Ethiopia's Bekele nabs distance race double
Distance runner Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia added another chapter to his incredible career on Sunday at the world track and field championships, winning gold in the men's 5,000-metre race to secure the same double he won in the 2008 Olympics.
Bekele, 27, controlled the pace for most of the race and withstood a Kenyan challenge mid-race and a furious charge around the final bend from American Bernard Lagat for the victory.
The two were sprinting side by side until Bekele found another gear and pulled away in the final 50 metres.
"It was a very hard race," Bekele said. "I'll never forget this race. I never made a double in the Olympics and world championships. I'm so happy."
Bekele became the first Ethiopian to win 5,000 world championship gold. The Ethiopian finished the race in 13 minutes 17.09 seconds, while Lagat settled for silver with a time of 13:17.33. The American was elated with his performance, as he was running on a left ankle that had been sewn up with four stitches and numbed before the final.
"I didn't know [if] I was going to run," he said. "It is a huge cut." Lagat suffered the injury when he was spiked in the qualifiers.
James Kwalia C'Kurui of Qatar won bronze.
Bekele won the 10,000m earlier in the meet. He took gold in both races during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
His domination in the 5,000 and 10,000 is similar to Usain Bolt's iron grip on the 100 and 200 — and Bekele has done it over a longer period of time.
The Ethiopian has won gold in the 10,000 in every major world meet (Olympics and worlds) since 2003, and is the reigning 5,000 champ since the 2008 Olympics. He also holds world records in both disciplines.
Controversy in women's 1,500
Natalia Rodríguez was disqualified after winning the women's 1,500-metre final, handing Maryam Yusuf Jamal of Bahrain the gold medal.
Rodríguez, of Spain, made a charge down the backstretch during the final lap and bowled over leader Gelete Burka of Ethiopia while trying to squeeze through on the inside. Rodríguez, who crossed the line in first place, also briefly stepped off the track after the collision.
An official review came quickly, as it took less than an hour for IAAF officials to overturn the result.
But Rodríguez is sure that she did nothing wrong.
"I ran well and I haven't committed any fault," she said. "With 250 metres to go, Gelete went wide a little bit and she left open the inside lane. I tried to pass there. But when she noticed I was about to do it, she closed it in."
The battle for second was very close, and in the end it turned out to be the race for gold.
Jamal narrowly clipped Great Britain's Lisa Dobriskey at the line, finishing in 4:03.74, 1/100th of a second better than Dobriskey's 4:03.75.
The end result is that Jamal defended the title she won at the 2007 worlds. She also had a front-row seat for the collision between Rodríguez and Burka as she was on the other side of the Ethiopian when she went down, and was adamant that the Spaniard was at fault.
"The Spanish girl definitely was in the wrong for passing that way," Jamal said. "I'm very disappointed that Gelete fell behind. I'm certain that had that not happened she would have taken the top three."
American Shannon Rowbury was bumped up to the bronze-medal position, finishing in 4:04.18.
Burka collapsed in dismay after the race, and Rodriguez walked over to her and held her hand as the crowd serenaded the result with jeering whistles.
"I felt bad for her," Rodriguez said. "She was favourite for the medal and I wanted to support her."
Burka's only gold medal in the 1,500 was during the 2008 world indoor championships.
Mulaudzi wins physical 800m
Mbulaeni Mulaudzi of South Africa survived a very physical men's 800-metre final to win gold
He finished in one minute 45.29 seconds for the victory.
Mulaudzi made his move on the first turn during the bell lap, pulling in front of a pack filled with flying elbows and shoulder shoves.
The South African survived a serious challenge from American Nick Symmonds to maintain his lead, and in the final 50 metres Kenya's Alfred Yego and Bahrain's Yusuf Kamel emerged out of the pack to threaten Mulaudzi.
If the finish line was extended by a few metres, Yego and Kamel would have caught Mulaudzi, but he managed to hold on just long enough for the win and dipped at the finish line before collapsing in exhaustion.
Yego and Kamel finished in exactly 1:45.35, which was 4/100ths of a second slower than Mulaudzi. Yego nabbed silver when officials narrowed the times down to thousandths of a second.
It's Mulaudzi's first major title.
With files from The Associated Press