:slight_smile: by Phil Minshull

HENGELO, The Netherlands, May 31 (AFP) - Ethiopia’sKenenisa Bekele added to his growing claim to being theworld’s greatest long distance runner by setting a men’s5,000 metres world record of 12 minutes 37.35 secondshere on Monday.
On the track that has scene scores of long distancerunning world records in the last decade, Bekele tookmore than two seconds off the mark set six years ago byhis fellow Ethiopian, and boyhood idol, HaileGebrselassie.
I am surprised by the time. I didn't think it wasgoing to be possible,'' said the delighted world 10,000metres champion and three-times double world crosscountry champion. It is amazing to think that I have done better thanHaile,’’ added Bekele, who was quickly dubbed ‘The NewMr Hengelo’ in deference to the fact that Gebrselassie,was, and will always be in the eyes of the local crowd,the original version.
At the outset, the prospects for the 21-year-oldsucceeding in his widely publicised bid for his firstworld outdoor record after setting the indoor mark overthe same distance in February, looked doubtful.
By the time the gun went, gushing winds had startedblowing and the temperature dropping.
Bekele also had to cope with some erratic pacemakingover the first two kilometres and was nearly threeseconds off his schedule at the point when he took offon his own.
One of the two key points in the race, although it wasmore of a solo procession, was when Bekele suddenly hitthe accelerator just after the halfway point.
Suddenly the deficit dropped from several seconds tomere fractions with Bekele then unleashing a stunninglast lap at the sound of the bell.
His final lap of the track, named in tribute to therecently deceased Dutch athletics legend Fanny BlankersKoen, took a mere 57.8 seconds to etch his name in theannals of athletics history.
Bekele will now try to strip Gebrselassie of his10,000 world record when he runs in the Ostrava SuperGrand Prix meeting on June 8.
That is going to be my event at the Olympics. I willnot run the 5,000 in Athens,'' said Bekele. Gebrselassie had one last try to improve his own markover the longer distance of 10,000 but found himselfupstaged on the night not only by Bekele but anotherEthiopian Sileshi Sihine. Sihine beat Gebrselassie, sprinting away on the lastlap of 25, to win in 26:39.69, the fastest time in the world for six years. Gebrselassie came home second in 26:41.58, nearly 20seconds adrift of his world record set on the same trackin 1998. Bekele and Sihine were jut two of eight athletes whoclocked best outdoor performances in the world thisyear. Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge, the world 5,000 metreschampion who beat Bekele into third at the worldchampionships last summer, won the men's 1,500 in 3:33.20. This isn’t my specialist event so I am very happy,’‘said Kipchoge, giving Bekele a warning that he had a fewideas about an attempt on the 5,000 world recordhimself.
Kenya’s Isabelle Ochichi won the women’s 5,000 in14.46:42, which was also a personal best for the24-year-old police constable who finished sixth in the 2003 World Championships.
Brimin Kipruto became the latest model off the Kenyanproduction line of steeplechasers when he set 8:05.52,the third fastest junior time ever.
``I had been just thinking about the world juniorchampionships, but now I have to think abut theOlympics,’’ said the 19-year-old.
Canada’s Carmen Douma-Hussar, the world indoor silvermedallist over the metric mile in March, added to hergrowing reputation by taking the women’s 1,500 in a personal best 4:04.85.
Mozambique’s Maria Mutola, the reigning Olympic andworld 800 metres champion, won her specialist event in1:58.49 while Bram Son gave the ecstatic Dutch crowd ahome success to cheer by winning the men’s 800 in1:45.01.