Ethiopia’s Yigrem Demelash brought the
Kenyan dominance at the event to a halt
today to grab the gold medal in style in a
career best of 28:16.07.
The Kenyan pair of Geoffrey Kipkorir Kirui and
Philemon Kipchilis Cheboi had been hotly
tipped as the main favourites but Demelash
proved to be a master tactician and his arch-
rivals Kenyans had to settle for the minor places
on the podium on this occasion.
The race opened quite conservatively as the lonesome early
leader China’s Binlu Wang went through the opening 1000m
in 2:55.54 and a full 10-second margin over the rest of the 34
competitors. The Kenyan pair injected a lethal pace some
1500m into the race and only the Ethiopian duo and
Uganda’s Moses Martin Kurong were able to live with their
Kirui, who holds an impressive 26:55.73 to rank second on the
all-time Junior lists, opened full gas after the second kilometre
and an impressive 8:15 split for the following three kilometres
led him lonesome at the front. Even before the halfway, Kirui
began to lap the slowest contenders.
The 5000m was reached in 14:14 with Kirui still
leading but shortly after the sixth kilometre the
Kenyan began to falter a bit to be caught by
Cheboi and Demelash. It was Cheboi who
took charge of the race then with respective
splits of 2:48 for the seventh and eighth km;
surprisingly, that kind of pace proved to be
enough to leave Kirui behind while Demelash
stayed comfortably at Cheboi’s shoulder.
The decisive moment came some three laps home when
Cheboi was unable to maintain his own pace and was
effortlessly passed by Demelash, who covered the
penultimate 1000m section in 2:51.41.
There were no remarkable changes in the closing laps with
Demelash ruling at the bell some 40m ahead of Cheboi,
himself another 30m clear of Kirui. In addition to Demelash
PB of 28:16.07 Cheboi also produced a career best of
28:23.98 in second for Kirui’s 28:30.47 in third.
Demelash, who lapped every athlete from sixth onwards, is
not entered in the 5000m event despite holding an
impressive and recent PB of 13:03.30.