5000m WOMEN : DEFAR COMES BACK TO GOLD
Without the participation of Tirunesh Dibaba, the only athlete able to defeat her, Meseret Defar was the clear favorite, having shown during the last part of the season a growing shape.
Therefore, there was no surprise in the final result. However, the competition had a development very different from the previous races on long distances of the Championships (5000m Men and 10000m both men and women), since the pace was not too slow, and the last km were the fastest run in any competition.
The first 2 km saw the Polish Nowakowska leading, at even pace (3:10.78 and 6:14.02 with 2nd km in 3:03.24) after the first lap very slow.
Few meters before 3000m, the Ethiopian Almaz Ayana went in front (9:18.35 with 3rde km in 3:04.33).
Immediately after th 3rd km, Ayana started to push very hard, followed by Defar, Mercy Cherono, Viola Kibiwott and Buze Diriba, so only the African runners (3 Ethiopians and 2 Kenyans) formed the leading group.
Ayana continued running at the pace of 68.0 per lap, reaching 4000m in 12:09.01 with a split of 2:50.66 for the 4th km, and Buze Diriba had to slow down, maintaining the 5th position with about 50m of gap on the two runners of US (Molly Huddle and Shannon Rowbury), already in front of the second group.
Pushed by Defar, Ayana continued in her progression and was still in front at the bell, with Cherono and Kibiwott in 3rd and 4th position.
When Defar started the final sprint, Ayana was still able to react, and Meseret could overtake the young teammate with 200m to go, only.
Mercy Cherono, with long strides, waited till the last 50m for attacking Ayana, and achieved the silver medal after hard fight with the Ethiopian, while Viola Kibiwott was completely exhausted, and, understanding was not possible to reach any medal, finished the last lap on her pace, maintaining the 4th place.
The final km was an astonishing 2:41.00 for Meseret Defar, but also 2:42.32 for Ayana, who had on her shoulder the weight of the race, and under 2:42.0 for Mercy Cherono, probably in the best shape of her life.
The first 3 athletes ran the last 2 km between 5:31 (Defar) and 5:32 (Cherono and Ayana), with arguably the last 1500m in less than 4:05 for Dibaba.
The real novelty was the Ethiopian Almaz Ayana, till June known as steeple runner of good level, but suddenly risen in the group of “phenomena” in the competition without barriers, when she ran in the Diamond League of Paris 14:25.84. The final of Moscow was for Ayana the 7th race of her life in this distance, including the heat, so no experience but really great talent and right mentality.
Being 8 years younger than Defar and 6 years younger than Dibaba, probably she can be the real future for Ethiopia in the event.
Mercy Cherono and Viola Kibiwott ran at their best, and with this type of sudden acceleration Mercy was better than Viola, normally stronger when the pace is more even, and the change of speed is only in the last lap.
Buze Diriba is the World Junior Champion, but doesn’t seem to have the talent of Ayana. Probably can become a well placed runner, but never a winner.
Molly Huddle and Shannon Rowbury achieved the best possible position, both with their seasonal best (Huddle only 17/100 slower than in Eagle Rock in May) in a race of difficult interpretation because of the slow start. If for Molly this is a confirmation of her international level in the big championships (last year reached the final in Olympic Games), for Shannon Rowbury can be the beginning of a career also in this event, which now she can consider at the same level of the preferred 1500m.
MARATHON MEN : THE OLYMPIC CHAMPION GOES TO DOUBLE
After his victory in Olympic Games, the Ugandan Stephen Kiprotich was considered a surprise, but, looking at the development of the race, his victory was evaluated more as a loss by Abel Kirui and Wilson Kipsanìg than a wonderful performances for himself.
For that reason Stephen was not one of the most favorites in the race. Also about my opinion, knowing he had problems approaching the race (a car accident, a stop of about one month after London marathon, when he didn’t finish because fell down and had a bad impact with the ground for his knee), he could be one in top 6, but not the winner.
Instead, Stephen ran a wonderful race, relaxed during the first 30 km, always in full control, and very fresh at the end, when decided to go at zigzag for creating a gap with Lelisa Desisa, the last Ethiopian able to stay with him.
Stephen, in my opinion, was today stronger than in OG. There he tried, taking advantage from a tactical mistake of Kirui and Kipsang, but was already 50m behind them after 34 km. Here he always knew what to do, and his ability for controling the race was the same shown by Mo Farah in 5000 / 10000m.
We can say, today there was the confirmation he is a true champion, in spite of his PB, at the moment still normal for every strong African runner.
The weather conditions were better than during the marathon for women, but in any case not the best for running 42 km at high speed.
The first half marathon was carried out at moderate pace, with splits a little progressive, but never really fast : 15:54 – 31:32 (15:38) – 46:40 (15:08) – 1:01:50 (15:10), and the passage at HM was 1:05:13 for a wide group.
Soon after the half, Jackson Kiprop, Ugandan like Stephen Kiprotich, went in front, together the Ethiopian Tadese Tola, and these two athletes paced till 30 km (splits of 1:17:12 at 25k with 15:22, and 1:32:37 at 30k with 15:25) reducing the leading group at 14 runners, already with two Kenyans only (Some and Bernard Kipyego), and with Kebede struggling a little, showing his training after winning London was not at his best.
