This is Justin’s piece on the Day 4 distance events! The 5000m did not disappoint, and the steeplechase, well, that was fun to see Beatrice Chepkoech take gold and Emma take the silver. The women’s 800m just blew my mind. Uganda has some amazing athletes!
As the world championships in Doha entered Day 4, the events are getting more and more exciting with the number of finals increasing each day. Tonight was perhaps the best night so far, especially for the middle and long distance track fans with the men’s 5000m, the women 3000m steeplechase and the women’s 800m finals.
From the beginning of the men’s 5000m race, Ethiopian runners took to the front, with USA’s Paul Chelimo being the only one in their midst. At first, it was Muktar Edris who momentarily seemed to have been controlling the early pace as Tilahun Bekele and Selemon Barega awaited their turn to take up the pacing duties just behind him. After setting the sub 13 minute rhythm at the front, Edris then moved back almost into the middle of the rest of the field and waited for his time to come.
The battle for the medals here was fierce as ten runners kept together in the leading group up to the last 1000m of the race. Canada’s Mohammed Ahamed was the first to make a move almost in a similar version that Great Britain’s Mo Farah would take the first lane in the last stages of a race and made sure that no one overtakes him to the last bend. But, it would seem that Edris and Barega had been perfecting their strong finishing speeds and no one was able to match them in the last sprint for the finish line. Edris crossed the finish line in 12:58.85 followed by Barega in 12:59.70 while Ahamed was rewarded with a bronze medal for his bold move as he crossed the finish line in 13:01.11.
In the women’s 3000mSC final, Kenya’s Beatrice Chepkoech saw no point in waiting for the others as soon as the race started. She was the only one on the start list who had run under nine minutes this year and the nearest competitor to her in their personal best times was almost fifteen seconds slower than her. With the confidence that her credentials gave her, there was absolutely no reason for her to risk with jostling and pushing that could result in one stepping on the inside of the track and getting disqualified. She chose to keep a safe distance of over fifty meters from the rest throughout the race.
It was like watching two separates races; Chepkoech against the clock and the battle for t Silver and Bronze medals behind her. Chepkoech set a new championship record of 8:57.84 to win the gold medal. Emma Coburn of the USA took the Silver medal in a personal best time of 9:02.35 followed by Gesa Krause of Germany in a national record of 9:03.30.
There was a huge surprise in the women’s 800m finals as Halimah Nakaayi upset other big names in the event to win gold for Uganda in a new national record of 1:58.04. Raevyn Rogers won the silver medal in 1:58.18 ahead of the IAAF Diamond League winner, Ajee Wilson who took third in 1:58.84.