World Youth Ch: Next Ethiopian Star - 16July05

No, not Bekele - Feleke!
Saturday 16 July 2005
Marrakech - It might be vey early days but Abrehem Cherkos Feleke’s controlled 3000 metres victory suggests the tiny teenager might be the next Ethiopian to explode onto the world stage.

Feleke became the second runner from the north African country to win the title in a time of eight minutes 00.90seconds, well clear of Ibrahim Jellan Gashu and Saleh Marzooq Bakheet.

Simone Du Toit of RSA during the Shot Put qualifications at the World Youth Championships
(Getty Images)

Comparison with Kenenisa Bekele at this stage of his career would be wrong - but last night he won his gold medal with the same breathtaking tactics which are the proven formula of the Olympic and World 10000m champion.

Feleke who might be 16 or 17 - does it matter for the future - was a shadow in a 14-strong pack - only Japan’s Harutomo Kawano had fell off the pace - until there were three laps remaining.

Then his small figure dashed to the front of the field and gradually winding-up the pace, within a lap there were only four opponents trying to stay with him - and three of those were struggling.

Feleke who this year has ran 7min 53.26sec, at the bell had only Bakheet for company, but he left the lanky opponent for dead with spurts beginning 300m from the finishing line.Indeed he covered the last 1000 metres in 2min 27.10sec.

That saw the Bahrain man a sepnt force allowing Ibrahim Jellan Gashu to slip by him and make it a double success for the Ethiopian nation, beating him for the silver medal by 0.69sec in a time of 8min 04.21sec.

On a night when the 1999 champion Yelena Isinbayeva was raising her world pole vault record to 4.95m in Madrid - three of the new generation were smashing the 4.10m championship record she set in Bydgoszcz.

Ekaterina Stefanidi who cleared 4.37m indoors in February might not have attained that height, but was just happy to take home the gold medal after a tense competition.

The Greek won the title on countback both herself and Venezuela’s Keisa Monterola defying a swirling wind to clear 4.30m.

Shuo Yu in third place vaulted 4.20m while Australia’s Vicky Parnov also matched the 4.10m former record Isinbayeva achieved in Bydgoszcz.

There was a high jump championship record of 2.27m from China’s Haiqiang Huang raising the previous best set in 2001 by Russia’s Dmitriy Aleksey by a healthy four centimetres.

Three men cleared 2.18m with Pole Sylvester Bednarek missing out on a medal. Oleksandr Nartov from the Ukraine and Alex Soto of Spain took the silver and gold on countback.

Hector Dairo Fuentes looked the part in following in the footsteps of past and present great Cuban triple jumpers when winning the gold medal.

Fuentes in the fifth round flew out to a distance of 16.63m to extinguish the previous championship best of 16.36m set by the Briton Jonathan Moore in 2001.

Ilya Yefremov the early leader from Russia produced a pb 16.45m to win the silver medal with Bulgaria’s Zhivko Petkov clinching bronze with a jump of 16.20m.

Tatyana Chernova with three brilliant second day long jump, javelin and 800 metres performances, became the Russian ever to win the heptathlon title - indeed a medal - with a score of 5875points.

Chernova had ended the first behind fellow Russian Yana Panteleyeva by 26 points with Diana Rach a close third and that was how the final placings panned out.

The winner with her ultra-consistent display decimated the four-year-old 5470 points score of Germany’s Annett Wichmann with a fantastic new championship record.

Panteleyeva and Rach from Germany who played their parts in making it an exciting competition, also bettered Wichmann’s former record, accumulating 5611 and 5481 points.

Simone Du Toit the discus runner-up, was back on the medallist’s podium - but this time to collect the gold one after winning the shot put.

The South African unleashed her mighty world leading throw of 16.33m in the third round to ruin the ambitions of Bo Li and Dani Samuels.

Bo Li of China produced her best effort of 15.92m in round two while the Australian’s furthest throw of 15.53m came in the fourth round.

Ali Shahrokhi did even better clinching the men’s discus gold medal with his very first attempt of the competition.

The Iranian with the best throw of his life, reached a distance of 61.07m - then never again managed to beat the 60-metres marker.

Cuba’s Osmel Charlot only managed it once also, but his third round marker of 60.17m gained him the silver medal from Vital e Silva of Portugal who threw 59.30m in the second, then had four no-throws.

Bianca Perie didn’t start very well in the hammer and after two no-throws was facing missing the cut until pulling out an effort of 59.37m.

The Romanian two rounds later pinched the gold medal with a winner of 62.27m to the disappointment of Russia’s Anna Bulgakova who had thrown 62.05m in the previous round.

Dora Levai took the bronze medal for Hungary with a lifetime best mark of 58.80m with her last attempt.

Bianca Knight the 100m champion seriously hinted another gold medal is heading for the Team USA coffers with a runaway 200m semi-final victory in 23.37sec.

As good as Aymee Martinez looked in winning her qualifier with a time of 23.52sec, neither the Cuban who set a personal best or Knight’s teammate Khrystal Carter who finished behind her also in a lifetime best 23.65sec, looked in the same class.

Teresa Kwamboka and Halima Hachlaf of Kenya and Morocco dominated the first heat of the 800m semi-finals and look good shots for the top medals tomorrow.

Kwamboka won the sprint to the line by just 0.03sec in 2min 06.88sec, with both the Kenyan and Morooccan setting lifetime bests in their tight tussle.

The men’s race is more wideopen with the men’s 100m champion Harry Aikines-Aryeetey also hoping to clinch a first-ever sprint double.

The Briton found out at first hand that it will be very tough to gain a second gold medal after Cuba’s Jorge Valcarcel edged him on the line although they shared the same personal best times of 21.08sec.

Aikines-Aryeetey said: "He ran really well here and I’m going to be very wary of him. My problem is apart from tiredness, I haven’t ran many 200’s this summer.

"I had had three hard 100 competitions and now another two today and I’m feeling very tired from them.

"But I’m definitely up for the final and hopefully when I wake up tomorrow I’ll a lot more fresher and relaxed.

There was a shock exit for Manuela Galtier of France - she was also contesting the long jump qualifiers where she had top mark of the night with a 6.43m windy leap - in the 100 metres hurdles.

Galtier despite her packed programme was expected to be a medal contender after running a world leading time for the year of 13.24sec in the morning heats, but finished seventh.

While she tried coming to terms with her unexpected exit, in the very first semi-final Natasha Ruddock equalled her world leader with the US contestants Theresa Lewis and April Williams claiming the next best times when running 13.32sec and 13.43sec.
David Klech may have ran the fastest 400m hurdles time in the world this year when the American took the first semi-final in 50.96sec.

But Sunday’s final looks wide open after the performances of the other medal candidates with four of them also setting personal best marks in guaranteeing their places.

Klech steered clear of Adel Jaber Asseri and Wiekus Jonck in his victory, but the Saudi Arabian and South African still impressed with their times of 51.13sec and 51.22sec.

The second semi saw Sudan’s Abdulagadir Idriss Sudan clock a 51.02 pb ahead of Mohammed Dak from Saudi, who along with Robert Kigen of Kenya had achieved the previous world leader of 51.40sec in his qualifier.

Dak though was easing down and clocked 51.66sec with Jamaica’s Romel Lewis in his wake finishing in his fastest-ever time of 51.92sec.

Dave Martin for the IAAF

And David Klech ran a 16:44 in Cross Country last season. Slow twich my yin-yang…