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How Ethiopia’s Gebrhiwet stunned Kiplimo, Cheptegei to send Olympic Games warning

Friday, May 31st, 2024 10:58 | By
Ethiopia's Hagos Gebrhiwet produced a stunning performance in the Olso Diamond League series to beat Jacob Kiplimo and Joshua Cheptegei in the 5000m run.
Ethiopia's Hagos Gebrhiwet produced a stunning performance in the Olso Diamond League series to beat Jacob Kiplimo and Joshua Cheptegei in the 5000m run. PHOTO/World Athletics

Ethiopia's Hagos Gebrhiwet produced a stunning performance in the Olso Diamond League series, beating pre-race favourites Jacob Kiplimo and Joshua Cheptegei in the 5000m run.

Gebrhiwet's performance was one of the biggest surprises of the year so far, and it was one of three meeting records and five world leads, just two months away from the Paris Olympic Games.

World record-holder and Olympic champion Joshua Cheptegei, two-time world cross-country champion Kiplimo, and last year’s Bislett Games winner Yomif Kejelcha were more favoured by the odds, only for Gebrhiwet to shine more.

The Oslo winner produced the first sub-13-minute run of his career on this track as a teenager back in 2012 and ensured his name wouldn’t be forgotten in the lead-up to the Olympics as he starred in the Norwegian capital.

The field was paced through the first 1000m in 2:33.13 and 2000m in 5:07.05 as Adisu Yihune maintained that tempo through 3000m, reached in 7:41.05, with all the big contenders still in contention.

Kejelcha took control soon after and started to wind up the pace, Gebrhiwet stayed close to his fellow Ethiopian, with Ugandan duo Kiplimo and Cheptegei close behind as 4000m was reached in 10:11.86, the previous kilometre being covered in 2:30, as recorded by World Athletics.

Ethiopia's Hagos Gebrhiwet produced a stunning performance in the Olso Diamond League series to beat Jacob Kiplimo and Joshua Cheptegei in the 5000m run. PHOTO/World Athletics

Cheptegei drifts back

Cheptegei was unable to hold on for much longer and started to drift back, with Kejelcha continuing to drive the pace, but the challenge from Gebrhiwet and Kiplimo wasn’t fading. Gebrhiwet struck as the bell sounded and moved into the lead, kicking past his compatriot and pulling away with each stride.

With a final lap of 54.99, Gebrhiwet charged through the line in 12:36.73 to win by more than two seconds from Kejelcha (12.38.95) – the first time in history that two men have broken 12:40 in the same race.

Gebrhiwet’s winning time is just 1.37 seconds shy of the world record Cheptegei set in 2020 and moves him to second on the world all-time list, one place ahead of Kenenisa Bekele, whose Ethiopian record Gebrhiwet broke.

Kiplimo held on for third, setting a PB of 12:40.96, while Spain’s Thierry Ndikumwenayo (12:48.10) and Yihune (12:49.65) also finished inside 12:50.

It was just the second time in history that 13 men have broken 13 minutes. Along with Gebrhiwet, there were national records for Guatemala’s Luis Grijalva (12:50.58), Switzerland’s Dominic Lokinyomo Lobalu (12:50.90), Sweden’s Andreas Almgren (12:50.94), France’s Jimmy Gressier (12:54.97), and South Africa’s Adriaan Wildschutt (12:56.67).

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