ETHIOPIAN PAIR BATTLE TO THE LINE IN WOMEN'S 5000m TO COMPLETE DAY 2 OF IAAF WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
By Chris Lotsbom
(c) 2011 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
July 11, 2012
In the lone distance final contested on the second day of the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Buze Diriba took home the women's 5000m gold medal, running 15:32.94 to give Ethiopia their second gold medal in as many days. Coming down the home stretch it was Diriba and her training partner, Ruti Aga, battling for the top spot, with only one-one hundredth of a second separating the pair at the tape.
"I am very happy and glad. I want to continue in the tradition of great Ethiopian runners," Diriba told the IAAF shortly after her victory.
As the world junior leader in the 5000m, Diriba, 18, came in as the fastest competitor in the field of 18. Letting Aga and Kenya's Agnes Jebet Tirop control the pace for the early kilometers, Diriba finally made her move with less than 700 meters remaining, going to the front.
After extending her lead, Diriba was caught by Aga after the bell had sounded. For the final lap it would be an Ethiopian battle. The two, who train in Addis Ababa under coach Nigatu Warku, went stride for stride together and crossed the line at nearly the same instant. But it was Diriba edging the older Aga by one one-hundredth of a second in a photo finish, 15:32.94 to 15:32.95.
"I am happy that we have one and two for Ethiopia," said Aga according to the IAAF.
Shortly behind the Ethiopian duo was Kenya's Tirop in 15:36.74. A large gap stood between third and fourth, where American Cayla Hatton finished in a personal best of 15:50.32, just shy of the USA national high school record. Hatton, from Farmington, Conn., who has gained attention in the United States after running 33:17.28 for 10,000m, will be attending Stanford University in the fall.
Looking at the podium, Diriba's gold and Aga's silver brings Ethiopia's medal total to four in the distance disciplines; Hiwot Gebrekidan earned a silver in the women's 3000m and Yigrem Demelash won gold in the men's 10,000m yesterday.
Diriba told reporters she would like to continue to improve and hopes to one day find her name amongst the nation's very best athletes. "My dream is to be like Dibaba," she said. "Of course I know Haile Gebrselassie."
Great Britain's Emelia Gorecka, yesterday's bronze medalist who was entered in the 5000m, but did not start.
For the second day in a row, Great Britain's Jessica Judd was the fastest qualifier in the women's 800m semi-finals. Judd ran 2:02.30 to win the third of three heats, telling UK Athletics her strategy heading into the race was similar to the one she used yesterday -- go to the front early and maintain the pace.
"I wanted to control it from the front as I know tomorrow is going to be a very different race. My aim before the race was to get to the final so I took the lead, took it easy for a while and then raised the pace on the back straight. That was actually a bit earlier than I was planning, but already by the final bend I knew I was qualifying,” Judd told UK Athletics.
Tomorrow's final will also feature Judd's British teammate, Emily Dudgeon, who won heat 2 in 2:02.32 ahead of American Ajee Wilson (2:02.43) and Germany's Sonja Mosler (2:02.82). The first heat saw Anastasiya Tkachuk of Ukraine win her section for the second day in a row, timing 2:02.50.
Tomorrow evening, the finals of the women's 3000m steeplechase and 800m, as well as the men's 1500m will be contested.