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Doha 2010 -IAAF International Indoor Championships

Posted: 12 Mar 2010 19:24
by ኦሽንoc
Doha 2010 -Stage set for Defar's fourth straight 3000m title

Doha, Qatar - Running in total command, Meseret Defar set the stage for an unprecedented fourth straight World indoor title in the 3000m.

“I felt very good,” Defar said, beaming with an ear-to-ear grin, barely winded after her comfortable 8:48.23 victory in the second of two heats that opened competition on the track this afternoon. “I had no problems, none at all.”

The winner in Budapest, Moscow and Valencia and the World record holder at 8:23.72, Defar is not, surprisingly enough, the holder of the Championships record. That honour belongs to Dutchwoman Elly van Hulst who took the 1989 title in 8:33.82. Defar, who has clocked 8:24.46 this season, didn’t promise a fast race in the final, but didn’t discount one either.

“I don’t know right now,” she said, “but I will decide later when I talk about it with my friend.” She was referring to compatriot Setayehu Ejigu, who took a comfortable victory in the first heat.

A fourth straight title for Defar would break her current tie with Gabriela Szabo of Romania, who took home victories in 1995, 1997 and 1999.

“This meeting is very, very special for me,” said Defar, also the World record holder and this year’s world leader in the 5000m. “I want to do well and I’m very well prepared.”

Thanks largely to Jessica Augusto of Portugal who pushed the pace for more than two kilometres, Heat 2 was considerably faster than the first, with the four fastest on time also advancing.

Kenyan Silvia Kibet, who raced to 5000m silver at the World Championships last August, was second in 8:48.60, just ahead of Ethiopian-born Turk Alemitu Bekele, the European indoor champion in the event. Layes Abdullayeva, an 18-year-old Ethiopian born who represents Azerbaijan, nabbed the fourth automatic qualifier, clocking an 8:49.65 personal best.

Rewarded for her efforts, Augusto was fifth (8:50.81) and advanced on time, reaching the finish just ahead of American marathoner Desiree Davila who impressed with a personal best of 8:51.08. Last August the 27-year-old Davila finished 11th in the World Championships marathon in 2:27:53.

Poland’s Lidia Chojecka (8:51.14, SB) and Adrienne Herzog of The Netherlands (8:53.24, PB) will also move on.

The first heat went pretty much according to the pre-race play book, with no major podium contenders forfeiting their chances in Saturday’s final.

After running in mid-pack for most of the race, Defar’s compatriot Ejigu moved to the front with 400 metres to go, and into the lead for good at the bell. She crossed the line in 9:00.34, with Portugal’s Sara Moreira (9:01.01) and Kenyan Vivian Cheruiyot (9:01.35) following in second and third.

Rene Kalmer of South Africa wisely decided to sprint hard over the final 30 metres to secure the fourth and final automatic qualifying spot, which she nabbed from Briton Barbara Parker in 9:01.41, a national record.

Ejigu, who finished fourth at 3000m in the last World Indoor Championships and at 5000m in Berlin last year, is after more than just her first major international medal.

“Last year we lost to Kenya in Berlin,” Ejigu said, “and we are here to make sure this doesn’t happen again this time.”

Said Cheriuyot, who has beaten Defar twice in their last five meetings over 5000m, “I am prepared to run fast.” Her teammate Kibet also knows what’s on the line.

“In the final, we’ll work as a team with Vivian and try our best to beat the Ethiopians.”


