Ethiopian double Olympic champion Kenenisa Bekele will attempt to add a 5,000 metres gold medal to his 10,000 title at the world athletics championships. “I’m going to run the 5,000,” Bekele told Reuters. “I didn’t do much celebrating but went to bed early, and I’m feeling all right.”
No man has ever completed the long-distance double at the world championships.
Bekele won his fourth consecutive world 10,000 gold in a championship record 26 minutes, 46.31 seconds on Monday, and is the world record holder at both distances.
He was additionally motivated to chase the 5,000 metres gold after the Ethiopian women failed to win the world 10,000 title for the first time in a decade. Ethiopia’s Meselech Melkamu and Wude Ayalew took silver and bronze behind Kenya’s Linet Masai in the absence of their injured countrywoman Tirunesh Dibaba, the Olympic and 2007 world champion.
“When you lose something you have grown accustomed to, you feel it,” said Bekele. “One can see from this experience how crucial critical members of the team prove to be when they are absent from a competition due to injury or any other reason.
“The majority of Ethiopians will have been disappointed by the loss of something they expected.”
Bekele attempted the double at the 2003 world championships and 2004 Olympics, winning the longer event both times and taking bronze and silver in the shorter race. He won two golds at the Beijing Olympics, earning the second the day after Dibaba achieved the same double.
His team mates in the 5,000 are Ali Abdosh and Bekana Daba. Both are competing at the world championships for the first time.
The 5,000 heats begin on Thursday with the final on Sunday.