29th adidas Runners City Night Inline Skating on 1 August 2020

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10.000 m final in Athens: Bekele becomes Gebrselassie’s successor

With a breathtaking last lap of less than 54 seconds Bekele stormed to the gold medal.


Kenenisa Bekele is the new Olympic 10.000 m Champion. Once again the Ethiopian became the successor of his big idol: Haile Gebrselassie. With a breathtaking last lap of less than 54 seconds Bekele stormed to the gold medal.

The 10,000 m World Champion and world record holder broke the Olympic record clocking 27:05,10 minutes.
Gebrselassie had been the holder of the record until Friday night with 27:07,34 from Atlanta 1996. Sileshi Sihine (Ethiopia/27:09,39) won the silver medal and Zersenay Tadesse (Eritrea/27:22,57) took the bronze.

Gebrselassie finished fifth
The attempt of becoming the first runner to win an Olympic 10,000 m gold for the third time ended in pain for Haile Gebrselassie. After having won the event in Atlanta and Sydney the 31 year-old now finished fifth. And finally he even limped off the track.

Haile Gebrselassie should have got a more appropriate farewell from track running. It was most probably his last race on the track. And he was indeed celebrated in the Olympic Stadium of Athens as if he had won the race. “My next goal is indeed the marathon”, Gebrselassie confirmed, when he limped through the mixed zone of the stadium. But it is doubtful that this project will go ahead as planned. Gebrselassie plans to run the Amsterdam Marathon in mid October. That had been quite a close affair anyway. But now, taking into account his injury, it will probably be difficult to stick to the marathon training schedule.

Ethiopian federation put pressure on him to run in the Olympic final
Originally Haile Gebrselassie did not want to compete in Athens due to problems with his Achilles tendon in his left foot. But it was understood that the Ethiopian federation put pressure on him to run in the Olympic final. The Ethiopian officials wanted their athletes to win all three medals. In the end this plan did not work – and now they have an injured idol. But Gebrselassie is not the one who makes accusations. Instead he smiled and said: I am happy to have run in this race and I am satisfied with the result. I was not able to respond.”

After a slow start the runners had passed 4,000 metres in 11:15,87 minutes. Then the three Ethiopians increased the pace and the field broke up. But when Bekele and Sihine kept the pace fast suddenly Gebrselassie lost contact at 6,000 m (16:34,51). Instead Boniface Kiprop (Uganda), who finally finished fourth (27:25,48), was behind Bekele and Sihine. While the Kenyans were well beaten the two Ethiopians suddenly slowed. “We hoped for Gebrselassie to be able to close the gap again and to run together with us. But when we realised he was not able to do so we had to go”, Bekele explained. At this point there was no holding back for the two Ethiopians.

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