EVENT REPORT - MEN's 3000m Heats

Posted: 12 Mar 2010 19:32
by ኦሽንoc

EVENT REPORT - MEN's 3000m Heats

USA's Bernard Lagat and Ethiopia's Tariku Bekele compete in the 3,000m heat in Doha(Getty Images)
Amid a cacophony of noise created by the football-style chants from an army of Ethiopian supporters, the Aspire Dome was treated to two Qatari qualifiers for Sunday's Final.
In heat one Kenya's Augustine Choge created his own slice of history by recording the fastest ever winning time in a 3000m heat at the World Indoor Championships, stopping the clock in an impressive 7:43.80.
Following the Commonwealth 5000m champion home was Dejan Gebremeskel in a personal best of 7:44.20 much to the delight of the watching Ethiopians with Spain's European record holder Sergio Sanchez third in 7:44.33. James Kwalia, the home favourite, was the first Qatari to advance, taking the fourth and final automatic qualification spot in a personal best of 7:44.61.
The groundwork had been laid by Sanchez, who set a strong pace from the gun and hit 1km in 2:35.23. However, the Spaniard became frustrated at the lack of help he was receiving at the head of the field and swung out wide with nine-and-a-half laps remaining to let Tareq Mubarak Taher of Bahrain take the pace.
Sanchez, though, sprinted back to the head of the field with six laps to go closely tracked by Choge and Gebremeskel.
With the atmosphere building inside the arena Choge kicked to the front with 350m remaining and held a clear 5m lead at the bell with Sanchez, Gebremeskel and Kwalia in pursuit.
Choge, however, would not be denied to take his record-breaking heat win with Gebremeskel outsprinting Sanchez in the race for second with Kwalia settling for fourth.
Also advancing as fast losers from heat one were Hais Welday, who set an Eriteran record of 7:45.77, and Hicham Bellani of Morocco (7:50.46).
The first five in this heat also ran quicker than the previous fastest heat time at a World Indoor Championship 3000m heat of 7:47.50 set by Luke Kipkosgei in 2003.
The main protagonists all qualified from a much slower heat two taken by the 2004 gold medallist Bernard Lagat (7:59.99) of the USA ahead of the defending champion Tariku Bekele of Ethiopia (8:00.29). Kenya's Sammy Mutahi (8:00.53) and Spain's Jesus Espana (8:00.65) also qualified for the final, taking the third and fourth automatic places
Meanwhile, close behind, Galen Rupp of the USA (8:00.90) and Qatar's Essa Ismail Rashed (8:01.08) also progressed as fastest losers.
Heat two was a much more sedate affair with the first kilometre covered in a relatively modest 2:46.14 as Espana, the European 5000m champion, and Great Britain's Scott Overall shared the pace.
The second 1000m segement of the race was a slightly scruffy, tactical battle as the field bunched up, although the home fans roared their approval when Rashed, the 2005 Asian 10,000m champion, hit the front for a spell.
At the bell Rashed was one of half a dozen athletes still in qualification contention but Lagat and Bekele showed superior pace in the latter stages with the former clinching the heat win.


EVENT REPORT - WOMEN's 1500m Heats

Posted: 12 Mar 2010 19:38
by ኦሽንoc

EVENT REPORT - WOMEN's 1500m Heats

Gelete Burka of Ethiopia and Roseanne Galligan of Ireland compete in the women's 1,500m (Getty Images)

Drawn into the significantly stronger heat of the opening round, Gelete Burka illustrated that she was clearly ready to defend the title she won in Valencia two years ago. But it was her younger teammate, Kalkidan Gezahegne, who produced by far the most memorable performance of the opening day.

Less than 10 minutes after Burka crossed the line to take an easy 4:12.08 victory in the first of the late afternoon’s two heats, Gezahegne, this year’s world leader at 4:03.28, was running comfortably in the middle of the pack in heat two, biding her time and planning her move. Then disaster struck when she was tripped up from behind by Russian Yegeniya Zolotova with just over 700 metres to go.

Dazed and down momentarily, Gezahegne, still a junior, picker herself up to finish the race. But finishing wouldn’t be nearly enough for the 18-year-old, and for the vociferous Ethiopian cheering section which made up a significant portion of upper level of the backstretch. On a mission, Gezahegne gradually reeled in the field over the next two laps, running fourth in the nine-woman field with just under one lap to go.

