With One Shoe, Paul Chelimo Makes 5K Final, Calls Out LetsRun Doubters
By Jonathan Gault
September 27, 2019
DOHA, Qatar — Usually the 5,000-meter prelims don’t produce much drama, but there was plenty of it on day 1 of the 2019 World Championships. The biggest news by far was the disqualification of Norway’s teenage superstar Jakob Ingebrigtsen, who stepped inside the rail in the final 200m of his prelim. That development gets its own article here: LRC Teenage Sensation Jakob Ingebrigtsen DQ’d, Then Reinstated in World Championships 5K
Update: He’s been reinstated but this article was written with him out. We’ve changed the results below to show them with him in the final.
The other drama came in heat 2, when America’s Paul Chelimo lost his shoe after he was clipped from behind with a little over a mile to go but still managed to win his heat in impressive fashion, looking like Paul Chelimo, the Olympic and world medallist in 2016 and 2017.
All the major players advanced to the final. Three Ethiopians — including Muktar Edris, who looked strong — and both Kenyans made it to the final, along with sub-13:00 man Moh Ahmed of Canada and Australian star Stewart McSweyn. American Hassan Mead also advanced, nabbing a time qualifier out of heat 2, but the third American, Ben True, missed out (8th heat 1, .93 out of qualifying, as did NCAA champ Morgan McDonald of Australia (7th heat 1, .46 out of qualifying).
|1||695||Selemon BAREGA||ETH||13:24.69 Q|
|2||1290||Jacob KROP||KEN||13:24.94 Q|
|3||700||Muktar EDRIS||ETH||13:25.00 Q SB|
|4||1486||Jakob INGEBRIGTSEN||NOR||13:25.20 Q|
|5||394||Mohammed AHMED||CAN||13:25.35 Q|
|6||361||Birhanu BALEW||BRN||13:25.70 q|
|17||145||Jamal Abdelmaji EISA MOHAMMED||ART||14:15.32|
|18||1334||Tariq Ahmed AL AMRI||KSA||14:21.19|
|19||897||Braima Suncar DABÓ||GBS||18:10.87 PB|
|1||1873||Paul CHELIMO||USA||13:20.18 Q|
|2||696||Telahun Haile BEKELE||ETH||13:20.45 Q|
|3||1484||Filip INGEBRIGTSEN||NOR||13:20.52 Q|
|4||170||Stewart MCSWEYN||AUS||13:20.58 Q|
|5||1280||Nicholas Kipkorir KIMELI||KEN||13:20.82 Q|
|6||250||Isaac KIMELI||BEL||13:20.99 q|
|7||1485||Henrik INGEBRIGTSEN||NOR||13:21.22 q|
|8||1918||Hassan MEAD||USA||13:22.11 q SB|
|9||407||Justyn KNIGHT||CAN||13:25.95 q|
|1088||Said EL OTMANI||ITA||DNF|
|537||Gerald Nicolas GIRALDO VILLA||COL||DNF|
Quick Take: An already weakened event took more hits today
The LetsRun preview of this event mentioned some of the big names who won’t be running the 5,000 here — Mo Farah, Joshua Cheptegei, and Yomif Kejelcha — and today the final took two more hits as Ingebrigtsen was DQ’d and Hagos Gebrhiwet, the man LetsRun viewed as the favorite for gold, was a scratch (he’s doing the 10,000 only).
Gebrhiwet wanted to double, but the Ethiopian federation entered him in the 10,000 only. I bumped into Gebrhiwet’s agent Mark Wetmore in the mixed zone, and he said that he only found out that Gebrhiwet would be doing only the 10,000 on Thursday — just one day before the 5k prelims.
The Ethiopian federation made a huge mistake here. Though Gebrhiwet has never doubled at a major champs before, he showed earlier this summer that he doesn’t have trouble bouncing back as he won the 5,000 over Ingebrigtsen in London just three days after running 26:48 to win the Ethiopian 10,000 trials. Ethiopia had the gold-medal favorite in the 5,000 and chose not to run him in favor of Abadi Hadis, who was awful today, finishing 14th in heat 2.
Quick Take: Chelimo looks great, says his foot is all good, and calls out LetsRun.com for not believing
Rarely does anyone remember what happened in a distance prelim, but Paul Chelimo has a history of drama in prelims and today he did not disappoint.
The good news for American distance fans is Chelimo looked like a medal contender after a string of mostly mediocre results in 2019.
Chelimo fell in the prelims two years ago and still advanced and was DQ’d from his prelim at World Indoors last year. Today he lost his shoe when Filip Ingebrigtsen stepped on his heel on the seventh or eighth lap, but Chelimo ran the final mile flawlessly. He outkicked everyone over the final 200m for the heat win, then extended his arms in celebration across the finish line. Paul Chelimo, World Championship contender, was back.
Chelimo didn’t even try to find the shoe after the race (he came through the mixed zone with one shoe) and when asked if his foot was bloody, he shook off the question.
“This is a tire man,” Chelimo said, gesturing toward his foot. “I’m good.”
Chelimo will need his foot to be feeling good for Monday’s final, as he hasn’t been in great form this year (by his lofty standards). But after losing to Lopez Lomong at USAs and finishing just 8th in the Diamond League final, Chelimo hasn’t lost any swagger. When asked if he was back to his old self in Doha, he called LetsRun out for our lack of faith (as he has done before).
“LetsRun you never believe in me,” Chelimo said. “So today I showed you. Wait for it, the final and you will see.”
Then when asked who was the favorite in the final, Chelimo didn’t hesitate.
“You know the answer. It’s Paul Chelimo.”
Quick Take: Ben True says that he only extended his season after USAs so that he could earn healthcare for 2020 through USOC
True has been battling injuries to both of his Achilles in 2019, which he felt robbed him off of his closing speed. It showed today as he was 8th in heat 1 and missed out on a time qualifier by less than a second.
The injuries caused True to miss five weeks of workouts before USAs and two weeks of running after USAs. It was so bad that he would occasionally tear up while jogging.
But even though True was not 100% healthy, he decided to run some races after USAs so that he could earn health insurance for 2020 through the USOC (they cover it for athletes in the top 20 of the IAAF’s World Rankings). So when True got the call that Drew Hunter had scratched, he was still training and decided to extend his season.
True had to be ranked in the top 20 by the end of Worlds (he entered ranked 15th) so he should be okay, but he appreciates the irony of racing through injury in order to qualify for health insurance.
“I’m rooming with Andy Bayer here, and he’s like, ‘it’s kind of ironic what you’re doing there,’” True said.
Justyn Knight interview
Knight said that he spent eight minutes waiting to find out about his status and praying that he’d earned a time qualifier after finishing 9th in heat 2. His prayers were answered: he’ll be in the final on Monday.
Moh Ahmed interview
The Ingebrigtsens didn’t stop in the mixed zone, but expressed confidence (though Henrik limped through mixed zone)