World Athletics Championships 2007- Preview Part III

23 08 2007

Today we’ll have a look at the longer distance events on the track, including the steeples. Here are links to Part 1, and Part 2.

Men

Bekele!In men’s distance running currently there is only one name. Kenenisa Bekele, the rest are just there for show. Bekele may have succeeded his mentor, the great Haile Gebrselassie as a multi World record holder, but the 25-year-old Ethiopian still has catching up to do in the terms of titles won. So far this season there has been no evidence to suggest Bekele will be severely challenged in his bid to win a 3rd consecutive 10,000m title here. His fiercest competition looks set to come from compatriots Sileshi Sihine (26.48.73 sb), Gebregziabher Gebremariam (26.52.73 sb), and Tadesse Tola (27.04.79sb), although Eritrea’s Olympic bronze medallist Zersenay Tadesse – who just missed a sub-27:00 clocking with his solo run at the All African Games – can’t be discounted… and as usual there will be a host of Kenyans working together to try and break the Ethiopian dominance of the event. Distance running has progressed so far over the past 15 years that it is barely recognizable. Bekele’s 10,000m world record stands at 26.17.53. In 1993 Yobes Ondieki became the first man to squeeze under 27 minutes, since then 24 other men have achieved the feat, lowering the record nearly a full minute. Extraordinary.

Can Jamie run like this? ;)In the 5000m, considerable attention will be directed to Australian Craig Mottram, the reigning bronze medallist and commonwealth silver medalist, as he seeks to end an African stranglehold on the event that began with the second edition of the Championships in Rome back in 1987. Although Bekele, the world leader, won’t be in the race, Ethiopian Sileshi Sihine, the defending silver medallist, and Kenyans Eliud Kipchoge (2003 champion) and Isaac Songok, will be. Mottram is a very good tactician, and one of only a butchers left hand of white men to run under 13mins for the distance. He may medal, but again I feel the African team running of the Kenyans and Ethiopians with their heart-breaking surges and devastating sprint finishes will be too much for the big man.

With two-time defending champion Saif Saaeed Shaheen (Qatar via Kenya, again.. In case you’re wondering, Arab countries seeking some medals ‘bought’ some kenyan runners to become citizens a few years ago, and pay them handsomely for their success.) sidelined with injury, the 3000m Steeplechase spotlight will fall on Olympic champion Ezekiel Kemboi (Kenya), who’ll be looking to improve on his two successive runner-up finishes after winning the notoriously difficult Kenyan trials. He’ll be joined by countryman Brimin Kipruto, who finished behind Kemboi at both the Olympic Games and in Helsinki two years ago. European hopes rest on the shoulders of Mustafa Mohamed, whose 8:05.75 last month eclipsed the Swedish national record set by Olympic champion Anders Garderud at the Montreal Games in 1976. The last time an athlete born in a country other than Kenya won the event was… well… 20 years ago when Francesco Panetta won at home in Rome. Since then, Kenyan born athletes have won most of the medals. I don’t see that trend changing at all.

Women

Ethiopia RulzTwo years ago in Helsinki, Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia) made history when she became the first woman to capture both the 5000 and 10,000m titles in the same championships. In Osaka, she’ll be shooting for a record third title in the 5000, and an unprecedented second title in the 10,000m. She’s raced only once outdoors this season – winner of the 5000m in Paris – but it’s hard to imagine that she would choose to double if she wasn’t well prepared. In the longer race, she’ll be joined by compatriot Mestawet Tufa, the world leader, who looks to be the primary challenger. But the 5000m seems to be the race where the most interest lies.

In the 5000, she’ll face perennial rival and compatriot Meseret Defar, the Olympic champion who earlier this season lowered her own World record in the event to 14:16.63 at the IAAF Golden League meet in Oslo. This head-to-head is certainly one of the most anticipated of the championships. Finishing second in Oslo was Kenyan Vivian Cheruiyot (14:22.51) who also dipped under the previous World record to underline her claims to be a potential champion. Morocco’s Mariem Alaoui Selsouli emerged as a solid medal threat after her largely solo 14:36.52 victory in Rome. The medals will probably be shared between these athletes.

Womens steeplechasing is still in it’s infancy, and as such the records and champions change regularly as more and more take the event seriously. Uganda’s defending champion Dorcus Inzikuru will miss out as she is on maternity leave, so the focus falls on the Russian trio of Gulnara Samitova-Galkina (9:11.68 SB), the World record holder, Yekaterina Volkova (9:13.35) and Tatyana Petrova (9:14.35), the year’s three fastest. Kenyan Eunice Jepkorir (9:14.52) will also be a solid medal contender.

Next up, we’ll have a look at the road runs and the hurdles events.

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24 08 2007
Top English WP Blogs « Hành trang 8X

[…] World Athletics Championships 2007- Preview Part III Today we’ll have a look at the longer distance events on the track, including the steeples. Here are links to […] […]

24 08 2007
Top Posts « WordPress.com

[…] World Athletics Championships 2007- Preview Part III Today we’ll have a look at the longer distance events on the track, including the steeples. Here are links to […] […]

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