Forging on, she overtook American Erin Donahue and Poland’ Sylwia Ejdys down the backstretch, and finally Spaniard Natalia Rodriguez over the waning metres to take the victory in 4:08.91, the round’s fastest time.

“I accidentally fell and hurt my knee,” said Gezahegne, the 2008 World junior silver medalist who reached last year’s World final in Berlin. “I decided to continue. The crowd supported me and thanks to good training I was able to finish.”

Considering the effort expended to come back and win the race – she needed to only finish in the top-three to advance – she’ll be relying on that “good training” even more in Sunday’s final when she’ll square off against Burka for the first time this year. “I think Gelete is my biggest rival,” she said, “but she is also my friend.”

Rodriguez, who was disqualified from the Berlin final after famously causing Burka to tumble, held on for second crossing the line in 4:09.19, and will be looking to at add to her 1500m European indoor silver from last year.

“The two Ethiopians are the top favourites, but I will fight for a medal,” Rodriguez said.

Ejdys (4:09.23) took the third automatic qualifier, while Donohue, propelled by a personal best of 4:10.12, and Natallia Kareiva of Belarus, who clocked 4:12.91, also advanced.

Considering the energy Gezahegne burned, Burka was fortunate that her front-running 4:12.08 run in the first heat was enough to advance, and ultimately win.

“I want to to be successful in Doha and get over the memories of Berlin where I was a victim of a fall,” said Burka, who arrived in the Qatari capital as the year’s second fastest at 4:03.44. “I am confident and I will be fighting for the win.”

European champion Anna Alminova was content with just chasing Burka to the line, and finished second in 4:12.50.

“In the final I forsee a fast race with the Ethiopians making the pace,” said Alminova, who like Burka, is looking to make up for Berlin disappointment after failing to advance from the semi-finals last summer. The 25-year-old Russian has been quick this winter as well, clocking 4:03.88, trailing only the Ethiopian pair on the season's list.

American Sarah Bowman, who was gapped by the leaders and running back in fifth with just over three laps to go, fought back and gradually returned to contention for a top-three finish at the bell. Timing her finish nicely, she managed to reel in Frenchwoman Fanjanteino Felix and Briton Helen Clitheroe over the final 100 metres to finish third, reach her first major final, and make her trip to Doha pay off. Bowman, a former indoor NCAA, finished only a distant fourth at last month's US championships.
NB - Updated 16:30 CET - Following a protest by the Kenyan team, a Jury of Appeal decided that Irene Jelagat, who was clipped and fell in Heat 1, would be reinstated and will advance to the final, ruling that there had been unintentional contact with another athlete.