In a refreshment, was Kiprotich himself to increase the pace for about 1 km, and only 6 athletes remained together : with him, the Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa, winner in Dubai and Boston this year , Tadese Tola (also running Dubai under 2:05.0 and Paris) and Tsigey Kebede, the Kenyan Peter Some, winner in Paris, and the Japanese Kentaro Nakamoto, best Japanese today, looking at the difficulties of Maeda and Kawauchi.
At 35 km (1:48:00 with split of 15:23), Tadese Tola increased the pace, and Kiprotich answered very easy, like Desisa, while Kebede lost 30m, and Some with Nakamura were definitively out of the fight.
Stephen Kiprotich tried a first time to create a gap with the two Ethiopians, but the plan worked against Tola only, since Desisa was able to stay with him, always following without never going in front.
Many athletes could become nervous in a similar situation. Instead, Stephen did something learnt by cycling : went zigzag changing side of the road and pace for several times, till when was able to create a gap of 10 meters with Desisa. When realized to have this advantage, Stephen pushed very hard, and Desisa had a mental breakdown, looking only more for the silver medal.
Finishing very fresh in comfortable way in 2:09:51, Stephen ran the last 2195m in 6:28, with Desisa 21.0 behind in 2:10:12 and Tadese Tola winning bronze in 2:10:23. Number 4 was Kebede in 2:10:47, far from the shape he had in Spring.
While Kenyans ran very bad, with Peter Some (9th at the end in 2:11:47) the best placed, Bernard Kipyego 12th in 2:14:01, Michael Kipyego very far and Nicholas Kipkemboi and Bernard Koech retired, Japaneses were not bad, especially Kentaro Nakamoto able to reach an interesting 5th place in 2:10:50.
Two Brasilian (Solonei Da Silva and Paulo Roberto Paula) finished 6th and 7th together, in 2:11:40, a good test looking at their Olympic Games.
Once again, the global level of Marathon was not very high in World Championships.
Apart Stephen Kiprotich, who strongly wanted to compete in WCh having the motivation of confirming his predominance in this type of competitions (probably he’s the best runner for Championships together with Abel Kirui, who wanted to defend his title if not injured), only Tsegay Kebede and Lelisa Desisa, among the best, were in Moscow.
For competing in August at top level, athletes need to have their marathon in spring very far (for example February or beginning of March), or not to run any marathon in the season (like the two Brasilian, or Valeria Straneo in the women race), or to compete in Spring at 80% of shape, considering that marathon like a “passage” on the strategy planned for reaching the best shape in the Championships (what, for example, Baldini always did).
Stephen Kiprotich, under this point of view, didn’t finish his marathon (London) in April, dropping out for a fall after 25 km, and the same happened with him last year in Olympic (he ran in February while Kenyans were all in London) and with Abel Kirui in 2011 (retired in London).
Under this point of view, Lelisa Desisa showed to +have a lot of talent, because Moscow was his 3rd seasonal marathon, after winning both Dubai in 2:04:45 and Boston, but had less energies in the final 2 km, probably because of what he did in the previous part of the season.
Not bad the American Jeff Egglestone, 13th in 2:14:23. He ran a honest race, obtaining a position at the end of the race very much better than the position he had in the list of PBs. But it’s clear in US at the moment there are not athletes able to reach the podium in this type of competitions, like in the past Meb Keflezighi and Deena Kastor.
May be, with proper training, somebody among the many athletes able running 10k in 27:30 / 27:45 can move to marathon. But for succeeding, must be still young, not injured, well motivated, and has to do different training from what the most part of American marathon runners normally use.
TOPIC OF THE DAY
A Kenyan in 4th position in a throwing event is something really amazing, and I’m very disappointed Julius Yego didn’t win the bronze medal for few centimeters. This guy already was in the Olympic final last year, and his story went in the World as example of personal application in a Country without any coach for the event.
Still young (he’s born in January 1989), very strong but flexible, Yego is athlete full time for Police.
He had the passion for javelin already in the school, but in Kenya nobody was able to teach him technique and way of training, so he went to search in Youtube all the recorded images about javelin competitions, for studying the technique.
In this way, he improved every year : 72.18 (2008), 74.00 (2009), 75.44 (2010), 78.34 (2011).
After this last performance, he had the opportunity to go Finland for training with Pitkamaeki, and last year finally overtook 80 meters.
He is a very strong competitor, and always was able to improve his best during the most important competitions : his National Record 2012 (81.81) was during the qualifications in Olympic Games, previously his 78.34 was winning All Africa Games, and today an astonishing 85.40 giving him the 4th position in the Championships, and the 7th position in the seasonal list.
Since he is an athlete using only “bread and water”, and his natural strength, we think can continue his road of improvement, reaching the top in a discipline never known in Kenya.His appearance is a very good motivation for AK, in order to develop the technical events, too, since in Kenya there are athletes with great talent, apart middle and long distances, especially for sprint, hurdles and jumps.