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Paris 2003 Day 8

Day 8 of the Paris 2003 World Track Championships, saw the running of the Men’s Marathon in the heat of the afternoon and the much awaited Women’s 5000m final.

The Men’s Marathon produced a stunning display from Morocco’s Jaouad Gharib, who in only his 2nd attempt at the distance stunned the rest of the field to win in a new Championship Record of 2:08:31, closely followed by Spain’s Julio Rey in 2nd and Italy’s Stefano Baldini in 3rd. | report and results | [ on separate page ]

Women’s 5000m Final – Saturday, August 30, 2003

The Women’s 5000m final was a tense affair with 10 competitors still in contention with 200m to go.

Shortly after the start the ever so keen, hardworking Russian athlete Yelena Zadorozhnaya, went to the front to take the pack through 400m in 70.60. She did not however pick the tempo up, and was soon passed by Gabriela Szabo of Romania and 10 000m winner, Berhane Adere of Ethiopia. The tall longstriding Abera and the short choppy stride of Szabo led through 1000m in 3:04.25. Nothing special and the makings of a tactical race.

4 minutes into the race and Zhor El Kamch of Morocco, who had run a host of PB’s in the lead up to these Champs by adopting frontrunning tactics, went to the front. The pace increased to 70.72 and then returned to 75.82, passing through 2K in 6:09.88. Quite remarkable that athletes who were not known for their finishing speed were allowing the race to become such a tactical affair. Often lack of confidence on the big stage can be such a hinderance.

Things were becoming beyond ridiculous, with athletes running 4 deep shoulder to shoulder at 3.20 per K pace. Kenyan Isabella Ochichi went to the front in an attempt to bring respectability back to a Championship Final and pushed the following 200m up in tempo. This was immediately seen as a threat by Adera who came round runners so as to track the Kenyan.

During all the running, Spain’s Marta Domínguez kept herself tucked closely to the inside of the track, never less than one athlete from the front. The effort had picked up to a 67.88 lap and this had lifted the pace to 2:59.00 for the kilometer, passing through 3K in 9:08.88.

It was not a brutal change of pace for a 5000m race, however Ireland’s Sonia O’Sullivan soon found herself off the lead group and no longer in contention, even though the tempo had slowed to a 70.87 lap. This slowing of the pace allowed the Canadian pair of Émilie Mondor and Courtney Babcock to return to the pack.

A 71.15 lap. This was strange to say the least. The Moroccan pair of Zahra Ouaziz and El Kamch, had dropped off the back and their role in the outcome of the race had been played. There were still 12 athletes within 1 second of each other, and supposedly anyone’s race. Even though the scribes would ‘surely’ have the race written down as a perfect Szabo and Abera duel to the finish.

Another 71.09 lap. 4K in 12:06.45 – 2:57.57 K. Where was the fireworks, who would be the first to attack ? Who shot JR ?

2 laps to go .. Athletes are 5 deep .. China’s 10 000m Bronze medalist, Yingjie Sun, is almost running in the 3rd lane. The last 200m was only 36sec. Zadorozhnaya edges towards the front and entering the backstraight she shifts a gear. Ochichi immediately slides out of contention with 6 athletes going past her as though she were standing still. Zsabo finds herself at the rear of the field with 600m to go. The last 200m was only 34 seconds, yet it seems to have the effect as if it were vastly faster. That 400m was 70.14 .. 13:16.59 at 4400m …

13:50.01 at the bell … The tiny Russian is all arms and legs, she is closely pursued by the Spaniard and Turkey’s Elvan Abeylegesse. And they racing . Ladies and Gentlemen .. this is it ..

Round the bend and Zadorozhnaya throws in a sub 16 second 100m to enter the backstraight. She is stretching the athletes, Abera switches to the outside of lane 1 alongside Domínguez . but nothing is happening someone forgot to push the ‘go fast’ button. Approaching 200m to go [14.21.46/4800m] and the Spaniard attacks going past the Russian on the inside . Edith Masai comes alongside the Turk, but has 3m to make up. Tirunesh Dibaba, Ethiopia’s other hope, is behind Adera at this stage and is about 6m off the front with less than 180 to go.

Coming into the last 100m and the Ethiopian has closed to within a meter and a half. There are now 4 athletes in contention and 3 medals up for grabs. Domínguez leaves an opening on the inside and Masai skips at the chance to move to the inside. The Kenyan is all composure until she spots Dibaba on the outside making her move. The young Ethiopian is longstriding her way to victory. 1st place is hers with 20m to go. Masai has moved into 2nd place and is all action with her high knee lift and arm action. The Spaniard head back, gritting her teeth is sprinting more like a streetfighter, she draws level with Masai. The two are toe to toe to the line, with Domínguez taking it on the dip, with the Russian a further 6/100th’s of second in 4th.

The last 1K is 2:45.28 for a winning time of 15:51.73 with 2nd in 14:52.26 .. 3rd 14:52.30 .. 4th 14:52.36 .. 3 seconds separate the first 8 athletes.

The last 400m was run in 61.72 .. the last 200m in 30.17

For the 18 year old Didaba, a new era awaits her as she moves into the limelight as Adera’s successor in the future, adding the 5000m title to her World Junior XCountry title she won in March. | results |

Women’s 5000m Results – Saturday, August 30, 2003

Heat 6Pos Bib Athlete Nat Time

1 320 Dibaba Tirunesh ETH 14:51.72

2 294 Domínguez Marta ESP 14:52.26

3 656 Masai Edith KEN 14:52.30

4 958 Zadorozhnaya Yelena RUS 14:52.36

5 1077 Abeylegesse Elvan TUR 14:53.56 (PB)

6 659 Ochichi Isabella KEN 14:54.08

7 949 Samitova Gulnara RUS 14:54.38 (PB)

8 147 Babcock Courtney CAN 14:54.98 (NR)

9 178 Sun Yingjie CHN 14:57.01

10 316 Adere Berhane ETH 14:58.07

11 884 Szabo Gabriela ROM 14:59.36

12 152 Mondor Émilie CAN 15:02.36

13 709 Ouaziz Zahra MAR 15:16.73

14 706 El Kamch Zhor MAR 15:29.72

15 546 O’Sullivan Sonia IRL 15:36.62

Intermediate Pos Bib Athlete Nat Time

1000m 1 884 Szabo Gabriela ROM 3:04.25

2000m 1 884 Szabo Gabriela ROM 6:09.88

3000m 1 659 Ochichi Isabella KEN 9:08.88

4000m 1 659 Ochichi Isabella KEN 12:06.45

5000m Sprint
Sprint Finish - World Championships Paris 2003 Women's 5000m

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