Iaaf Previews World Champs Distance Races


Dream 5000m encounter should be highlight of Paris World Championships
Monday 21 July 2003
Monte-Carlo – The 9th IAAF World Championships in Athletics take place in Paris, France from 23-31 August, and while most national line-ups will not be finalised for another couple of weeks, we now offer our first taster of some of the expected competition to savour in the French capital next month.

Long Distance track races –

Berhane Adere crosses the line in the women’s 5000m
(Getty Images)

If there is an event which is bubbling with excitement it is the men’s 5000m. With the major championship races and half of the Golden League still to be run, eleven athletes have so far run under 13 minutes this year, which is greater than any other year except the 2000 Sydney Olympic season which registered 12 athletes below that barrier. As such, a dream Final on the last night of the championships (Sunday 31 August) is in prospect.

How about…Kenyan Stephen Cherono, the fastest man of the year and conqueror of Morocco’s Hicham El Guerrouj, versus Ethiopia’s double World cross country champion Kenenisa Bekele, and Haile Gebrselassie the World record holder, versus Abraham Chebii, the Kenyan nemesis of both Ethiopians? Add to that possible line up, Kenya’s World Junior record holder Eliud Kipchoge, and Commonwealth gold medallist Sammy Kipketer, who ran Bekele so close in Oslo. Then also conjure with the name of El Guerrouj, who could well contest the 5000m ‘pressure free’ on the back of a fourth successive World 1500m title.

If even half of these names successfully reach the starting line as the gun sounds at 18.40 hours on 31 August, make sure you don’t miss this twelve and half lap thriller.

In the women’s 5000m, Ethiopia’s World Indoor 3000m champion Berhane Adere shaved close to the 5000m World record (14:28.09) in Oslo setting an African record of 14:29.32. If the 1500m doesn’t attract her more the 5000m, then the women’s final could also be graced by Romania’s Olympic 5000m champion Gabriela Szabo, who holds the World 1500m title too. Defending 2001 World 5k winner Olga Yegorova (RUS) will also be in with a shout, let alone the Ethiopian youngsters, Meseret Defar, the double World Junior champion, and World Junior record holder Tirunesh Dibaba. Also don’t forget the ‘go it alone’ determination of Morocco’s Zhor El Kamch, or the two reigning senior World cross country champions, Werknesh Kidane of Ethiopia (long course), and Kenya’s Edith Masai (short course).

Both the men’s and women’s 10,000m races will be hard to predict given that this distance is seldom run on the circuit these days, but most of the names already mentioned for the 5000m will also be a factor over 25 laps too. In the women’s race, we can also throw in the possible name of Britain’s Paula Radcliffe, the European 10,000m champion, and Marathon running sensation and last year’s Athlete of the Year. If fit, fireworks can be expected as she bids for her first World track crown.