Where Your Dreams Become Reality
2007 World Champ 10k Preview: Bekele Goes for World Title #14
Zersenay Tadese defeated the seemingly unbeatable Kenenisa Bekele at this year's World Cross Country Championships in Mombasa, Kenya in the scorching heat. Will he do it again in the oven like temperatures of Osaka, Japan in the World Champs 10k?
Don't count on it.
First of all, the elements, not Tadese, defeated Bekele in Mombasa. It was super hot, sunny and humid.
Osaka is super hot, sunny, and humid. The difference is the time of the race. The World XCs were in the late afternoon under the full sun, while the 10,000m final is at 9:40 at night in the shade.
It will still be hot (90 degrees at 10pm with 67% humidity) but those conditions (believe it or not) are much better than Mombasa. Bekele is the best runner in the world and Tadese had some trouble cracking him in Mombasa, so don't expect him to do it again here.
Bekele has showed of late that he is on the form that has brought him 13 Olympic and World titles. He has run 12:49.53 for 5k and 7:25.79 for 3k in his last 2 races.
Sileshi Sihine the Most Underrated Runner in the World
If it wasn't for Kenenisa Bekele, Sihine would be an Olympic champion (10k in 2004), World XC Champ (2006) and a World track champ (10k in 2005). In 2007, he has run on the track twice, getting the world leader (26:48.73) in Hengelo in May and winning the 5000m at the Golden League meet in Rome (13:01.46), the #2 time in the world this year.
Don't expect Bekele to run away from Tadese or Sihine before the final lap, but expect what we have all come to expect, the win by Bekele.
American Abdi Abdiraham may only have a 27:22 pr (set last year) but he is running extremly well. 10th at the 2000 Olympics, Abdi appears to have raised his running to another level the last couple of years. He ran 27:22 and 2:08:56 last year and enters Worlds after running one of the best races of his life, running 1:00:29 to finish 2nd to Haile Gebrselassie at the NYC Half Marathon earlier this month.
Gebrselassie was full of praise for Abdi after that race, "Abdi at this time is a very good athlete like me. The very top (of the sport)," but Abdi has a way to go before breaking through to the medal ranks.
Galen Rupp and Dathan Ritzenhein round out the US team. Rupp was a surprising 2nd at USAs when Ritz wilted in the heat the final few laps. Rupp has been training under the guidance of Alberto Salazar in Park City, Utah specifically trying to prepare for the heat. It worked well for training partner Kara Goucher who got the USA the surprise bronze in the women's 10,000m. Ritz showed he is willing to run to utter exhaustion at USAs but the question mark on him is how well he can handle the heat, as the weather was much milder in Indianapolis at USAs and he had trouble.
Cross Country Spikes