Gebrhiwot led with Selemon close behind. Selemon looked to have timed his final effort well and hit the front with 200m to go, but Bekele wasn’t done and kicked back in the final stages, catching his fellow Ethiopian just before the line.
Tilahun crossed the line in 12:52.98 with Selemon close behind in 12:53.04. Six men in total finished inside 13 minutes.
The women’s 1500m wasn’t quite as close but was no less exciting.
After being paced through the first 800m in 2:09.24, Genzebe Dibaba overtook the second pacemaker before they reached 1000m (2:40.6). She continued to lead from fellow Ethiopian Gudaf Tsegay with European champion Laura Muir close behind in third.
They moved up a gear with one lap to go and Muir caught Gudaf with 200m remaining. Genzebe and Muir, now both moving at top speed, kicked again in a desperate bid for the line.
While Muir appeared to make up a bit of ground, there was no catching Genzebe who won in 3:56.28 – her fastest time since breaking the world record in 2015. Muir was just a stride behind in 3:56.73, the second-fastest time of her career.
“I was certain that I was in good enough shape to clock a world lead in Rome and I am happy I managed to do so,” said Genzebe. “But honestly I am ready to run faster even now.”