Ethiopian Yomif Kejelcha Wins the 5000m Men’s Title at Brussels Diamond League

Ethiopian Yomif Kejelcha Wins the 5000m Men’s Title at Brussels Diamond League

On a night nearly perfect for 5000-meter running (low 50s/high 60s temps, low wind), the runners came through with quick times as the first 13 finishers either set a personal or seasonal best. Coming into this race, there had only been four sub-13:00 clockings all year. In this race alone, there were four sub-13:00s. Unfortunately, for American fans, there were no sub-13:00s for anyone from the USA.

The winner of both the race and $40,000 Diamond League title (the winner was almost certainly going to win the DL title) was the young 18-year-old Yomif Kejelcha.

The 2013 World Youth and 2014 World Junior champ showed once again he may be the future of the event as he used a 55-second last lap to turn the tables on Hagos Gebrhiwet, who beat Kejelcha for the bronze in Beijing a few weeks ago. Kejelcha won in a new pb and new world-leading time of 12:53.98 (Kejelcha was the world leader at 12:58.39 coming in) as Gebrhiwet clocked 12:54.70. The Beijing bronze medallist at 1500, Abdalaati Iguider of Morocco, who put a lot of pressure on the lead pack with 3 to go, was the third guy under 13:00 in 12:59.25 (previous PR was 13:09.17) as Kenyan Thomas Longosiwa was fourth in 12:59.72.

American Ben True was 7th in 13:05.54 with Ryan Hill right behind him in 13:05.69, a big improvement of his 13:14.22 PB. Galen Rupp was 10th in 13:08.55 and Chris Derrick 16th in 13:25.23.

The Race

5000 Mens Result - Brussels DLThe race was rabbited pretty much right on 13:00 pace through 3k. 2:36/km gets you 13:00 and the first three were 2:35.71, 2:35.88 (5:11.59) and 2:36.29 (7:47.88). Any fears that things would sag too much when the rabbits dropped off faded as Hagos Gebrhiwet ripped a 60.66 lap that really broke things up.

With 4 laps remaining, none of the Americans were in the lead pack of 5. Rupp, who had gotten out aggressively in fourth (2nd racer) in pursuit of a PB and possibly American record, was in the chase pack of 4 with Ben True.

The pace slowed in the lead pack over the next three laps as they’d gather for a fast finish. Iguider led a 62.91 and then 63.28 lap. With 800 to go, the lead pack was down to 4 as Caleb Ndiku, the 2015 silver medallist a few weeks ago, was dropped. However, a 64.04 penultimate lap allowed him to briefly regain contact with the leaders at the bell.

At the bell, when the real racing began with 200 to go, it soon turned into a two person battle. Kejelcha crushed the final 200 in an unofficial 25.6 to get the win.

Quick Thought #1: A great end for a great season for Kejelcha

Kejelcha, the World Youth champ in 2013 and World junior champ in 2014, came into the year with a lot of hype. And he lived up to it. The only knock on him coming into the year was that he hadn’t run fast- 13:25 pb. He lowered that by 31+ seconds this year.

Not to put too much pressure on him. But when Haile Gebrselassie he won world juniors in a fairly slow time (13:36.06). The next year he improved a ton like Kejelcha (32 seconds versus 31). The year after that, Hail was the world record holder.