Defar Blows Away Field on Final Lap for 5k Gold
By David Monti
(c) 2007 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
(01-Sep) -- Meseret Defar, the reigning Olympic gold medalist and world
record holder at 5000m, claimed her first outdoor world title on the
pentultimate day of the 11th IAAF World Championships at Nagai Stadium.
by a plodding pace set by fan favorite Kayoko Fukushi, who was doubling
back from the 10,000m, Defar did little but wait for 11 of the 12 and
one-half laps. In the early going, she simply trailed a step behind
Fukushi who was turning gentle 74 and 75 second laps. It wasn't until
the 11th lap that Vivian Cheruiyot tried to jump start the race with a
sub-72 circuit. At the bell, Defar applied the pressure, but held her
big sprint for the end.
"In the last 400 meters I increased the
length of my stride," said Defar after the race as if teaching a class.
"And in the last 200 meters I used my sprint to win."
my dear Watson! Her 58.6 second final lap gave her a more than
adequate cushion at the finish, grabbing the gold medal in 14:57.91,
Ethiopia's third of these championships.
Behind her the three
Kenyans, led by Cheruiyot, were working over Turkey's Elvan
Abeylegesse, the silver medalist at these championships at 10,000m.
They left her behind to finish fifth, then battled for the last two
medals. Cheruiyot was comfortably ahead of her teammates, landing the
silver in 14:58.50. She knew she chould not catch Defar.
"The last 400m it was too fast for me," said Cheruiyot. "I could not catch up to her."
Jepleting then battled Sylvia Kibet, NYC Half-Marathon champion Hilda
Kibet's little sister, to the line with Jepleting getting the bronze by
just 4/100ths of a second.
In the minor placcings, Meselech
Melkamu finished sixth while Americans Jen Rhines and Shalane Flanagan
finished seventh and eight, respectively. Rhines finish was the best
by an American since Libbie Hickman also finished seventh in Athens in
"My goal at the beginning of the year was to make top
eight in the finals," said Rhines who lives and trains in Mammoth
Lakes, Calif. "I made a lot of tactical errors, but it's my highest
placing at worlds."
The men's 5000m final will be contested
tomorrow night and will feature a heavyweight match between Australia's
Craig Mottram, Ethiopia's Tariku Bekele, Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge and
America's Bernard Lagat. With Matt Tegenkamp and Adam Goucher, the
Americans have three men in the final for the first time in the history
of these championships.
1 410 Meseret Defar ETH 14:57.91
2 640 Vivian Cheruiyot KEN 14:58.50
3 639 Priscah Jepleting Cherono KEN 14:59.21
4 643 Sylvia Jebiwott Kibet KEN 14:59.26 (PB)
5 904 Elvan Abeylegesse TUR 15:00.88 (SB)
6 415 Meselech Melkamu ETH 15:01.42
7 993 Jennifer Rhines USA 15:03.09
8 961 Shalane Flanagan USA 15:03.86
9 479 Joanne Pavey GBR 15:04.77 (SB)
10 409 Gelete Burika ETH 15:07.46
11 818 Mariya Konovalova RUS 15:09.71
12 573 Silvia Weissteiner ITA 15:11.81 (PB)
13 262 Volha Krautsova BLR 15:11.82 (SB)
14 602 Kayoko Fukushi JPN 15:19.40
15 759 Jessica Augusto POR 15:24.93
Intermediate Bib Athlete Nat Event
1000m 602 Kayoko Fukushi JPN 2:59.22
2000m 602 Kayoko Fukushi JPN 6:04.69
3000m 640 Vivian Cheruiyot KEN 9:11.99
4000m 640 Vivian Cheruiyot KEN 12:13.05
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