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Bekele does Lausanne Double

Bekele defies age to take historic double double gold in Lausanne

World Cross Lausanne 2003

World Cross Lausanne 2003

30 March 2003 – Avenches, Lausanne Switzerland – At 20 years of age, one could forgive Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia for suffering from the pressures of trying to duplicate last year’s amazing double gold performance in Dublin. However, it seems that those spectating suffered more than the athlete of pre-race and mid-race nerves, as this superb athlete, yet again, provided the ‘unimaginable’.

This year, the Kenyans came prepared and they were yet again displaying their usual tactics of event domination. Bekele was surrounded by his Kenyan adversaries and his East African rivals’ intentions were plain to see, when they sent out the first of their ‘pace-killers’. The athlete sacrificed was Albert Cherono, and even though Bekele was not sucked into the total suicide of an opening 2:41 kilometre, he was still in contention. And one would expect being placed under the pressure the Kenyans were hoping to impose on him.

The opening lap, was a ‘cheerful’ 5:49, with 8 athletes in close competition. And for American interests, African born Meb Keflezighi was in the opening ‘sortie’. 4 further athletes were closely gathered off this lead pack, within striking distance, with Paul Keoch, Kenya’s team man supreme in this group. Keoch has vast experience at the World XCountry Championships, as well as the speed of the 3rd fastest 10000m runner ever. And, he was hoping to play a role in Kenya’s attempt to provide an overall winner.

Sergiy Lebid of the Ukraine, Europe’s expected challenge was 7 seconds off the leaders after one lap. He was to ‘bail’ for the 2nd successive year, again underlining that the winning of less important races against the Africans in the build-up is no indicator to how the Kenyans and Ethiopians will perform on the day of the most important XCountry fixture on the International calendar.

By the end of the 2nd lap, 10:52 [ an excelleration of a 5:03 lap ], the first 10 athletes were all from East Africa, either Kenyan or Ethiopian. Keflezighi was 12th at this stage, however he was never again to be in contention to challenge the front runners, and would finish a creditable 11th

At one stage, early in the race, Bekele was surrounded by 6 Kenyans, and one would have thought that surely the young Ethiopian would be feeling the pressure. Not so, as it was Bekele who would be the one to apply the pressure. In applying short ‘surge doses’ he began to shed the lead pack from excessive baggage, and in the process improve his chances by ridding himself of the large Kenyan contingent who were sending out the ‘sacrificial lamb’ at opportune moments.

On one such surge over a short uphill, he glanced over his shoulder as if inviting them to join him. [ The surge dropped an Ethiopian ]. Each time the pack would regather in an attempt to swamp Bekele. John Cheruiyot Korir went to the front shortly thereafter in an attempt to exert Kenyan dominance. However, nothing seemed to make any impression on Bekele, as he covered everything thrown at him, including the attempts of Keoch who in the past had provided many a platform for Paul Tergat to achieve his 5 World Crowns on.

The 3rd lap went by in 15:52 [ 5:00 lap ], whereas this would signal that the pace was constant it did not portray the full story, with Bekele and his team-mate Gebre-egziabher Gebremariam, last year’s Junior Champion also changing the pace to apply pressure on the Kenyans.

After this lap Patrick Ivuti shot to the front, however to see the spectacular range of gears that Bekele has, is an absolute joy to watch. The mere lifting of his muscled thighs and pointing of his toes produces a dazzling change of pace which covers anything his opponents can throw at him. At 20:30 into the race, the athletes are all in single file for the first time and the person at the front is the young champion.

The 4th lap passes in 20:56 [ 5:04 lap ] and there are now 4 athletes in ‘real’ contention, 2 Kenyans and 2 Ethiopians. At this stage Ivuti looks slightly under pressure and Bekele has the comfort of his team-mate Gebremariam, however one would be wise to remember, that this very same compatriot beat him in a race in Ethiopia. So, when the ‘chips’ are down Gebremariam is undoubtedly there for his own cause.

At 21:30 into the race, we witness another KB surge and this time the Kenyans are split, their ability to dominate as a team is broken, as Korir slides slightly off the rear.

At the end of the 5th lap, 25:58 [ 5:02 lap ] Korir is 2 seconds off the pace with Keoch a further 6 seconds in arrears at 26:06. The front 3 are running shoulder to shoulder.

[ and it is at this time it would be good to mention, that if you are going to apply pressure to your foe you should try to analise the affect it has on them .. as I truly feel if Drossin were as diligent/aware about the opposition as Bekele is, then she would have been able to palce herself in a better chance of winning a Gold .. it is all very well to apply pressure, however pressure at the opportune time provides the winning opportunity ]

Enough said… as at 26:30 into the race Bekele applies another ferocious surge and Ivuti falters off the back. The Kenyans are broken. Now it is a country affair … each man for himself …

Then a lift of the knees, a pump pf the arms and he is away, gliding over the terrain as though he were on the track. Gebremariam is a broken man as he witnesses his fellow countryman dissappear into the yonder.

A 4:53 lap [ 30:51 end 6th lap ], 11 seconds clear of Ivuti who has hauled in Gebremariam. The Kenyan has no chance of catching the ‘doubles champion‘ …

The young Emperor, has escaped all his challengers and goes on to record his destiny of 2 Golds in successive years. A remarkable achievement for a man yet to witness his 21st, and the performance of the man who is certainly to fill the shoes of the ever great Haile Gebrselassie.

The Kenyans are again defeated, failing to take home an individual senior title, however they have Men’s Team Title, which they will have to be content with till next year’s hope. In a close run affair they defeat their East African rivals, Ethiopia by 17 points to 23, and one can only wonder whether this team title will also come under threat in the future?


Kenenisa 'Double' Bekele Men’s results
1 Bekele ETH 35:56
2 Ivuti KEN 36:09
3 Gebremariam E 36:17
4 Limo KEN 6:39
5 Koech KEN 36:42
6 Korir KEN 36:50
7 Sihine ETH 37:03
8 Chatt MAR 37:07
9 Tadesse ERI 37:10
10 El Amri MAR 37:12
11 Keflezighi USA 37:16
12 Cherono KEN 37:17
13 Nigusse ETH 37:18
14 Kipketer KEN 37:30
15 Goumri MAR 37:32
16 Henriques P 37:33
17 Martínez ESP 37:35
18 Rey Julio ESP 37:38
19 JosephTAN 37:49
20 Berhanu ETH 37:50

1. Kenya, 18 points.
2. Ethiopia, 23.
3. Morocco, 51.
4. Spain, 68.
5. Portugal, 85.

source Time-to-Run

View the reports to get a feel of the 2003 Championships:


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