World Champs, Day One-Dibaba Falters, Defends, title, Goucher makes history


No one could have written a more bizarre and exciting race plan for the 10,000 meters. Four Ethiopians up front at the start, and one medals? And she had fell off the pace, and needed a kilometer to recover? Then, an American medals? What planet do you come from? The amazing thing is that this amazingly crazy race is all real! Read on....

The temperature was about 85 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity was down a bit when the 10,000 meters started. The pack took off, very slowly, with Nathalie de Vos of Belgium leading through one kilometer in 3:27.75- a pace of 34 plus minutes! De Vos lead through 2k in 6:42.82 ( a 3:15.07), with the entire field together. No one wanted to take off, the heat and humidity were so stifling.

In the pack was Tirunesh Dibaba, the 2005 5k and 10k champion, her three Ethiopian teammates, Kim Smith, New Zealand, Joanne Pavey, Great Britian, Elven Abeylegesse of Turkey, Deena Kastor, Keri Goucher , among others.

De Vos lead through 3k in 9:54.28 with the field in tow, a 3:11.46 kilometer pace, just over 34 minute 10k pace! When Evalyne Wambui Nganaga took the lead, and stayed there, through 13:10.58 for kilometers, nothing changed. Nathalie de Vos came back to the lead and the Belgian took the pack through 16:29.58 for the half way point.

It was about now that Mesert Tufa of Ethiopia took the lead, taking the pace to 3:13.92 for the next kilometer, reached in 19:43.16. It was during this time that
Tufa fell, lost her footing and had to place her foot on her shoe. Tirunesh Dibaba also fell back, with a reported stomach cramp and nearly fell over Tufa. What was the matter with the World Champion?

After the race, Dibaba said, " I have been suffereing from stitches for some time. I have taken some medicine for it, but they have still come up, and they do not go away."

As Kayoko Fukashi lead, through kilometer seven in 3:15, Tufa returned to the pack, then left the competition. Dibaba took one kilometer to regain the lead pack.

At this time, Elvan Abeylegesse of Turkey took the lead, at 8k in 26:05.78, with Tirunesh Dibaba revived and right on the shoulder of Abeylegesse. Abeylegesse pushed, and Dibaba floated. Dibaba was back, looking like a shark waiting for the right time to make her attack, except a very elegent shark. Dibaba runs so clean, so light, that her increase in speed, when it happens is like a tsunami hitting with no warning... the time would come..

The fascinating thing was what was happening behind one and two. Kim Smith of New Zealand, Joanne Pavey of Great Britian and Kara Goucher of the U.S. were all running together, pulling closer and closer to Dibaba and Abeylegesse.

At 9,000 meters, in 29:08.23, the last kilometer covered in 3:02.45 had seperated the top five from chaser Deena Kastor, and then a long way to the rest of the field.
Abeylegesse lead Dibaba at 9k. The race was on, nothing else mattered.

At 9,600 meters, Dibaba moved along side Elvan Abeylegesse and then, at 9700 meters, moved ahead. Running a last lap in 60 seconds, the elegent runner defended her 10,000 m title the old fashioned way, coming from a near disaster, Tirunesh Dibaba won gold in 31:55.41, with Elvan Abeylegesse of Turkey taking the siver in 31:59.40.

Now the race was on for the bronze. Kara Goucher, using the same move she used in the U.S. nationals moved past Kim Smith, and then dropped Joanne Pavey, who had taken a slight lead and took the bronze in 32:02.05 with Pavey in 32:03.81.

Kara Goucher told us afterwards: " It was hot, I was watching the Jumbo tron and saw we had dropped the rest of the field. I knew that I had a chance to win a medal and I would regret it if I did not give it my all. I had trained for the heat, running here in Osaka for past ten days and before that in a Sauna suit in Park City , Utah." Well, it sure paid off.

Tirunesh Dibaba said that she would have quit if she had not been representing her country. Kara Goucher, in representing her country, also made history-the is first time ever, a U.S. women runner has medaled at 10,000 meters in a world competition!

Watch for our interview with Kara on Monday!

For History of World Champs, 1983-2005:

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