Where Your Dreams Become Reality
The 2007 World Champs Men's 10,000m: Bekele Survives Strong Challenge from Sihine and Mathathi
The king still reigns.
With a lap to go in the men's 10,000m, Kenenisa Bekele was in an unfamiliar place, third, having let a slight 2 meter gap open up between him and the second place runner, his compatriot Sileshi Sihine as Kenya's Martin Matathi was in the lead. On the turn, Sihine made his move for the win as both he and Bekele shot past Matathi.
Sihine put distance on Bekele on the backstretch heading into the final 200m. Would the underrated Sihine finally get his due? If it was not for Bekele, Sihine would be an Olympic Champ, a World XC champ, and a World track champ. Instead, he toils in virtual anonymity.
Just when one began to think the unthinkable, Bekele shifted into another gear. He flew by Sihine on the final turn and sprinted for home leaving Sihine way back in his wake. Perhaps, Bekele knew he had it all along, but if he is going to be defeated it definitely will not be on the last lap anytime soon.
It was the 3rd straight 10k title for Bekele and his 14th World and/or Olympic title. Sihine had to settle for the silver for the 4th time in his career.
10,000m Running an African Affair
World XC champ Zersenay Tadese did most of the early pacemaking as they were 4:21.52 at 1600m (27:15) pace. The honest pace continued in the 84 degree heat through 5k (13:42.98) as Tadese did most of the pacemaking duties but Ethiopian Gebre-egziabher Gebremariam would come to the front occasionally.
The pack was down to 10 at 5k, but Hasan Mahboob of Bahrain would soon drop out. At 7k there were 7 contenders for the crown including Abdi Abidarhman, but he fell off the pack on the next lap. Now it was between Bekele, Sihine, Mathathi, Tadese, Gebremariam, and Josephat Muchiri of Kenya. Tadese's honest pace continued its toll the next k and by 8k there were only 4 contenders (Tadese, Bekele, Sihine and Mathathi).
Tadese was still in the lead with a mile to go (23:00.73). With 3 laps (after a 64.92 lap) to go Mathathi went to the front and pushed the pace dropping Tadese. Mathathi would cover the 23rd lap in a quick 61.12 as Sihine stayed on his heels but a slight gap opened to Bekele. The pace lagged a little the next lap (63.22), but Mathathi and Sihine were still clear of Bekele at the bell. Bekele was clearly was within striking distance and if you just looked at the results you might think this was another easy win for him. That was far from the case as Sihine put up a brave fight but perhaps kicked too soon.
Bekele told the IAAF afterwards how tough a race it was. "I was tired. But after a moment, my body started to recover a bit, and when the other guy (Mathathi)took the lead, I encouraged Sileshi to go after him. If I could have, I would have...I used everything I had to come back and when I caught Sileshi, of course I had to pass him". Bekele covered the final lap in roughly 55.5 to get the win.
Americans 7, 9, 11
USATF released these quotes from the Americans afterwards. Abdi Abdirahman (Tucson, Ariz.): "It went ok up until about five laps to go. I wasn't hurting, but I started getting blisters on my heels."
Galen Rupp (Portland, Ore.): "Felt ok coming into this. Dathan and I were working together; I just didn't hold up my end of the deal. This race shows you how hard you have to work. I didn't have the greatest of days, but this was a good experience. Hopefully I can improve on this next year."
Dathan Ritzenhein (Boulder, Colo.): "I have to go back and look at my training to see what I can do differently. I didn't think anybody would take it out hard tonight. I was pretty shocked that it went out that way."
Former NCAA champion, Simon Bairu of Canada dropped out 7 minutes in and grabbed his lower left leg.
*Watch the Race and all of the Worlds on Demand or Live WCSN (It's from the Monday Evening Session)
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