Athletics: Bekele goes it alone to break Gebrselassie's 5000m record

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The Independent Online

Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia set a world record in the 5,000 metres yesterday, clocking 12min 37.37sec at the FBK Games here. He surpassed the mark set by his compatriot Haile Gebrselassie, who ran 12:39.36 in Helsinki in 1998.

Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia set a world record in the 5,000 metres yesterday, clocking 12min 37.37sec at the FBK Games here. He surpassed the mark set by his compatriot Haile Gebrselassie, who ran 12:39.36 in Helsinki in 1998.

Looking relaxed throughout, Bekele took the lead in the fifth minute. He and another compatriot, Mulegeta Wondimu, ran together for two more minutes, with Bekele slightly ahead, before Bekele began opening up a huge lead. He continued hard through the finish. The race "was very difficult, because I had to run out of pace," Bekele said. "I had to run alone." Wondimu finished second in 13:01.28.

In the women's 5000m, Jo Pavey, Britain's fastest at the event last summer, achieved the Olympic qualifying standard. Pavey, showing she is fully recovered from a virus which affected her pre-season build-up, finished an excellent runner-up in 14:55.04 behind the Kenyan Isabella Ochichi.

Pavey admitted she found the race tough in the final three laps when Ochichi, last year's African Championship bronze medallist, drew away to set a personal best and meeting record.

Pavey, a 5,000m finalist at the last Olympics, said: "I'm really thrilled at getting the qualifier out of the way so early in the season and it's a great weight off my mind." Kathy Butler and Hayley Yelling missed the qualifying time in 10th and 11th places.

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