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Tariku Bekele and Abraham Cherkose negotiate tricky 5000m semis
by: Ethiopian Athletics Federation
August 30, 2007
Ethiopian runners Tariku Bekele and Abraham Cherkose have qualified for the men’s 5000m on Sunday after making it past their difficult heats in the semifinals on Sunday.  
In the first two heats, Tariku did not panic when Swede Erik Sjoqvist first hit the front early on and then extended his lead to up 80m in the successive laps. A chasing pack that included Tariku and fellow Ethiopian Bekana Daba upped the pace at the 4000m mark eventually catching the Swede.  
While Bekana dropped off at 600m, Tariku took up the lead at the bell and held on the challenge for victory in 13:46.42 ahead of Spaniard Jesus Espana and American Bernard Lagat. The two Kenyans in the heat- Isaac Songok and world junior 5000m bronze medallist Joseph Ebuya- finished seventh and ninth, thus unable to make it through to the final on Sunday.  
Speaking to the press after the race, Tariku said, “I was worried about the weather. It was very difficult out there and I hope to do well in the final.  
The second heat followed a more or less similar pattern with Eritrean Ali Abdella taking up the pace early on. But unlike the chasing pack in the first heat, this pack tried to close down the Eritrean thus eventually producing a faster finishing time than the first. The heat was won by Kenya’s 2003 champion Eliud Kipchoge ahead of Abraham Cherkose, who clawed his way back from 11th to finish second.  

“I am happy to have qualified because I had been ill since I came here,” said Abraham. “The food I ate here did not agree with me. I had been having a bad appetite and I had struggled even to run here.”  

Talking about his hopes for the final, he said, “We will talk about this with Tariku. In the past when we have done this, we produce a good result.” 

Bekana Daba, the third Ethiopian in the race, finished eleventh in his heat and failed to progress.  

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