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Meseret sprints to 5,000m hat-trick for Ethiopia
In the most exciting and highly impressive finishing; Ethiopian talent Meseret Defar collected a gold medal in 5,000m race at a time of 15 minutes and 45 seconds on Friday in the London Olympics. Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot took silver. The 10,000m gold medalist Trunesh Dibaba won third place to earn bronze.
This was the second 5,000m gold for Meseret. Her first was at the Athens Olympics in 2004. Her attempt to defend her title in Beijing was aborted when Tirunesh Dibaba won the race with comfortable ease. This time Meseret avenged that defeat by the skin of her teeth.
When Tirunesh managed to go ahead in the one-two finish in the heat on Tuesday, August, 7, many concluded that she would defend her Beijing 5,000m title with little difficulty. That assumption was further strengthened as Tirunesh went in front until the last lap. As the bell rang for the final lap, Tirunesh was still in front and looked firmly on course to replicate her 5,000 and 10,000m double in Beijing. Considering her spectacular finish seen in the 10,000m final last Friday and 5,000m semifinal it was a foregone conclusion that Tirunesh would record a historic London double.
But with 50 meters to go, fellow Ethiopian Meseret who stayed all along behind Tirunesh’s heel, surged ahead to win in 15 minutes and 4.25 seconds. It was indeed an excellent display of strength and determination in the last 50 meters.
Though the Ethiopian wonder athletes have had the edge in the last three contests over the neighboring Kenya, the Friday 5,000m London Olympic race clearly showed the great rivalry between the two neighboring nations will continue. The Kenyan who finished second never surrendered. Even after she sprinted away to deny Tirunesh a silver she lunged for a gold at the finishing line but to no avail. In the span of seven days Tirunesh Dibaba sprinted away with the 10,000meter gold, Tiki Gelana denied Kenyan women the marathon gold in record time and Meseret again denied Cheruiyot gold, a clear domination in long distance.
The huge Ethiopian crowd who witnessed the great sensational event standing in the street in front of the Edna mall big screen at Bole Medhanealem church jumped into the air with jubilation when Meseret touched the finishing line with her flying leg. The deafening applause with a victory song took the scene with exceptional emotion. The roads were closed until the huge crowd was dispersed.