BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom, Feb 19 – Kenya’s Hellen Obiri and Bethwell Birgen claimed overall victories as the World Indoor Tour challenge came to an end on Saturday in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
While Obiri needed only to finish in the top five in her 3000m race, Birgen who was tied on 20 points with Silas Kiplagat needed to finish above his compatriot and he was handed a huge boost when the latter did not enter for the race.
Birgen finished third in the race in Birmingham in 3:37.32 behind Ben Blankenship of the United States who won and Australia’s Ryan Gregsson who finished second.
On the 3000m, Obiri returned to winning ways after crossing the finish line first in 8:29.41 ahead of World Indoor 1500m champion Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands who timed 8:30.76. Ethiopia’s Dawit Seyaum was third in 8:37.65.
Obiri tracked the pacemaker through the first kilometre in 2:51.92 and then took up the running about 300 metres later. Hassan was tucked closely behind Obiri and the pair gradually distanced themselves from the rest of the pack during the second half of the race.
Having passed through 2000m in 5:42.27, Obiri continued to lead until Hassan charged to the front going into the final lap.
Hassan’s lead only lasted about 100 metres, though, as Obiri kicked back and sprinted to the finish line in 8:29.41, breaking the national record she set in Karlsruhe and securing the World Indoor Tour win.
Hassan could find some consolation in a Dutch record of 8:30.76.
-Farah sets European record-
At the same time, multiple world and Olympic champion Mo Farah headed out on to the track for the 5000m.
With a European record as his goal, Farah sat behind the early pacemakers, going through 1000m in 2:36.80 and 2000m in 5:15.90.
The field broke up after the 3000m checkpoint, leaving a four-man group out in front with Farah running alongside Bahrain’s Albert Rop, France’s Morhad Amdouni and Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali.
The crowd roared as Farah took the lead with two laps to go, but the race was far from over as Rop fought back. Farah kicked again with 200 metres remaining and held on to his lead until the finish, crossing the line in a European indoor record of 13:09.16.
Rop set an Asian indoor record of 13:09.43 in second with Amdouni and El Bakkali setting national records of 13:10.60 and 13:11.18 in third and fourth respectively.
Farah confirmed afterwards that it was most likely his last ever indoor race.
“I can’t quite believe it is my last race but I have had a great indoor career,” he said. “It is something that must come to an end. It is weird thinking about it and saying goodbye because I have had great support from everyone and in particular this track where I have broken so many records. It has been amazing over the years.”
-Additional information courtesy IAAF-