ADDIS ABABA – Selemon Barega and Samuel Tefera both won Gold for Ethiopia on the final day of the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade.
Selemon won third medal of the championships as Ethiopian domination of the men’s 3000m continued with an eighth gold and a second successive 1-2 in the event.
The 22-year-old emerged victorious from a last-lap sprint with compatriot Lamecha Girma in the final morning session of the Championships.
Four years ago in Birmingham in 2018, Barega had to settle for silver behind Yomif Kejelcha but that was when he was an 18-year-old junior still learning his craft, according to World Athletics (AW).
Four years on, with an Olympic 10,000m gold and world 5000m silver back home, the AW says Selemon had too much strength and speed when Girma attempted to launch an attack on the back straight of the final lap, crossing the line 0.25 clear in 7:41.38.
Lamecha finished in the silver position again, clocking 7:41.63.
“We came to Belgrade aiming to make history for Ethiopia,” Selemon told WA. “I have had a good season, so I was ready both physically and mentally to fight for gold.”
“With Girma we discussed the possibility of helping each other make the podium,” Solemen,” he said. “Our tactic has paid off.”
– Samuel Retains Title –
On the same day, the world indoor champion Samuel Tefera took down the Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen to retain the men’s 1500m final at the World Athletics Indoor Championships on Sunday.
Not that Ingebrigtsen ever gave up, the 21-year-old trying to summon something – anything – to repel the late charge of Samuel, but it was no use.
The 22-year-old Ethiopian took gold in 3:32.77, while Ingebrigtsen settled for silver finishing in 3:33.02. Kenya’s Abel Kipsang won the bronze in 3:33.36, and Ethiopia’s Teddese Lemi finished fourth in 3:33.59.
“The race was very tough, but I feel very happy now because I became the champion,” Samuel told AW.
– 1500m medal sweep –
On day two of the World Athletics Indoor Championships Saturday, Gudaf Tsegaye, 25, led an Ethiopian clean sweep of the medals in the women’s 1500m final.
The feat is the first by any nation in any event in world indoor history, with a gun-to-tape victory that also eclipsed the championship record.
That stood at 3:59.75 to Gelete Burka, whose 2008 victory in Valencia launched a run of what now stands at seven successive victories by Ethiopian-representing or Ethiopian-born women.
Fudaf finished the race in 3:57.19 to win the Gold Medal. Axumawit Embaye took another silver, clocking 4:02.29, with Hirut Meshesha claiming bronze in 4:03.39 – ahead of Ugandan Winnie Nanyondo (4:04.60).
Featured Image Caption: Selemon Barega beats teammate Lamecha Girma in the world indoor 3000m final in Belgrade (Photo Getty Images/AW)