Re: Doha 2010 -IAAF International Indoor Championships

Posted: 12 Mar 2010 19:45
by ኦሽንoc

EVENT REPORT - MEN's 1500m Heats

Defending 1500m World Indoor champion Deresse Mekonnen decided he wouldn’t leave anything to fate when he took command of heat two never to relinquish his leading position. The Ethiopian who also took silver at last year’s Berlin World Championships and is the current World indoor leader was the dominant force at the head of a race which he concluded in 3:39.66.
A gradual increase of the pace left him with only Haron Keitany, Diego Ruiz and Thamer Kamal Ali on his heels with four laps to go with only the tall Kenyan, the 2008 African Champion, and the Spaniard, last year’s European indoor silver medallist staying close at the end of the next lap.
At the bell, Mekonnen’s win was no longer in question as a 2-metre gap opened on Ruiz and Keitany one step behind. It looked as though Keitany was strong enough to secure the second and last qualifying spot but the Spanish champion wasn’t going to give up that easy. In fact he held on and took the remaining automatic qualifier in 3:40.00.
“I came here to repeat my victory from Valencia,” Mekonnen said. “I ran on the first place from the start because I wanted to have everything under control. Qualification is always much tougher for me than final. I feel self confident, I am focusing only on my performance and not thinking about the other runners. This year, I have the best conditions for training and I feel I can win.”
Keitany was left with a long wait to see if his 3:40.04 would remain as one of the three fastest loser’s times and in the end it proved to be just enough for the ninth and final position.
As it is often the case, the third and final heat proved to be the fastest of the afternoon as second-tier runners chased a qualifying position. In the opening laps, the lead often changed hands including a 59.38 400m split by Goran Nava of Serbia and a 1:28.81 600m split by Christian Obrist of Italy. Eventually none of the two advanced as the African pair of Abdelaati Iguider and Mekonnen Gebremedhin took command from then on. The Ethiopian increased the pace sensibly taking in his wake the Moroccan former World Junior champion and a couple of steps behind the Olympic 3000m steeplechase silver medallist Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad of France.
Iguider sprinted with two laps to go and finished in 3:37.14, the fastest winning time in a World indoor championships heat; Gebremedhin grabbed the second automatic qualifier in 3:38.90 while behind him Garrett Heath launched a do-or-die sprint with 150 metres to go. The American, who works as an assistant coach at Stanford University caught up with Mekhissi-Benabbad and outsprinted him to finish in a PB 3:39.25 to the tall Frenchman’s 3:39.63. Both advanced to the final.
“I feel tired now, so I have to see my coach,” Iguider said. “We are going to talk and to watch the race again. Then we will plan some tactics for the final. This season is very good for me. Maybe I can surprise the others.”
The first heat proved to be the slowest and only the top two in that race made it to tomorrow’s final, the surprise coming from Juan van Deventer who after becoming the first South African to reach a 1500m Olympic final in Beijing he is now the first man from his country ever to reach a World Indoor final in this event.
Moroccan 800m outdoor record holder Amine Laalou, a clear winner in 3:39.96, most probably didn’t notice how hard a fight Alvaro Rodriguez of Spain and Gideon Gathimba of Kenya were putting in to hold on to the last qualifying position. As Rodriguez responded to Gathimba’s move going into the final lap, the Kenyan was left with a lot of ground to make on the outside. He made another move going into the final bend when, by then Rodriguez had nothing left in his tank.
It looked as though the Kenyan had done just enough to secure the runner-up spot but that is when the 26-year-old van Deventer made a move of his own. Both dipped to the line with a photo finish read being necessary to award the South African with second by a mere one hundredth of a second.
With two Moroccan and two Ethiopians in tomorrow’s final one can expect a very tactical race will unfold and in this type of race, we all know, the win is anyone’s take.


Meseret Defar wins fourth straight indoor 3000m title

Posted: 13 Mar 2010 10:39
by ኦሽንoc

Meseret Defar wins fourth straight indoor 3000m title

Meseret Defar promised “something special” for today’s 3000m final and the Ethiopian superstar delivered with a convincing victory to become the first four-time winner in the event.

“This was a very important victory for me,” said a beaming Defar after adding to her triumphs from 2004, 2006 and 2008. Her time, 8:51.17, was only the third fastest of the quartet, but that mattered little to the 26-year-old multiple world record holder.

“I changed my tactics: at first I was thinking about a fast race, but then I saw it would be better to wait for the final kick, and that worked well.”

Running along with compatriot Sentayehu Ejigu and biding her time mid-pack for most of the race, Defar made her break for the win with two laps remaining. With Ejigu in tow, an playing off some defence from behind as well, the Ethiopian began to pull away with only Kenyan Vivian Cheruiyot, the World 5000m champion, in serious pursuit. Defar extended her lead, ever so slightly, over the final circuit and her victory was never in jeopardy. But Cheruiyot never relented, eventually passing Ejigu to take the silver in 8:51.85.

“It was not a smooth competition,” said Cheruiyot, who has managed to beat Defar twice in her career, most recently in the Berlin 5000m final last summer. “In the last 1500m there was a lot of pushing. But I’m very happy for the medal and am satisfied with silver.”

Ejigu’s efforts with the closing kick, as well as her services as her compatriot’s rear guard, were rewarded with bronze, her first major international medal.

