BERLIN, August 17 – Will Kenenisa Bekele ever get beaten?
The 27 year old has never lost a 10,000 metres since he ran his first 25 lap race in 2003. It has been accolade after accolade as he swatted whatever competition came his way almost with contempt.
Sileshi Sihine and Martin Mathathi in Osaka 2007 and Zersanny Tadesse have given it their all only to fall short of his ability.
This streak continued on Monday when Kenenisa made it four world titles in succession with a fantastic win at the Olympiastadion.
And just like before, it was not for want of trying by his opponents.
Triple world half marathon champion Zersanny Tadesse gave it everything. The Eritrean road racer, threw down the gauntlet six laps into the race setting a punishing pace. Any tactics set by most athletes went up in smoke as the veteran set successive fast laps of up to 63 seconds each.
He result was an evenly spread out field all round the track which then developed into many battles round the track with athletes spread all over.
Slowly but surely, the leading pack reduced. With nine laps to go, the leading group was reduced to Tadesse, Micah Kogo, Bekele and Masai with the chasing pack 60 metres back.
With to six to go, the leading pack was reduced to three as Kogo was dropped and with four to go, Masai gave up the ghost.
Kenenisa however would not waver. Hanging on the shoulder of Tadesse throughout the race, he shadowed his nemesis step for step as they approached the bell where he made his trademark move.
Accelerating with speed defying a man who has run 24 laps, Kenenisa simply sped away from a fading Tadesse to win in a new championship record of 26:46.31.
The race was god, I felt strong and was well prepared since everyone was strong and I look forward to winning more in the future,” said Kenenisa with typical modesty.
Behind them Masai kept third to win bronze in a season’s best time of 26:57.39. “I am happy with my performance. I was struggling with a ankle injury for most of the season so am pleased to win bronze.”
“I only trained properly in the last three weeks and this is my first race in Europe since Stuttgart last year so I have no complaints,” he added.
“I was in the race and was comfortable with the pace but in the last three laps my body ran out of energy which is understandable since I had not done enough work in training,” he observed.
He however admits that he will have to work harder if he is to emulate his younger sister Linet who won gold on Monday.
” I am proud of her and I will now have to improve and match her achievements
So what next Kenenisa? How much longer can he go on? Where does he draw his inspiration from?
“I want to win it five times because Haile Gebrselassie won it four times in a row. I am the greatest and want to keep on winning.”
Not the news any of the 30 other competitors on Monday night would have wanted to hear.