Kenenisa Bekelle Missed His Chance to Compete for Rio


Kenenisa Bekele had been hoping to qualify in this event for the Olympics, but the world record-holder and multiple world champion failed to finish. 2011 world champion Ibrahim Jeilan suffered the same fate.


Since winning the world junior 10,000m title in 2012, Yigrem Demelash hasn’t had the smoothest transition to the senior ranks.

Before today, his 10,000m PB was still the 26:57.56 national junior record he set two months after winning his global U20 title. He represented Ethiopia in the senior race at the following year’s IAAF World Cross Country Championships but finished down in 69th.

Since then, he hasn’t represented Ethiopia at a major championships. In Hengelo last year, Ethiopia’s trial race for the IAAF World Championships, he finished a distant 10th in what was his only race of 2015.

But now he looks assured of a spot on the Ethiopian team for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games after his convincing win in Hengelo, breaking his PB from four years ago with a world-leading 26:51.11.

The race started at a healthy pace with 1000m covered in 2:43, 2000m reached in 5:24 and 3000m passed in 8:08. When half way was reached in 13:32, a sub-27-minute finishing time seemed like a distinct possibility.

The last pace maker dropped out after 6000m, which was reached in 16:14. By 8000m, just four men were left in the lead: Demelash, Tamirat Tola, Abadi Embaye and Belay Tilahun.

Tilahun was then dropped from the lead pack as Demelash, Embaye and Tola broke away. But in the closing stages, Demelash proved to have the better finishing speed and he went on to open up a gap of six seconds on his two remaining opponents, crossing the finish line in 26:51.11.

Tola was second in 26:57.45, just 0.12 shy of the PB he set at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene last month. Only three other men – Haile Gebrselassie, Kenenisa Bekele and Josphat Muchiri – have twice run faster than 27 minutes for 10,000m within one season.

Embaye was third in a PB of 26:57.88 while Tilahun was further back in fourth in 27:11.83.