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LetsRun.com's 2009 IAAF Berlin World Championships Preview
Men's 10,000m - Kenenisa Bekele Runs His First 10k Since Beijing
What an event in store for the third night of action in Berlin: the men's 10,000m. Since 2003, no man has taken home a global gold medal in this event other than Mr. Kenenisa Bekele.
And silver, for that matter, has belonged to Mr. Sileshi Sihine.
2003 WC, 2004 OG, 2005 WC, 2007 WC, 2008 OG ... will the trend continue or will someone rise up to defeat the two-headed Ethiopian 10k monster?
Breaking News: As of August 13th, the Ethiopian camp is reporting Sihine is out of the 10,000 with an injury and will be replaced by 20-year-old Imane Merga, who has run 27:33.87 this year and is also on the Worlds 5,000 squad with a PR of 12:59.75, run this July.
If anyone does, it may be another Ethiopian. In the absence of Kenenisa Bekele at the IAAF World Cross-Country Championships in Amman, Jordan earlier this year, Gebre Gebremariam took home the gold. He'll bring a 26:52 personal best into this race. Also competing for Ethiopia is all-time world #5 Abebe Dinkesa (26:30 PR).
Interestingly, the top 6 time performers in the world in 2009 will not be competing in Berlin. #7 is Dinkessa. Bekele and Sihine, of course, have not run 10ks in 2009. Bekele's last 10k was his win in Beijing and the one before that was an unreal 26:25 in the Prefontaine meet in 2008.
Kenya will trot out an impressive trio on August 17th. Micah Kogo and Moses Masai were third and fourth in Beijing behind Bekele and Sihine. They have been solid this year and all media reports signal their efforts have been 100% focused on preparing to defeat the Ethiopians. The third competitor for Kenya is Bernard Kipyego. 23 years old, Kipyego has broken 27:00 in the 10k and also ran 59:34 in the Berlin half marathon this year.
All eyes will be on the Kenyan squad after Athletics Kenya dismissed Gideon Ngatuny and Sammy Kitwara from the Berlin team despite their qualifying performances in Nairobi. To read more about their dismissal, click here and here. Basically, Athletics Kenya axed the two runners and their agents for running races between the Kenyan Trials and the World Championships. Time will tell if the dismissals will hurt or help the Kenyan teams. Truth is, it's hard to imagine any of these guys defeating Bekele.
It has not been announced yet, but we assume Eritrean Zersenay Tadese will be running the 10,000m. Tadese has hit the track one time since his disappointing DNF in his first marathon try in London back in April. Tadese cashed in on a win in Spain back in late June with a 13:07 5k. If he can close in 13:07 on Monday night, the 2004 Olympic bronze medal winner might win the race.
America sends a great squad to Berlin with Galen Rupp, new training mate Dathan Ritzenheim and former Wisco guy turned Oregon resident Tim Nelson making the team. Rupp was the first non-African to finish the Beijing 10,000m but a hip injury has popped up recently for the oft-raced former Duck. Ritz is looking to work on some speed after a mini-failure in his last marathon in London. Nelson will put on the US jersey at a global track championships for the first time. Making the team was his priority for the year - he skipped World XC citing this meet - so we hope to see him do well. In Osaka in 2007, Ritz was 9th.
Other top runners include Australia's Collis Birmingham and Shawn Forrest, Juan Luis Barrios (MEX), Yuki Sato (JAP), and a strong Tanzanian duo we've never heard of.
Looking back to 2007 in the video above, one can see that Bekele was on the ropes. He trailed going into the bell lap by several meters. Sihine was charging for home in front. But Bekele won. By 20m or more. The guy is ridiculously difficult to beat. What tactic would you employ if you were the Kenyan coach? You can't sit and kick with Bekele. So we're guessing the pace will be hot thanks to three Kenyans literally killing themselves off hoping that one can survive.
For that reason alone, we think the Kenyans will be sorely disappointed with the result. The Ethiopian
It's tempting to pick a dark horse like Rupp for spot number 4, but we think he's tired after a busy year dominating everybody in the NCAA.
Men's 10,000m Statistics By LRC Coaching Guru John Kellogg
26:48.7 Shume Gerbaba (ETH)+