The bronze medalist from Daegu has a special place in my heart. Dejan Gebremeskel ran with one shoe in 2011, at the New Balance Indoor. Dejen won the 3,000m over Mo Farah, and he has been surprising many since.
His run last night was a work of art. And right behind him, setting a World Junior record, was Hagos Gebrhiwet, who ran 12:47.53! 11 men under 12:59.21!
Dejan Gebremeskel, 3000m, NB Indoor, 2011, photo by PhotoRun.net
This is how I saw the race:
This 5,000 meters, from Thursday's press conference, was going to be something special. One of the managers told us that the goal was 12:50. With final selection for the 5,000 meters for the Ethiopian team also as part of the event, speed was going to be displayed.
From the start, the race was swift. Remmy Limo Ndiwa lead the first kilometer, with Gebremeksel, Gebrhiwot, Isaiah Koech, Yenew Alimirew, Edwin Soi, Kenenisa & Tariku Bekele close in pursuit. The 1,000 meters was hit in 2:32.73.
Ndiwa lead through 2,000meters, hit in 5:09.66. The pace had slowed to 2:37 for the second kilometer. The entire field was there. Gideon Gathimba of Kenya lead through the 3,000 meter mark, hit in 7:43.53, down to a 2:34 pace.
Between 3,000 and 4,000 meters was key, if this was going to be a fast race. Isaiah Kiplangat Koech kept it honest, hitting the 4,000 meter mark in 10:19.54.
Then the race got interesting. By this time, the lead pack was down to six, Gebremeskel, Gebrhiwet, Koech, Alamirew, Longosiwa, John Kipkoech were all there. Tariku Bekele, Kenenisa Bekele, Edwin Soi were all back six to seven seconds.
Hagos Gebriwet, 2012 Oslo DL, photo by PhotoRun.net
Dejan Gebremeskel, Hagos Gebrhiwet, and Isaiah Koech were together as the final kilometer was being hit. The penultimate lap was a drop to 60 seconds. Then another at 60 seconds broke open the top six, close, but like an accordion, moving with the pressure.
Dejan Gebremeskel and Hagos Gebrhiwet were putting some slight space between themselves and Isaiah Kiplangat Koech and themselves.
Gebremeksel's move over the last 200 meters was tremendous. 25.81 to run last 200 meters, Dejan Gebrmeskel won the 5,000m in world's fastest time, of 12;46.81! Hagos Gebrhiwot set a world junior record, running 12:47.53, with Isaiah Koech in third, running 12:48.64, his personal best.
" I wanted to win, " noted Gebremeskel aftewards, " When I saw the time I could start to celebrate (Dejan pulled a Liu Xiang, pulling off his singlet). I am so happy, I was not expecting such a fast time, under 12:50. It was for us, like Olympic qualification. So badly I wanted to be on top.Now, I should feel like an Olympic favorite. Yes, that is true, I want to win. I started with regular training four years ago, going from 3k to 5k. Next step would be 10km. The air was good and fresh after the rain. My tactics in London will depend on the situation of the day. But the new generation of our runners is here, and I am so happy aslof for Gebrehiwot, running world junior record."
Kenenisa Bekele, Galen Rupp, Nike Pre 5,000m, 2012, photo by PhotoRun.net
Kenenisa Bekele did not have such a race. Running well through 3 kilometers, Kenenisa, who has raced 10,000m, several 5,000 meter and 3,000 meter races to get himself into racing shape, ran a seasonal best of 12:55.79, but that placed him ninth. " I won't compete at the Olympics on the 5,000 meters. But I am not disappointed because I will run the 10,000 meters. I did not get to train enough to be able to win my spot on this distance. But that is okay. I feel good and what can I do about an injury? I wish good luck to the three Ethiopians that will be in London on this distance." noted Kenenisa.
Rather effusive, Dejan Gebremeskel has just run the race of his life. The key will be, keeping this form for London 2012.....
AREVA Paris, 5000m: 1. Dejan Gebremeskel, ETH, 12;46.81, WL, 2. Hagos Gebrhiwet, ETH, 12:47.53, WJR, 3. Isaiah Kiplangat Koeh, KEN, 12:48.64, PB, 4. Yenew Alamirew, ETH, 12:48.77, PB, 5. Thomas Pkemei Longosiwa, KEN, 12:49.04, PB, 6. John Kipkoech, KEN, 12:49.50, 7. Tariku Bekele, ETH, 12:54.13, SB, 8. Eliud Kipchoge, KEN, 12:55.34, 9. Kenenisa Bekele, ETH, 12:55.79, 10. Edwin Cheruiyot Soi, KEN, 12:55.99, 11.Moses Ndiema Masai, 12:59.21, 12. Muktar Edris, ETH, 13:04.24, PB, 13. Mark Kosgei Kiptoo, KEN, 13:06.23, SB, 14.Hassan Hirt, FRA, 13:10.68, PB, 15. Yohan Durand, FRA, 13:32.18