Unexpected paycut for Tirunesh Dibaba ($125,000)
BERNLIN, Germany – It was a particularly tough afternoon for Tirunesh Dibaba, one of the Jackpot contenders setting out for a perfect set of six victories. Once again, it came down to a final lap sprint between the World champion, and her compatriot, the Olympic titleholder, Meseret Defar. Dibaba, had always prevailed in this dash for the line in the previous five Golden League meets but today as Defar closed on her shoulder with 250m to go, we sensed an upset as Dibaba didn’t immediately respond
And a shock we got in dramatic style in the last 100m, as the two elfin Ethiopian figures battled their way home. Defar got the decisive edge, and the woman who only a couple of days ago Dibaba had called “˜her sister’ had suddenly deprived her of $125,000 extra helping of Jackpot cash. The finishing times were 15:02.51 to 15:02.87. Defar’s last lap was 56.4 seconds and Dibaba’s 56.9.
Meselech Melkamu (15:05.82), Gelete Burka (15:07.45) in third and fourth brought home an Ethiopian sweep of the top places.
Solo victory for Kenenisa ($83,333)
Kenenisa Bekele produced a demonstration and a determination in the men’s 5000m which was absorbing for the viewer. Alone in front at 2km, the World record holder proceeded to build a margin of supremacy lap by lap, second by second, so that by the bell (11:58) he had nearly eleven seconds advantage over his pursuers.
The final lap sprint brought his brother Tariku, the newly crowned World Junior champion, closer but Kenenisa’s victory in 12:57.74 to his brother’s 13:04.83 was as emphatic as it gets. The crowd rose to its feet in appreciation of a wonderful gutsy display; the public address system played “The Can, Can”?, and as Bekele danced around the track in a lap of honour all we could say was “he did, did”?!
Bekele summed up his supremacy, “this race was an easy one for me. Nobody followed me, not even the pacemakers. It was tough for them.”?