“There was tension at the beginning because there were a lot of expectations for us to get over Berlin,” said Ejigu, who was fourth in the Berlin 5000m. “We had a plan with Meseret to counter the Kenyans and I am so happy that Meseret won the race and that Ethiopia got the gold.”

Whatever tensions there were, the Ethiopian pair had plenty of time to wind down and forget about them over the race’s slow opening 1000 metres. Indeed the race nicely played into the Ethiopian’s hands from the outset, when Portugal’s Jessica Augusto, taking up the leader’s duties, decided on a modest pace over the opening laps. South African record holder Rene Kalmer took over briefly in the early going to bring the field through the first kilometre in 3:11.83.

Augusto, winner of the Great North Run Half Marathon last autumn, moved back to the front and gradually upped the tempo, covering the second kilometre in 2:51.90. She remained the leader until Defar made her move, was ultimately swarmed by the pack and finished a distant eighth.

Kenyan Silvia Kibet, running near the front of the pack for much of the race, finished fourth in 8:52.16. Alemitu Bekele of Turkey was fifth in 8:53.78 with Portugal’s Sara Moreira, who shared some of the pacing duties with Augusto in the early going, clocking 8:55.34 for sixth.

The celebration of Defar’s feat began much earlier when the substantial number of Ethiopian fans in the crowd, spread in pockets throughout the venue, made their presence known an hour before the race. Once the race got underway, their enthusiasm became infectious. Defar made a point to first give thanks to the vocal supporters who transformed the venue, at least temporarily, to an Aspire Dome-like setting in Addis Ababa.



Source: IAAF

Deresse Mekonnen win 1500m another GOLD for Ethiopia

Posted: 13 Mar 2010 11:09
by ኦሽንoc
Deresse Mekonnen win 1500m another GOLD for Ethiopia


Deresse Mekonnen became the fourth athlete to defend his World Indoor title here in Doha and most notably the second Ethiopian champion of the day following Meseret Defar’s win in the women’s 3000m much to the delight of the numerous Ethiopian fans whose vociferous chants have characterised the second day of competition.
It took Mekonnen all his energy to respond to the constant changes of pace mainly coming from his African counterparts. Former World Junior champion Abdalaati Iguider of Morocco was never far off the front seat taking a packed nine-man field through the first 400m in 1:03.98. At that point the pack was pretty much all compact with USA’s Garrett Heath who scraped into today’s final, Mekonnen and compatriot Mekonnen Gebremedhin closest to the front.
Olympic 3000m steeplechase silver medallist Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad of France was also striving to stay among the leading pack and although he never actually made it to the front he did remain within reach of the African runners.
With five laps to go, 2008 African champion Haron Keitany had clearly decided it was about time someone shook this final up and with a swift 30-sec lap that is just what he did. However his move was not to be decisive as Mekonnen gradually closed the gap. He waited until three-and-a-half laps to go to move to the front taking in his wake Iguider, South Africa’s Juan van Deventer, the tallest man in the field, Gebremedhin and Mekhissi-Benabbad in this order.
At that point, the Moroccan record holder Amine Laalou was still trailing in final position and as it turned out it was his move which would determine the medals.
As the pack approached the bell, both Moroccans reached for the front with Laalou slightly ahead of Iguider. The two Ethiopians followed in closely with van Deventer trying to find an open door inside and Keitany forced back to the outside.
Mekonnen was visibly the man with the fastest finish but with both Moroccans ahead of him he struggled to find his way, eventually choosing to move from the outside coming off the final bend. Laalou started to fade and in a desperate move for more space moved slightly towards the inside, a decision which involuntarily blocked Iguider who, had he not been blocked by his own compatriot, looked as though he could have made it for gold.
Eventually, Mekonnen held on to become the first man since Hicham El Guerrouj to defend the World Indoor 1500m title in 3:41.36 with a mere tenth of a second to spare over a disappointed Iguider who was aiming at emulating the legendary World record holder.
Laalou not only lost the race for gold but he literally lost the race for any medal as he was left battling against fatigue while others sprinted their lives to the finish. Keitany was rewarded for his brave efforts and although he came into the final straight back in fifth he managed to grab bronze in 3:42.32.
Gebremedhin was given fourth ahead of Laalou both at 3:42.42 as van Deventer completed the African sweep at the top.
“That was challenging from the Moroccans, very tough last two laps,” said Mekonnen. “But I managed to defend my title and that was my goal. I got great support from the crowd, thanks for that.”
Iguider found it hard to accept defeat. “It was a bit difficult. I feel I deserved the first place, but the Kenyan and Ethiopians managed to control the race the way they wanted. It's been a long time that Morocco didn't win a medal, I hope that the Moroccan people will be happy even though it's only the silver. I promise them I'll do my best to get the gold in Daegu in 2011.”

