Ibrahim Jeilan surprised many in his stretch victory over Mo Farah in 2011 at the World Championships. In 2013, Jeilan was back, and his final drive in the 10,000 meters in Moscow may have been even more surprising, but, this time, Mo Farah was ready for it.
CAN JEILAN EMULATE BEKELE ON HIS HALF MARATHON DEBUT IN LISBON?
by AntÃ³nio Manuel Fernandes for the IAAF
Ethiopia’s Ibrahim Jeilan, the 2011 IAAF World Championships 10,000m gold medallist and silver medallist over the same distance in Moscow, will attempt his first Half Marathon when he competes at the Rock’n’Roll Vodafone Half Marathon of Portugal in Lisbon on Sunday (6).
All eyes will be on Jeilan to see whether he can make as big an impact on his debut over the distance at the IAAF Gold Label Road Race as his illustrious compatriot Kenenisa Bekele did at the recent Bupa Great North Run, another ever in the top echelon of IAAF Road Race events.
Jeilan longest competitive outing so far has been over 15km and he hasn’t run over that distance since 2009 and, just like Bekele did when he duelled with Great Britain’s Mo Farah, Jeilan will also have to fend off some of the world’s top distance runners if he is to emerge triumphant in the Portuguese capital.
The classy Lisbon field includes three men who have already run under one hour in their careers.
One of that trio is Jeilan’s compatriot Imane Merga, the silver medallist at 2013 IAAF World Cross Country Championship.
The other two are Kenya’s 2010 IAAF World Half Marathon champion, Wilson Kiprop, who won the prestigious Rome-Ostia half Marathon in 59:15 earlier this year, and his team mate Gideon Ngatuny, although the latter has not run under 61 minutes since 2009.