Avon Women's Race Berlin 2021 on 15 May 2021

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Kenenisa Bekele smashes 5000 m world indoor record in Birmingham

Bekele beat Haile Gebrselassie


Kenenisa Bekele crowned the high-class indoor meeting in Brimingham with a new 5000 m world record. The 21 year-old Ethiopian was the first athlete to dip under 12:50 minutes indoors. He stormed into the finish after 12:49,60 minutes. Bekele had been double world cross country champion in 2003 and 2002 and additionally won the 10,000 metres at the world championships in Paris last August.

Bekele beat Haile Gebrselassies former record by less than a second in Birmingham. Gebrselassie, twice the Olympic 10,000 m champion, had run 12:50,38 in Birmingham in 1999. Not only in the eyes of his Ethiopian countryman Gebrselassie he is a possible successor of one of the greatest runners ever. But Bekele will meet tough Kenyan opposition during the Olympic year. Bekele and Gebrselassie are training partners and share the same manager, Jos Hermens.

It was Hermens and about 8,000 spectators who pushed Bekele on during his world record race. When the last pacemaker dropped out at 3,000 m (7:47 minutes) Bekele was on his own on the 200 m indoor track. In the end it was getting very close. 400 metres before the finish Bekele was outside the record schedule by about a second. But finally he succeeded. "It was very hard, because I had to run alone for a long time. I don know where I took the strength from on my last lap. The spectators were fantastic", Kenenisa Bekele said.

But there will be no showdown with Haile Gebrselassie in near future. While Gebrselassie will prepare for the world indoor championships that take place in Budapest by the beginning of March, Bekele goes for the world cross country championships two weeks later in Brussels. Bekele will face very strong opposition in Brussels.

There were three more high-class long distance events in Birmingham. It was Haile Gebrselassie who missed his own world record for two miles (8:04,69 minutes). Covering the first half in 4:02 the 30 year-old could not keep up with that pace at the end of the race. Finally it was not even enough for winning. Another Ethiopian, Markos Geneti (8:08,39) beat Gebrselassie (8:08,65) in the final sprint.

Maria Mutolas extraordinary win streak came to an end in Birmingham on Friday evening. The 800 metre world champion from Mozambique had won 22 races in a row. But this time she was unlucky in the 1,000 metre event. She was clipped on her heel and fell. And it was her British training partner Kelly Holmes who won with a European record of 2:32,96 minutes. Jennifer Toomey took second place with a new US record of 2:34,19 minutes. There was another world record attempt in the womens 3,000 metres. Berhane Adere (Ethiopia) had already run a 5,000 m world indoor record this season in Stuttgart (14:39,29 minutes). But this time she clearly missed her own mark of 8:29,15. In the end Adere had to be content with fourth place in 8:51,40. But it was even worse for Gabriela Szabo (Romania), who dropped out. The race was won by Meseret Defar (Ethiopia) in 8:33,44 minutes.

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