Source IAAF


Ethiopia did take another women’s 1500m title

Posted: 14 Mar 2010 11:23
by ኦሽንoc
Ethiopia did take another women’s 1500m title, but the gold didn’t go to defending champion Gelete Burka.

Running with the grit and determination of a seasoned veteran, 18-year-old Kalkidan Gezahegne effortlessly kicked past Burka and Spaniard Natalia Rodriguez to become the youngest woman to ever win a World indoor title.

“I was hesitating to attack after falling down in the heats,” said Gezahegne, whose tumble to the track and brave run to victory was perhaps the major highlight on the opening day of competition. “At the end my finish was enough.”

Her spectacular comeback in the heats already displayed to the world the determination of Gezahegne, who at 18 years and 310 days old, outdid a very familiar name as the youngest ever World indoor champion: Gabriela Szabo of Romania who won her first 3000m title in 1995 when she was 19 years and just under four months old. That was a stat, though, that Gezahegne didn’t think about much at all.

“Thank you for telling me,” she said. “That is an excellent feeling.” An excellent feeling to match a finely executed race.

Kenyan Irene Jelagat took the early lead, controlling the tempo ahead of Burka, European champion Anna Alminova of Russia, Gezahegne and Sylwia Ejdys of Poland. With laps in the 33 to 35-second range, the order didn’t change until 700 metres remained, when Burka made her move for the front.

She was immediately shadowed by her younger compatriot, with Jelagat and Ejdys following single fie just a few strides behind. The boldest move of the race came next when American Erin Donohue, just a 4:12 runner indoors and sitting near the tail end of the 10-woman field, went for broke and made her way to front.
She managed to work her way into second place, but Burka held firm. Donohue couldn’t maintain the rapidly increasing pace for long, and was swallowed up first by Gezahegne, and then Natalia Rodriguez, who took the lead a few steps from the bell. But it wasn’t hers for long.

Burka, who was knocked to the ground and out of contention at last year’s World Championships in Berlin by Rodriguez, retook the lead from the Spaniard as they entered the final turn, with Gezahegne following on the outside. Entering the homestretch it was the teenager who proved stronger, running wide to pass Burka and eventually reach the line in 4:08.14. It was among the slowest performances of the youngster’s career, but certainly the biggest victory.

Rodriguez, who took silver behind Burka in Valencia two years ago, kicked past the Ethiopian over the final 50 metres to successfully defend her silver medal, clocking 4:08.30, 0.09 ahead of Burka.

“I was very tense after Berlin and I really wanted to prove myself,” said Rodriguez, who was disqualified shortly after crossing the line first in Berlin last summer.

Rising Polish star Ejdys was fourth in 4:09.24, while Jelagat just edged Donohue 4:09.57 to 4:09.59, personal bests for both.

But the day belonged to Gezahegne. Perhaps the future, too.

“I’ve been running and training for only three years,” said Gezahegne, who ran to World junior silver in the event in 2008 and reached the final in Berlin last summer. “And already being a World champion is very special. But my career is just beginning.”