NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 28 – Kenya settled for bronze at the Doha IAAF World Championships in the women’s 10,000m thanks to Agnes Tirop who clocked a Personal Best of 30:25.20 in a tough race won by Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands on Saturday evening.
Hassan, who ran from behind in the better part of the race, returned a World Leading time of 30:17.62 to clinch gold after outpacing Ethiopian Letesembet Gidey who scooped silver in also a Personal Best time of 30:21.23.
Kenyan Rosemary Wanjiru, who set the pace for some time in the early stages of the race, finished fourth after recording a Personal Best of 30:35.75, beating pre-race favourite and world 5000m defending champion Hellen Obiri who faded to fifth in a Personal Best time of 30:35.82.
The US-based Hassan, who made her 10,000m debut in Stanford in May recording 31:18.12, said: “I am very happy because I have been a middle distance runner and this was a test for me.
It was okay at the beginning but then when they were kicking at the front I had to try hard to keep in touch. I know I am more of a 1500m and 5km runner, so if I could get close I would have enough to win. She (Gidey) kept trying to kick but in the last 800m I knew I had it.”
Considering the unfavorable humid weather conditions, the race started on a slow pace, enough for big favourite Hassan to linger near the back of the moderately strung out pack, with Ethiopian champion Gidey also keeping her powder dry at the reaf.
They were off in the first track final of the championships in Doha, with Alina Reh taking them through the first KM in 3:13, leading still as they crossed the two-mile marker in 10:07 before Obiri moved up behind Kenyan team-mate Rose Wanjiru, who now took the control of the race.
The Ethiopian trio could also hang on with Senbere Teferi, Netsanet Gudeta and Gidey moving up to shadow the Kenyan trio at the front that included 2015 World Cross Country champion Agnes Tirop.
Tirop now took the lead from compatriot Wanjiru who dropped to second and Teferi third as hot favourite Sifan Hassan has moved into fifth behind Obiri.
However, Gudeta fell off the lead group, with Tirop leading and Wanjiru behind her followed by Teferi, Obiri, Hassan and Gidey.
As they passed the 5KM mark, Gayle continued to lead thanks to her opener. The move prompted Hassan and Gidey who were at the back of the leading six, jostling a little as they considered their next moves.
The East African contingent led by Kenyans continued to spearhead the race, with the precocious Obiri taking up the running. The Kenyans shared the lead among themselves, with the Ethiopian Teferi shadowing their moves and breaking up their 1-2-3.
Gidey could hit to the front, with Tirop and Obiri just behind. Teferi and Wanjiru were next with Hassan there as well.
Gidey pushed at the front, with Obiri chasing her with a mile to run as Tirop fell to third with Ethiopian-born now running for Netherlands Hassan behind.
Gidey could only manage to lead for five yards before Hassan moved into second, with Tirop following in third as Obiri fell off the back.
Hassan pounced, striding ahead of Gidey with the bell ringing in their ears and she held off to the finish line to earn her first ever out door gold.