WRITTEN FOR THE IAAF WEBSITE
With a powerful display of front running over the last kilometre, Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha defended his 3,000m title in impressive style, powering away from the field with relative ease to a tactical 8:14.41 victory.
The 20-year-old 2018 IAAF World Indoor Tour winner took charge from the 2,000m mark, which was reached in a comfortable 5:51.71 after a pedestrian 3.08.24 opening kilometre.
Evidently frustrated by the pace, Kejelcha’s winning time is the slowest in the championships’ 32-year history by more than ten seconds, but with energy saved from the first two thirds of the race, he unleashed a a stinging 2.22.70 final kilometre and refused to heed the prime position – hitting the bell in 7:47.59 and storming clear for his second global indoor title.
The winner revealed afterwards:
“I’m very happy to be the world indoor champion again. During the race, I saw everyone was very confident but I was the one controlling everybody. When I pushed, I went with my friends and I was able to show off my power. I’m very happy for my country and my people.
“This year, I have been second sometimes but my coach has been working with my to make my race seamless. Before, I had a problem with my speed in the last few laps and I couldn’t control the race, but I’ve been training a lot on that and now I’m very good with my kick at the end.
“Next year, I want to break the 5,000m world record.”
His compatriot, Selemon Barega managed to sneak the silver medal in the dramatic closing metres of a thrilling last lap, in a tight 8:15.59 to Bethwell Kiprotich Birgen’s 8:15.70.
The 18-year-old world youth champion captured his first senior international medal in the process, in a season in which he has registered a world-leading 7:36.64.
Kenya’s Birgen’s meanwhile, managed to break up the expected Ethiopian medal sweep despite being ranked only tenth coming into the event – and improved greatly upon his eighth place in the 2014 event.
He kept a low profile throughout the race and suddenly appeared from nowhere in the home straight dash for glory, with bronze in Birmingham being the 29-year-old’s first major championship medal.
A third Ethiopian, Olympic 5,000m bronze medalist, Hagos Gebrhiwet just missed out on a medal with a 8:15.76 clocking – the world outdoor 5,000m silver medalist beating
Spain’s European indoor 3,000m champion, Adel Mechaal (8:16.13) to the line in fifth.
Youness Essalhi of Morocco finished sixth in 8:16.63, whilst 2015 world youth silver medalist, Davis Kiplangat of Kenya placed seventh with 8:18.03.
Germany’s Clemens Bleistein came home in eighth in 8:18.24, whilst the USA’s world 10,000m finalist, Shadrack Kipchirchir was disqualified for a lane infringement.