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Ethiopia’s Dibaba Wins 3rd World 10,000m Title

DIBABA WINS THIRD WORLD 10,000M TITLE
By David Monti @d9monti

(c) 2013 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
(Used with permission)

MOSCOW
(11-Aug) — During the women’s 10,000m tonight at the 14th IAAF World
Championships here, thick storm clouds gathered over Luzhniki Stadium,
and the temperature dipped. A storm was coming, and before the rain
would fall on the men’s 100m final a few minutes later, Tirunesh Dibaba
unleashed her own burst of lightning, sprinting away from the field and
winning her third world 10,000m title and her first since 2007.

Her
time of 30:43.37 was solid, but it was the sheer speed of her final two
laps which impressed most. Running second in a single line of five
women led by Japan’s Hitomi Niiya, Dibaba did not take the lead until
there were 500 meters remaining in the race. When she pulled ahead,
Niiya immediately fell back, leaving her Ethiopian teammate Belaynesh
Oljira and Kenya’s Gladys Cherono to give chase.

“That is what I planned,” Dibaba told reporters later through a translator.

Dibaba,
who also has two world 5000m titles, left nothing to chance. She went
full throttle at the bell, circling the blue Mondo track in a
blistering 59.98 seconds. None of the women in the field could match
that kind of speed.

“For this race I had trained very well,
because the last two championships we had missed out on the gold,”
Dibaba declared. “Because of that, both as a team and individually, we
trained very hard for this.”

Behind Dibaba, a thrilling sprint
for the silver was taking shape in the homestretch. Oljira had a clear
lead coming around the final bend, but Cherono had moved to the center
of the track and had a clear line to the finish. The 30 year-old
Kenyan, her hair intricately braided and pulled into a thick ponytail,
started to close down the Ethiopian’s lead. Inside of the final ten
meters, she moved into second position and beating Oljira 30:45.17 to
30:46.98.

“I’m happy for what I achieved today,” said Cherono. “I was not expecting to be in the bracket of a medal.”

Many
fans had hoped that Dibaba would race against Meseret Defar in the
5000m here, but she had only entered the 10,000m. A reporter pressed
her on why this was, and she responded that it had nothing to do with
fearing her longtime rival, but was rather a decision by the Ethiopian
federation to allow younger athletes to have a chance at competing in a
world championships.

“The federation didn’t force me,” she
began. “The federation asked us to just run one race each, and that’s
why I left that race. Both of us have run many times, and they told us
that they wanted upcoming athletes to have a chance, and we agreed with
that.”

Niiya, who led the race from 3600 to 9500 meters, was
rewarded with a personal best of 30:56.70 in fifth place. Two-time IAAF
World Cross Country Championships gold medalist, Emily Chebet of Kenya,
finished fourth (30:47.02 PB).

American Shalane Flanagan, the
2008 Olympic bronze medalist at 10,000m, led the race from the gun
until Niiya took over the lead, setting up a fast pace. Although she
finished a creditable 8th in 31:34.83, she was clearly disappointed.

“I’ll
be honest, after Nationals I just haven’t felt like clicking like I
was, prior,” Flanagan explained. “I think I just had kind of a long
year with my training.” She added: “It wasn’t how I wanted it to go; I
wanted to be in the mix.”

The men’s 800m semi-finals went
according to form, but with a twist. The medal favorites –America’s
Duane Solomon and Nick Symmonds, Ethiopia’s Mohammed Aman, and
Djibuti’s Ayanleh Souleiman– all advanced, but the third American
Brandon Johnson did not, despite running 1:44.89. That time would have
made final in every previous edition of these championships.

“I’m
upset, I’m hurt,” said a distraught Johnson. He continued: “I feel that
all year I ran so good. It’s kind of heartbreaking.”

Solomon,
the USA champion, controlled the first heat from gun to tape, clocking
the fastest time of the evening: 1:43.87. He was completely composed
speaking with the media, like a teacher answering questions posted by
his students.

“It felt really good,” said Solomon. “I felt a
little better than yesterday. I just have to get my legs moving again,
and today everything was loose.” He added: “We raced the plan that my
coach gave me.”

Aman won the second heat in 1:44.71, and
France’s Pierre-Ambroise Bosse came a close second in 1:44.75.
Souleiman won the third heat in 1:44.99, with Symmonds right on his
heels (1:45.00).

“I’m just so ecstatic the way it’s shaping
up,” said Symmonds of the upcoming final. “You know, today I felt
really smooth going through the gears there. There were times,
especially in the first lap, where I said, ‘let’s get going. C’mon,
we’re wasting this opportunity.’ I feel like I’m ready to run 1:43,
maybe dip under 1:43 if need be. That’s what we’re going to find out on
Tuesday.”

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