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After unprecedented double, can anyone beat Bekele?

Posted: 26 Aug 2009 14:51
by ኦሽንoc
After unprecedented double, can anyone beat Bekele? - ÅF Golden League

Zürich, Switzerland - No rest for the weary. Even for a double World champion.

Just five days after completing the first ever 5000m and 10,000m double victory at a World championships, Kenenisa Bekele will return to the track to take care of the next and most immediate item on his agenda: remaining in the hunt for a share of the $1 million ÅF Golden League Jackpot when the six-meeting series resumes on Friday evening at the Weltklasse at Letzigrund Stadium.
After collecting convincing victories at each of the initial four stops on the ÅF Golden League series, Bekele arrived in Berlin as the overwhelming favourite to win his fourth consecutive 10,000m title, which he did in overwhelming fashion. He concluded his unprecedented double – not even his predecessor and mentor Haile Gebrselassie could manage the feat – with a thrilling sprint victory over defending champion Bernard Lagat on the final day of competition.
Despite his busy schedule over the past fortnight, Bekele is certainly confident that he’ll remain in the Jackpot chase after his 5000m outing in Zürich.

“My shape is very good,” he said. “If the weather remains okay on Friday, I want to try to make a good time in Zürich.”

A “good time” means different things to different people. Bekele has run under 12:50 six times indoors and outdoors, more than anyone else in history. He may try to add another performance to that list, but the odds are good that he’ll give his own season-pacing 12:56.23 from Rome a solid chase. But an assault on his own World record of 12:37.35 may be out of reach for the moment.

“After I changed plans in Berlin and doubled at the World championships, the world record will be difficult to achieve,” he said. “But maybe I’ll try.”

The challengers

When the ÅF Golden League began with the ISTAF meeting in Berlin in early June, the conventional wisdom went something like this: after a difficult double at the World championships, Bekele could find himself under threat in Zürich by a fresh-legged runner ready to take on the spoiler’s role. But after his homestretch performance at Berlin’s Olympic stadium on Sunday, Bekele looks unbeatable at the moment.

The list of potential spoilers on Friday night includes Kenyan Moses Masai, who took bronze in the 10,000m in Berlin and has a 12:50.55 career best; Ugandan Moses Kipsiro, who was fourth in the 5000 in Berlin and has a 12:50.72 best; Kenyan Leonard Patrick Komon, who was third in Rome with 12:58.24; and Kenyan Edwin Soi, who was fourth at the Kenyan Trials over the distance and hasn’t raced since. Newcomer Sammy Mutahi of Kenya could be a factor as well. Just 20, he ran well in the London 5000 to finish second, has clocked 7:33.02 for 3000m this summer, and hasn’t raced since 2 August.

Bekele hasn’t lost a 5000m contest since 28 July 2006, piecing together a 15 race win streak since. On Sunday he showed the world how determined he was to duplicate his Olympic double at the World championships. One of the few items missing from the 27-year-old Ethiopian’s massive trophy case is a perfect record in Golden League competition. That same determination he exhibited in Berlin will certainly be on display again in Zürich.

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF