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Women's 5,000m: Kenyan 1-2 Sweep Caps Greatest World Champs For Kenyan Women On The Track

by: LetsRun.com
August 22, 2009
Berlin, Germany

Kenya's Vivian Cheruiyot and Sylvia Kibet passed Ethiopia's Meseret Defar down the final stretch to sweep the gold and silver medals in the women's 5,000m final at the 2009 World Track and Field Championships to cap the Kenyan women's most successful Worlds on the track.

Prior to the last World Championships, the Kenyan women had won 7 medals on the track ever, counting both the Olympics and World Championships. At this World Championships (the Kenyan women have no one in Sunday's 1,500m final) the Kenyan women have 6 medals, including 2 golds. They got 4 track medals in 2007 and 4 in 2008.

12th IAAF World Athletics Championships - Day Eight

Six Together At The Bell
The women's race featured a modest pace until the final kilometer that left nearly the entire field in contention. Lap-by-lap splits are below, but a 4:57 opening 1,600 and a 4:54.4 second 1,600 did nearly nothing to separate the field, as the entire bunch except for 2 was in contention until the pace quickened with 1,000m to go. The 11th lap was the first under 72 seconds (15-minute pace), as it was a 70.23, and the real race began. The modest increase in pace only shook off the pretenders (American Jen Rhines fell back just before 800m to go), as at the bell (12:59.35), six women - three from Kenya (Cheruiyot, Kibet, and Iness Chenonge) and three from Ethiopia (Defar, Sentayehu Ejigu and Meselech Melkamu (who would have won the 10,000m gold a week ago if she had not celebrated too early) - were still in contention. Coming off the final turn, the medallists were determined, as Cheruiyot, Kibet and Defar were clear of everyone else. The final 100m would determine the order of the medals.

The homestretch was similar to the women's 10,000m final as Defar was in front. She glanced over her shoulder, once, then twice. However, unlike the 10,000m, her victory did not seem imminent, as Cheruiyot was close. Cheruiyot came by Defar at least 20 meters before the line and would get the gold. Kibet was charging fast and Defar did the same thing she did in the 10,000m, give up just before the line. In the 10,000m, it cost her the bronze medal; here it cost her the silver, as it was just enough to let Kibet, Kenya's "Forgotten Lady" (excellent LRC profile here) steal the silver, after having finished 4th in Beijing and Osaka. Ejigu was 5 seconds further adrift in fourth, Melkamu had to settle for fifth, and Chenonge sixth. Silvia Weissteriner of Italy ran a seasonal best to be the first European. American Jen Rhines was ninth.

Cheruiyot's final lap of 58.62 (28.80 last 200) was identical to Defar's 58.6 final lap to win in 2007 in nearly the same time that Cheruiyot won in today (14:57.91 for Defar in 2007, 14:57.97 today).

12th IAAF World Athletics Championships - Day Eight Singing And Dancing For Cheruiyot, Defar Talks About Illness
Afterwards, the Kenyans were rightfully elated and Defar dejected. Cheruiyot said, "This is a great achievement for me." She added she'd celebrate with a little singing and dancing in the hotel and then more singing and dancing in Kenya. Kibet, after just missing the medals the last two years, was pleased to finally be on the podium. The Renato Canova-coached athlete said the plan was simple, have a better last lap than she did in Osaka and Bejing. She said, "The tactics were to be good the last 400 because in Osaka (and Beijing) I was fourth."

Defar had one of the most disappointing championships of any athlete. Just meters away from two gold medals, she leaves with only one bronze after costing herself two medals by letting up before the line. She said at the press conference, "I'm really greatly disappointed by what happened." She said she came in very fit. "I was in top condition. I'm very concerned about what happened," and then discussed that she came down with a sore throat after arriving in Berlin in last Friday. She said she sweated through the night Friday before Saturday's 10k final despite having the air conditioning on. She said the illness "did not really affect me during the 10,000m race." After the 10k she then felt worse and got on medication. She then sprinted all the way to the finish in her 5k heat to see how she felt, but said she did not feel 100% tonight. She said, "I did feel a lack of power ... perhaps because of the medication I took, I was feeling weak."

Jen Rhines 9th
American Jen Rhines was 9th after falling back with 800m to go. For Rhines it was an improvement on Beijing (14th) and her second-best finish in a World Championships (she was 7th in Osaka).

Jen told USATF afterwards, "I was disappointed. I thought I would be a bit more competitive. I just didn't have it. I planned on making a move with about 3 or 4 laps to go, and felt like I was already struggling. I finished up the best that I could. I just didn't have the kind of race that I wanted to." (Note: The IAAF has asked that we no longer upload video interviews.)

Lap-by-lap splits:
2:28.67 (75.85)
3:43.14 (74.47)
4:57.04 (73.90) (Defar in lead)
6:11.04 (74.00)
7:25.90 (74.86)
8:39.10 (73.2) (Cheruiyot in lead )
9:51.42 (72.32)
(10:27 with 4 to go)
11:03.50 (72.08) (2 off back)
12:15.79 (72.29)
12:51 with 2 to go  (Jen Rhines starts to fall off)
13:26.02 (70.23)
12:59.35 6 together at bell
14:29.17 63.15  Cheruyiot leading with 200 to go, Defar went around on turn
(58.62 final lap, 28.80 last 200)

1 586 Vivian Cheruiyot KEN 14:57.97
2 590 Sylvia Jebiwott Kibet KEN 14:58.33
3 327 Meseret Defar ETH 14:58.41
4 330 Sentayehu Ejigu ETH 15:03.38
5 335 Meselech Melkamu ETH 15:03.72
6 585 Iness Chepkesis Chenonge KEN 15:06.06
7 518 Silvia Weissteiner ITA 15:09.74 (SB)
8 328 Genzebe Dibaba ETH 15:11.12
9 1021 Jennifer Rhines USA 15:11.63
10 740 Sara Moreira POR 15:12.22
11 567 Yuriko Kobayashi JPN 15:12.44 (SB)
12 571 Yurika Nakamura JPN 15:13.01 (PB)
13 922 Alemitu Bekele TUR 15:18.18 (SB)
14 483 Krisztina Papp HUN 15:20.36
15 895 Zakia Mrisho Mohamed TAN 15:31.73


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