An Ethiopian miracle in 3000m – IAAF World U18

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Abersh Minsewo

The first of the girls’ track finals in Nairobi was always expected to be a fight between Kenya and Ethiopia. Eagerly awaited by the crowd gathered in the stadium, the 3000m certainly did not disappoint, even if the final result was not what the Kenyan crowd had hoped for.
In a tight finish, Ethiopia’s Abersh Minsewo prevailed in 9:24.62, marginally beating the home favourite Emmaculate Chepkirui. Yitayish Mekonene made it two Ethiopians on the podium, pushing Beatrice Chebet out of the medals.
The race started at a slow pace, with the whole field tightly bunched throughout the initial laps. The first 400 metres took more than 79 seconds, and it only got slower afterwards, with 1000m covered in 3:23.16. Chebet was the leader at that point, but there was little in it with nearly the whole field still running in a tight pack.
Half way through the final lap, it was Minsewo who moved up to her shoulder and momentarily took the lead. The Kenyan did not yield, stuck to the curb and gained a meter on the curve.
Chepkirui reached the final straight still in the lead, but by then the distance between the leaders was shrinking. It turned into a neck-and-neck battle between the two, but despite all the support from the crowd for the home athlete, Minsewo eventually started inching ahead. She never really got away, but in the end, she reached the finish line first, arms aloft. The gap was only 0.07 between first and second. The final winning time of 9:24.62 belied the true quality of the winner’s performance, as Minsewo ran the final kilometer just outside 2:49.