Ethiopian Gudaf Tsegay held off late challengers to win the women’s 5,000 metres at the World Championships on Saturday as world record-holder Letesenbet Gidey faded down the straight to miss the podium.
Tokyo bronze medallist Tsegay traded the lead with compatriot Gidey, the world 10,000m champion, throughout the race until the pack took off for the final lap.
The Netherlands’ 5,000m Olympic champion Sifan Hassan, known for her ferocious kick, picked up the pace before delivering a challenge with 200m to go as she wove to the inside, but could not maintain her speed as Tsegay charged down the final straight.
“I have been training well for 1,500m and this helps spring on the home stretch,” said Tsegay, who collected silver in the 1,500m earlier in the meet. “This win is for all of Ethiopia.
“I was trying to control the race coming from the first place during the run so it was very hard for me … I felt in shape and my victory confirms it was a good plan.”
Kenyan Beatrice Chebet moved up in the final 200m for silver and Ethiopian Dawit Seyaum finished with bronze.
“It was a matter of tactics. I was well positioned,” said Chebet. “This medal will make a good difference for me.”
It was the fourth gold for Ethiopia in Eugene, Oregon, who have 10 medals total and sit behind the United States in the medals table.
Seyaum, who kept Doha silver medallist Margaret Kipkemboi off the podium, said it was a special performance for her after dealing with injuries for five years.
“I hoped and I also expected to become a medalist in this event. So I trained well and prepared myself hard for any kind of a medal,” she told reporters.
Hassan had tamped down expectations ahead of Eugene, having scarcely competed after the mental and physical exhaustion of her remarkable distance double at the Tokyo Games, and told reporters she had only began to train about two months ago.
“I did my best and I gave everything. I did the race smart, did not make any mistake,” she said.
“I wanted to get a break for my mental part because athletics is not only about running but also about motivation. It is so hard to get motivated again. I took almost seven months break. I am happy to be back and I will try for more golds next year.”
After the race a fan ran onto Hayward Field holding what appeared to be a Tigray flag and picked up both Tsegay and Gidey before being removed by security.
A conflict erupted in November 2020 between rebellious forces from the Tigray region and the Ethiopian government. read more