Athletics: Hail Milion, the new Gebrselassie
Simon Turnbull looks at a runner who could be in a world of his own
Sunday 27 December 1998
At 25, Gebrselassie has broken the 5,000m world record four times, the 10,000m record three times, has collected a hat-trick of world championship 10,000m titles and has struck Olympic 10,000m gold. But it took until the age of 21 to break 13 minutes for 5,000m. At 19, Wolde has already smashed through the barrier Dave Moorcroft approached with his epic world- record run in Oslo in 1982 and which Said Aouita finally breached five years later. Gebrselassie's best time as a 19-year- old was 13min 39.06sec. He was surprised when Wolde clocked 12:59.39, five seconds behind him, in the Weltklasse meeting in Zurich in August. He was not, however, entirely staggered.
Gebrselassie, you see, has first-hand knowledge of Wolde's capabilities. The teenage prodigy is a member of his training group. "They are pretty close," Jos Hermens, Gebrselassie's long-time manager and coaching guru, said. "They train a lot together. Milion helped Haile with his 10,000m and 5,000m world records in the summer. He has great potential. Running under 13 minutes shows that."
So does the competitive record Wolde carries with him into the senior ranks in the new year. He has twice been crowned a world champion at junior level in 1998, having won the junior race at the world cross-country championships in Marrakesh in March and taken the 5,000m title at the world junior championships in Annecy in August. In the later instance he followed in the immediate footsteps of the other great protege in Gebrselassie's training group, Assefa Mezegebu, winner of the world junior 5,000m crown in 1994 and ranked second in the world this year with 12:53.84. The previous two world junior champions at the distance were not bad runners either: Daniel Komen, the reigning senior 5,000m world champion, and Gebrselassie, who has actually followed in the spikemarks of Wolde and Mezegebu this year.
In June Gebrselassie was towed on course to the 5,000m and 10,000m world records by his young compatriots, in Helsinki and Hengelo. Usually, though, Wolde spends his running life in Gebrselassie's slipstream.
"He trains with Haile three times a week in Addis," said Getaneh Tessema, the Ethiopian who helps the Dutch-based Hermens look after the Gebrselassie group. "He also comes with Haile to Holland to train in Uden when they are on the European circuit.
"Milion will be competing indoors in Europe this winter, in 1,500m and 3,000m races. But he will be doing a few cross-country races first, starting with Durham. He was a steeplechaser when he first started in athletics but he was not so good. When he stopped with the steeplechase he found out how good a runner he was. Haile was surprised when he broke 13 minutes in Zurich. He expected him to do it one day but not at such an age.
"Milion is still young and when you see him running he is really unbelievable. He is very relaxed. With more experience and more training, I think he is going to be very good in the future."
He is already very good by any standards, but one day he might be good enough to become the second Wolde to conquer the distance-running world. Milion, though, is no relation to Mamo Wolde, who won the Olympic marathon in Mexico in 1968. "There are many people in Ethiopia with the name Wolde," Tessema explained. "It is like your Smith or Jones in England."
Or Brown, perhaps. Jon Brown, in fact, will be leading the home challenge when the new Wolde comes to Durham on Saturday.
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
musicPolice chief rejects rappers' claims that his work is as dangerous as law enforcement or military service
comedy'Fresh Meat' star sees off stiff competition from Alan Carr, David Mitchell, Graham Norton, Lee Mack and Sarah Millican to win top prize
healthJames Bond's alcohol consumption puts him at 'high risk' of cirrhosis, tremors... and impotence
Beatles rush out 'bootleg' album to defy EU copyright law
Harvey Weinstein reveals his secret weapon on-set
Now that an oil trader's drinking has got him sacked, will we all have to make do with an afternoon latte?
Latest in Sport
World Cup 2014: Football Manager developers predict the team of the tournament - but which England player makes it into the XI?
Man cycles down water slide in incredible stunt video
Transfer news: Manchester United step up chase for Internazionale midfielder Fredy Guarin - reports
Manchester City should have known rules in Bayern Munich match, says Rafa Benitez
Champions League last 16 draw 2013: Who could Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United meet?
- 1 French café starts charging extra to rude customers
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 Physicists discover 'clearest evidence yet' that the Universe is a hologram
- 5 Fox News presenter tells viewers it is a 'fact' that both Jesus and Santa Claus are white
Competitive: Randstad Education Birmingham: Primary School Teaching Assistant ...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: BirminghamHere at Randstad Educatio...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: EBD teacher required for secondary ...
Competitive: Randstad Education London: We are working with a Client School an...