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Last Night In Doha!                                                                                     2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships

Ethiopia's Muktar Edris Successfully Defends His 5000 Meter Title

In the Mo Farah era, the men's 5000 meters was simple and orderly. You knew outcome before the final got underway. You'd seen this movie before. You hung around to find out who had the 2nd best kick in the world.

But with the departure of Sir Mo - the winner of 10 gold medals in global championships Olympic and World - world class 5000's have greatly changed. Suddenly, the 5000 finals are tossups, a 'you pick 'em' affair. A number of people are candidates to make the podium or even the top step. And at these world championship you have what many are calling a mixed bag of distance talent: 3 youthful brothers - Henrik, Jakob, and Filip: Team Ingebrigtsen - racing every time you turn around and comprising 20% of the 5000 final field; you have reigning Olympic 5000 metes silver medalist USA's Paul Chelimo with a personal best of 12:57.55; you have another sub-13:00 performer in Nicholas Kimeli of Kenya; you have Ethiopis's Selemon Barega, the #4 all-time 5000 meters performer on the strength of his stunning 12:43.02 5K victory in the 2018 Brussels Diamond League final just over a year ago; and you have Ehtiopian Muktar Edris, the man who took down Farah to capture 5000 meter gold in these championships two years ago. Just like a breath of fresh air, the drama is back is back in the men's 5000 meters.

The rhythmic cheering of the rabid Ethiopian spectators started early in the evening and reached a crescendo as the men's 5000 meter final got underway. USA's Hassan Mead, who would eventually finish 11th, grabbed the early lead and clocked 61 seconds for the opening lap. Unlike many cat-and-mouse finals, the pace was solid as Chelimo, the USA's other finalist, then led the closely-bunched pack through the first kilometer in 2:39. 19-year-old Ethiopian Selemon Barega then moved to the front of the tight pack as the pace quickened, with all of the contenders passing 2K's in 5:14. After a mid-race 1600m in a hot 4:09, the Ethiopian contingent momentarily ceded the lead to Chelimo who passed 3K in 7:53 with the top 10 athlietes all bunched within one second. In the 4th kilometer, reached in 10:33, the tempo eased yet again as the combatants braced for a furious final dash for the medals. With 3 laps remaining Canada's Mohammed Ahmed bolted into the lead and threw down a 60.9 lap to trim the lead pack from 10 to 5 and to signal the start of serious racings. With 300m to go, Jakob Ingebrigtsen, who had been lingering in the back of the lead group, sped into the lead, his tactical final drive for the win. Quickly the Ethiopian duo of Edris and Barega gave chase while Ahmed stayed close and Chelimo fell back. In the final furlong, a spent Ingebrigtsen [13:02.93] lost the lead with 150m to go and eventually faded to 5th. Edris [a season's best 12:58.85] won the homestretch battle over Barega [12:59.70] while Ahmed [13:01.11] finished strong for the bronze. Bekele [13:02.29] crossed next to give the Eithiopians a 1-2-4 finish to the delight of their rowdy fans.

It was a tough night for the Ingebrigtsen brothers: Filip DNF'd; Henrik finished 13th; and Jakob's valiant bid for a medal saw him fade to 5th. "We are going back to work hard toward our next race," said the 19-year-old Norwegian. The reigning European champion at 5000m will be back out on the track for the preliminary round of the men's 1500 meters on Wednesday.

American hopeful Paul Chelimo, who finished 7th in a season's best of 13:04.60, was frank about his race. "I was in it all the way to the last lap. So I can't be too hard on myself," said the reigning Olympic 5000m silver medalist, "I tried my best. I went all the way to the last lap with them [the Eithiopian contingent]. In the last lap, I didn't have it. It is what it is, you know?" The '12 Olympic bronze medalsit at 5000m cited some training distractions. "I'm a family man. I have a baby daughter. That threw things a bit - training and everything-wise. I can't complain. I competed and gave it all out there." The 5-time national champion offered a concluding comment before departing: "But I'll be back." / Dave Hunter /

In other Day Four finals:

w3000SC: World leader and world record holder Beatrice Chepkoech [8:57.84] led wire-to-wire to capture steeplechase gold and atone for her '17 championship water jump gaffe. Defending champion Emma Coburn ran a heady race in the chase pack and her surge over the final two laps earned her a PR clocking [9:03.35] and the silver medal. Germany's Gesa Krause [9:03.30] unfurled a magnificent kick to get up for the bronze.

w800m: Ugandan athlete Halimah Nakaayi [1:58.04] uncorked a homestretch drive that carried her past USA front-running American recod holder Ajee Wilson for the gold medal. A strong surge over the final 60 meters lifted USA's Raevyn Rogers [1:58.18] into 2nd, while Wilson [1:58.84] hung on for the bronze.

m400H: In a much-anticipated showdown, Norway's Karsten Warholm [47.42] rode a blazing start to an early lead and had the best homestretch drive as he successfully defended his world championship 400H title. USA's Rai Benjamin [47:66], who led briefly on the backstretch but had no answer to Warholm's stretch drive, finished 2nd. Qatari athlete Abderrahmane Samba [48.03] delighted the partisan crowd by capturing the bronze.

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Dunaway AwardAt the 2019 annual meeting of the Track and Field Writers of America, Dave was presented with the James Dunaway Memorial Award “for track & field journalism excellence.”

Dave Hunter

Dave HunterDave Hunter is a track & field journalist, announcer, and broadcaster.  Dave reports on the premier track & field gatherings around the globe, frequently serves as an arena or stadium announcer for championship events, and has undertaken foreign and domestic broadcast assignments in the sport.


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